"What do you mean, you're pulling my funding?"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Rosenthal," said the board's director, adjusting his presumptuous spectacles and not sounding particularly sorry at all, "but we're not seeing the results we're expecting."
"Dr. Cutler," Patrick spluttered, "it's only just gotten started. It's only been a year into the project--"
"--and what have you to show for it?"
"Groundwork, sir. It's getting at what the board's looking for, I assure you--"
Dr. Cutler silenced Patrick by lifting his hand. "We're not looking for 'groundwork', Mr. Rosenthal, we're looking for results."
"But you'll get results, they take time! Please sir, I think I'm getting cl--"
"--I'm sorry, Mr. Rosenthal, but my answer is final." Dr. Cutler closed the folder on his desk definitively, his eyes severing any chance of a continued discussion. "We've given you a chance to deliver, and we're still waiting on the doorstep. You may be able to wait for results, Mr. Rosenthal, but the committee, and our funds, cannot." He handed the folder of jumbled notes, figures, and results to the young, scrawny utterly shocked man across the desk. Could've used a good meal, Dr. Cutler had always thought. And a haircut, for that matter, the messy creature…
Patrick could only manage to gape for a moment. He tried to remind himself to act professional, act dignified, but his mind had other ideas. His inner child, usually a content and bubbly thing, decided to throw a temper tantrum, rerouting a few synapses so that a few thoughts that should've stayed in his head found their way to his mouth.
"But that's not fair!" he squawked. Good Lord, what am I, three?
Dr. Cutler couldn't hold back a smirk. "I must inform you, Mr. Rosenthal, that life is not fair." He gestured to the door behind Patrick and nodded dismissively. "Good day, Mr. Rosenthal."
"Good day indeed," Patrick growled under his breath as he slammed the door to Dr. Cutler's office.
For an expensively heavy door, he thought, it didn't slam quite as loudly as he wanted.