I looked down at the pen in my left hand, blinking hard to keep the cigarette smoke out of my eyes. 

“Just sign it.” He said, insistently. “There is no other way, the die is cast per say.” 

I looked over at his fake smile, the icing on the shit cake of his fake sincerity. I exhaled deeply, and put the pen down. 

“I’m sorry,” I paused, “‘there is no other way.’ It is a bit dramatic, and inaccurate it seems. You and I both know there is nothing you can do, the law, it seems, is on my side.” He raised his hand in objection. “Save your breath my friend. You can object, you can strong arm, but I’m afraid my mind is made up. You’ll just have to build your fancy, ugly building elsewhere. This street has survived more or less intact for 130 years, I ain’t gonna be part of changing it. I know the shit you pulled with everyone else, I also know the redevelopment laws require, and the buyouts only take effect if 100 percent of the occupants agree.” 

“You know we have teams of lawyers.” 

“I’m sure, but the law is fairly clear.”

“Do you think that matters?”

“If you are asking if I think what is written in and required by the law is important, then obviously yes, of course, only shitbags like you think otherwise.“

“You’re making a mistake.” 

“Maybe,” I paused to put out my smoke. “Probably. Who cares? Fuck, honestly I get a huge kick out of watching people like you squirm. Some high powered lawyer, some big name real estate company owned by a real live fucking billionaire, all thwarted by some nobody used book seller. It’s on you, though, honestly. You want to build in a historic district with a strong local culture. “

“You are screwing all the other shop owners out of a lot of money.” 

I searched my shirt pocket for my cigarette pack. “Not as much as you’re trying to screw them out of. This is prime mother fucking land. You came up with some bullshit about how they would lose it without compensation to scare them. Fucking prick you are.”

“You’ll never win.” 

“It seems that’s a bet I’m willing to take, a bet for,” I searched through the papers for the amount, “Fifty large. Even that’s a low ball.” 

He got up and picked up his austentatious camel hair jacket. “We’re done here, but make no mistake this isn’t over.” 

“Oh I’m sure it never will be. You people are like herpes, luckily like herpes you are manageable. Speaking of, get  that lip of yours checked out buddy.” He reached up instinctively before he realized I was fucking with him. 

“Oh and if you want, we’re having a half priced sale on real estate law books. Perhaps you could pick up one, they’re illuminating. “

He stormed out, backlit by my gleaming smile. I lit another smoke and enjoyed this short lived, if enormously gratifying victory. Fuck him and his lot, I’ll eat a fucking pinecone before I sign some shit like this. 

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