Johnson keeps quiet and Krongard does the talking. “It’s a simple deal,” he says. “You tells us what you need done and we tell you how we can do it and what it’ll cost you. Neither our methods nor our price are subject to discussion. If you can’t accept either, we walk. That’s it; no hard feelings. You don’t get back your retainer. Once we go to work you don’t hear from us. You have no contact with us.”
“What if something changes?” Their client is smooth and polished and nervous. You can’t tell by looking at him – he’s good at what he does, or he wouldn’t be talking to Krongard and Johnson – but it shows in a hundred different ways. The way he taps his cigarette out, the way he holds his glass, the way he breathes. Johnson watches him under bushy eyebrows and waits.
“It doesn’t,” says Krongard. “Once we’re working, that’s it. Think of us like a bullet. There’s no changing your mind once you pull the trigger. There’s nothing you can do. If you can’t live with that – walk. Go. If you can –” and he leans forward, lowers his voice– “and I think you can or we wouldn’t be here – if you can, well, then. We’re in business.”
Their client leans back out of the light to think about it. His cigarette flares red as he inhales and Krongard blinks at Johnson. They’re in, and everyone knows it. The rest is details.