Sitting in the law office where Hank clerked part time, Jim wondered if their problem could ever be resolved. Hank and Carol had proved to be the devoted friends he always thought they were. When Hank stopped by to volunteer do anything he could to get Trish back, he had suggested Jim speak to some of the lawyers. He would pave the way. At this point the cost of the advice loomed in his mind. Hank had appeared business-like and professional, not at all like his neighbor, the guy in the sloppy sweater, who drank his beer and lit his charcoal fires. In this professional surrounding he was friendly but distant. Jim sighed. Everyone in his life had become a stranger.
Hank came into the room, followed by an older man. They greeted Jim formally and sat in leather chairs opposite him. It was like he hadn’t know Hank for years.
Hank broke through his thoughts. “Jim, this is Rodney Black, a man doing a great favor to me and you. It isn’t every day you get free advice from the heads of a firm like this,” his easy laughter seemed to put everyone at ease.
Black extended his hand to Jim. “I’ll get right to the point. I’m making this one of my pro bono cases. It’s a terrible situation you are in; I’ll do anything I can to help. Hank has confided the story to me. First, I must say you are 0extremely lucky to have a friend like Hank.’ His white mustache emphasized his wide smile as he waited to for Jim to speak.
Jim felt great confidence in the handshake. “I am extremely grateful and extremely relieved at your generosity. Hank is the best.” He laughed nervously“Where do I begin?”
“Jim, I took the liberty of telling him the circumstances. I thought it would save precious time. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Oh?” Jim sat forward in his chair.
Black said. We can’t help you get your daughter but we can sue the parties involved with taking her, when this has been resolved, of course. I’ve heard of a few cases like this one. They usually involve a religious cult. They snap up young dissatisfied people and use some kind of mind control. I can’t help you get your daughter back but I certainly will help you after.”
“I’m sorry, Jim.” Hank apologized. When I told him about you, he said he had some ideas. Turned out it wasn’t much.”
“You don’t have to say a word, Hank. Thanks for trying. It’s good to know I can have pro bono help if we ever get Trish free.”
“Pete and I had our heads together last night. He already knew of the cult theory and said he will do some investigating on his own. He was so sincere it made me feel a little guilty for giving him the cold shoulder. You know what I mean? Don’t get your hopes up but he said he may know of a man who could help us. It may not pan out but I wanted you to know he is trying to help.”
“Our Pete?” Jim was visibly surprised.
“Sounds like he knows all about this type of thing. Never would have guessed it. Said he’ll be over to your place tonight.”
The notion that Pete would even volunteer to help, seemed somehow satisfying to Jim. Now he had only to add the worry of the foundry meeting to add to his churning stomach.