Well, ladies, you'd better be quick, can't you see I'm a busy man?


It all started two weeks ago, when Pythia and Cassie had tumbled Pegleg stealing Dr Isaac's socks.

It wasn't as if the doctor wasn't grateful or anything, as his next letter pointed out. However, the ladies of Delphic Research, Inc. were painfully aware that funds were presently in short supply, and that this situation would continue unless a way could be found to solve the problem presented by Dr Isaac in his letter:

Dear Ms Stojay,

You appear to have indeed solved the mystery of the missing socks. It's been a week, and I still have the same pairs. A sterling piece of trouble shooting, and I thank you.

However, I am appalled at your invoice. Are you out of your mind? I mean, for $100,000, I could keep the Navy in socks for a 10 years! Are you sure you didn't misplace a decimal point or something?

Alternatively, if the invoice is a true reflection of the cost, please replace the singularity and take back the anti-matter.

Sincerely,

Doctor Isaac.

***

'OK ladies, I need ideas,' said Sibyl. 'I don't need to remind you of what Big Al said about how sad he'd be if the rent payment isn't made by the end of the week. We need to convince the doctor that he should pay.'

Cassandra was the first to break the silence that followed. 'I know, I'll just go and see him and tell him how much we need the money. For some reason, if I ask hard enough, men always give me stuff,' she said.

'Yes, I can just imagine. If your top was any lower and your skirt any higher, they would meet in the middle,' said Sibyl. 'However, your suggestion doesn't quite fit with the image we are trying to project. How about you, Pythia, do you have a better idea?'

'Yeah, how about if I go and tell him how much he'll have to pay his colleagues to repair the damage if he doesn't pay up?'

'Sigh. Well, it appears we agree on at least one thing. Cassie, will you set up an appointment for us all at the doctor's surgery tomorrow, please?'

***
[Next Day]

'The doctor will see you now', said the receptionist, as she moved out from behind her granite topped desk.

The three women rose from their cream velvet chairs and followed the receptionist along the marble floored corridor.

'Will you look at this place, this guy's loaded,' whispered Cassie, as the receptionist opened a gold-leaf decorated door and beckoned them in.

Pythia looked around the surgery as the doctor stood up behind a large, ornately carved oak desk and greeted them.

'Ah ladies, do please be seated,' he said, politely waiting till Cassie and Sibyl took their seats. Pythia showed no sign of accepting his offer, apparently preferring to stand.

'And what seems to be the problem today,' he asked, leering just a bit too lustily at Cassie.

'Actually, we are not here on medical business today,' said Sibyl, handing him her business card. 'We have come to sort out your invoice.'

'Good Lord, how on Earth did you get in...' he said, reading the card. 'Never mind, you're in now. Well, ladies, you'd better be quick, can't you see I'm a busy man?'

'Well, we can see that you are a wealthy man, anyway,' said Pythia, gazing at the top of a mantlepiece. She picked up an object. 'This appears genuine. Ming isn't it?' she asked, tossing it at the doctor, who, panic stricken, caught it.

'Now, see here, if you don't leave immediately, I'll have you arrested,' blurted the Doctor.

'Oh, I don't think that would be wise. The stuff on this shelf doesn't appear to be too secure,' said Pythia, examining another object in her hand. 'A whole lot could accidently fall and break before the police arrived.' She let the object slip from her hand and it fell with a loud crash onto the marble floor.'Whoops, and, as you can see, the floor is very hard.'

'You see, all we want to do is discuss this invoice,' explained Sibyl to the now ashen faced Doctor.

'Yes, and after we've discussed it, we want you to open this safe behind this picture here, and pay us the full amount, in cash' said Pythia, removing and dropping the picture to the floor. 'Whoops, Rembrandt, wasn't it? Sorry about that.'

'You know, I bet there's been some creative accounting going on here that the IRS would find interesting. Cassie dear, would you mind having a peek at the computer, and see whether I'm right?' said Sibyl

'Sure thing,' grinned Cassandra. 'It's this telly thing here, isn't it.'

'Hey, OK,' shouted the doctor. 'You win. I'll give you your money.'

***

'Isn't it nice to have no financial problems for a while,' said Cassie. 'You know what I mean. Like when I'm buying shoes, and they ask for my credit card before I try them on. Now I just flash a few hundred dollar bills at the assistant, and I get to try on anything I like.'

'Well, the method we used doesn't exactly conform to the image I want to project for Delphi Research, Inc., but it beats the hell out of making Big Al unhappy,' said Sibyl with a wry grin.