The Price of a Reputation
His hand trembled as he poured the brandy. He downed two in quick succession.
“So… What does that ass of an inspector say?” I asked.
“He claims to have found a half dozen violations, any of which could close the restaurant. For the right money, he’s willing to overlook them. This is a plant—a plot to extort money by threats.”
“What’s the amount?”
He paused. “10,000 pounds.”
I was aghast. “By George; it’s enormous! Do you plan to pay him?” I perched myself on the edge of his desk and drained my snifter.
“Of course I do, you little fool. There isn’t much else that I can do. The restaurant’s reputation is my reputation as well. All this irritation is purely subjective.” He gestured. “Don’t sit on my writing-table: you’ll break it.”
I stood. “You should involve the police, you know.”
“I have nothing in writing. Anyhow, there’s no good bothering now. I have to give him my decision before noon tomorrow.”
I indicated the empty snifters. “Another?”
“Oh, chuck them over the bannisters into the hall.”