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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mrs. Festini's Breakdown, parts 1402 - 1405

1402. This was not the first time the lawyer had been asked to politely intervene in the record-keeping of the museum. He had received other requests just like Mrs. Festini's, but more often from artists who had been unable to retrieve their paintings after an exhibit. Those artists, he knew, could go off the deep end if their calls to the museum were not returned. What was it with those artists? You would think their precious paintings were going to change the world or something.







1403. The next day Agnes and her lawyer showed up, unannounced at the museum. At first they acted like they were just visiting to have a look at the new installation of the Mesopotamian artifacts, but after a while Agnes asked if they could please speak to the director if he had a moment. The director, having absolutely no idea what was coming, or what Agnes wanted, was happy to have them come into his office, expecting simply some idle chit-chat.


1404. What happened next you can well imagine. Agnes said not a word, and the lawyer gave the secretary and the director one of those convoluted legal dissertations full of "fill in the blank," threatening types of phrases, interrupted by long significant pauses. All along the lawyer had assumed Agnes had an obvious legitimate complaint, and a specific document to get from the office, he had no idea the extent to which Mrs. Festini was naive and in the dark about the entire matter.


1405. The director had no clue as usual what was going on and never did figure it out. The secretary answered the lawyer thus: "Mrs. Festini has made no money at the museum, she has been working for free this past few years. If her enrollment would go up we would be happy to pay her but as it is, she never has more than just a few students. Her contract states clearly that she receives no payment. We have told her so repeatedly. What do you suggest we do with her?"

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