Jacob: Call me Jake.

I sat in my office for a long while pondering Archer’s answer. In a way, his answer was a no-win scenario. It was definitely a prepared answer, but at the same time, it was a good answer.

 Is Archer an honest guy? I asked myself that question over and over. Every vibe in my body was telling me to trust him. Thankfully, I wasn’t in the middle of some big murder case. I could afford to throw some small stuff at him to see how he responded to the mundane part of this job. We could get to the “fun” stuff later.

 I waited until the next day to contact him. I didn’t want to seem anxious. I picked up the phone and dialed his number.  

 “Hello. Archer Houston here.” The tone of his greeting did not suggest a change in his mood. Everyone has caller ID, so I was pretty sure he knew it was me even before I spoke.

 “Hi, Archer. This is Jacob Carter.”

 After I greeted him, his tone was still nondescript, which in my experience showed that his overall demeanor was tranquil. Would he be able to maintain his composure under pressure? That was the million dollar question.

 “Oh, hi, Mr. Carter,” he said. “I must say I wasn’t expecting to hear from you again.”

 His honesty struck me just a little, but I recovered quickly. “Well, my response was …” I paused to find the word. “Calculated.”

 “I understand, sir.”

 “Now, before I say anything else, I want you to promise me you won’t call me sir.”

 There was a pause, which seemed like an eternity at the time. I smiled, appreciating his dilemma.

 “What would you like me to call you?” he asked.

 “Call me Jake. All my friends do.”

The End

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