Matthew, or Dr Jergens if you referred to his business card, was sitting at his table, rubbing his wrinkled temples while he waited for his ever-late so-called prodigy, Alex Lewis to arrive. He didn't see the point in becoming a psychiatrist of esteem if being late was going to be the specialty, but he supposed he would let the clients decide that. If they were even interested in having him.
"I'm here!" Alex announced, opening the door much to Matthew's glee. He wanted to give him the news and get the hell out of there. His wife was waiting at home for him, the old nag.
"Well you're late again," Dr Jergens said dryly. "I don't see how you are going to make it in this profession if you don't change your habits, Mr Lewis."
Alex blushed in shame. "I'll do better, doctor. I promise. What assignment did you have for me?" He asked. He worked as an intern of sorts for the old, esteemed and almost revered psychiatrist, and he was trying to learn everything he could from Dr Jergens before he had to start his own practice.
"No assignment," Matthew said. "I have some news for you. I'm an old man now, and honestly I have more than enough money to live the rest of my life in peace and leave some for my children and grandchildren, if I ever get any," he grumbled. "I'm retiring, Alex. Today's my last day. I'm leaving the practice. You can take over."
Alex was a bit dumbfounded to say the least.
"You're not so bad at psychoanalysis, Lewis, even though you have other less than satisfactory qualities about yourself. No one is perfect I suppose. Now, I didn't tell you before, but I am telling you now. I don't have any clients booked, however I did ask them all if they could come to you now. Some of them were not interested. Those who were, I have their files here." Matthew put a stack of files on the table. "Go through these and they will be booking appointments from Monday. As for new clients, you're going to have to work for that."
"Doctor Jergens, this is a lot to take," Alex stammered. He was only twenty five and he'd been working with Jergens for only a year. "I'm not sure if I'm ready. I mean, isn't it too early for me to take over?"
"Lewis, I'm quitting. I planned this months ago. This is my final decision. And I suggest you take this opportunity to start your practice here because I'm damn sure no one else is going to take you in and give you a chance so easily. Most psychiatrists dream of a chance like this," Dr Jergens stated authoritatively.
"I know! I'm not being rude!" Alex said. "Okay I will start my practice here doctor," he agreed hesitantly.
"Bebe will help you," Matthew asserted, referring to his secretary. She handled all the appointments but she wasn't allowed to have the clients' files. It was strictly confidential information.
Alex could only nod. "I know she will." Bebe was a forty something woman who'd been working for Jergens for more than a decade. She was a bit snippy though, which always unsettled him. A psychiatrist's office should be welcoming, he thought, clients should feel safe enough to talk about their problems.
"Well now that that's settled," Matthew cleared his throat, visibly relieved that Lewis had agreed to starting his practice here. If he would have put up a fight Matthew would have had to look for some other psychiatrist to take over here. "I'll be going. I've cleared out the office, and the room is all set up as well for your meetings. You can decide how much to charge but I do suggest it's a decimal lesser than mine, because you're just starting out," he chuckled.
Alex almost blushed at the admonishment. "Of course sir, I am not experienced. In this field experience is very valuable," he agreed. It was his last day after all and he just wanted to give his boss a good farewell note.
Dr Jergens got up from his table, grabbing his bag. "Use the day to settle in. Monday you have your first client in the morning at nine. I was going to get Bebe to book you at eight but I knew you'd be late," he said humorously.
Alex laughed at himself and shook hands with his mentor. Jergens was a very demanding boss, very authoritative and strict with everything including his clients. Most of his clientele was young though, and Alex psychoanalysed the reason to be the fact that they just needed someone from that generation to talk some sense into them. Jergens was an old fashioned old man.
And after a practice of more than forty years, which he had set up all on his own, he was gone.
Now it was up to Alex to live up to the Jergens reputation.
God help him.