“Mrs. Jane, I presume?” a well-dressed man asks, how hand lowering to his side with his knuckles still extended, slightly red from their contact with the door he opens to enter the room. “Ms. Jane” the woman replies with a tired tone, though a smile to make up for her lack of enthusiasm, “Though I’d prefer it if you just called me ‘Darlene’.” Stood from her seat, Darlene holds her hand out to welcome the man to her office, his soft-palm embracing hers warmly.
“Matthew Tory” the man says, his name offered to the woman as easily as his application would, her hand moving away from his welcoming palm to the seat before her desk, offering him the spot. “So Matt, I guess the first question is a simple enough starting point” Darlene explains, returning to her seat with her elbows pressed against the top of her desk, “why have you applied to join Kings of Cambridge?”
Fixing the loose strands of hair falling over his face, Matt crosses one leg over the other and considers his response for a moment, trying to remain as genuinely personal as he can. “I’ve researched therapeutic clinics by the dozen for miles over the last two years, and honestly, I get depressed at the results that I find” Matt explains, his interlaced fingers holding his crossed leg back, “and then I find Kings of Cambridge there, like a light in the night, and that feeling changes.”
“Why so?” Darlene inquires, her eyes falling upon the man with conviction, watching every move his facial muscles make, his posture not giving anything away as of the moment. “Kings’ doesn’t operate like the rest” Matt replies, his answer simple, yet telling, “it doesn’t take advantage of the people that walk through its doors… It embraces them and does what it can to help them at every turn.”
“Wouldn’t any other therapy clinic do that?” Darlene asks, intrigued by the suggestion the man makes for otherwise, “isn’t that what a therapy clinic is for?” With a nod, the man triggers his hair to fall in front of his face once more, his insistence not pausing for a moment. “Yes, they should be” Matt replies, his smile continuing to remain on his face until he concludes his answer, “but they’re not… At least, they don’t operate as though they are.”
“Okay, so what I’m hearing is that you bill Kings of Cambridge as being… Different from the others” Darlene replies, leaning forward just a sliver more than she was moments prior. “Different in the best of ways, yes” Matt replies, thinking to himself in silence for a moment, Darlene remaining contained to allow the man to finish his point, “but in the worst of ways, it suffers the same faults.”
Eyes squinted, Darlene pokes at the point more, her fingers clutching a metaphorical needle between her index and thumb, trying to pop a swollen balloon for all that remains held within. “The floor is yours” Darlene replies, not needing to directly inquire over the man’s point, a passing comment assuring the man of his freedom to speak openly.
“You care about the people that walk through your doors, but you’re unable to help them to the best of your abilities” Matt replies, “it’s the same issue that plagues every clinic… So many people to treat, and so many therapists that leave in favor of somewhere else.” Captivated, Darlene sinks back into her chair with her hands folded, head resting against the mesh support behind her.
“You used to be in therapy before you became a therapist, didn’t you?” Darlene replies, noting the only people to be familiar with such a fact to be those having formerly been involved with the practice. “You can say that, I suppose” Matt replies, a confident grin appearing through his soft lips, “what was that saying I’d always remember reciting… ‘The best therapists are the ones that have sat on the other side of the desk’?”
Intrigued, Darlene nods to herself, assuring the man of his certainty, his still-closed folder resting upon the surface of the desk, waiting for her fingers to gently push it open. Giving into its request, Darlene removes the leather top to present Matt’s application, very little having been filled in on the first page, every bubble colored in suggesting she resort to the final page on the paper.
His confident expression gone, Matt waits diligently for the woman’s response, her eyes having turned from intrigue to uncertainty, her expression falling into one of hidden annoyance once her eyes return to Matt. “Your application says you’re not certified as a licensed therapist, Mr. Tory” Darlene replies, the man nodding in approval towards the woman, “that is correct.”
Keeping her eyes upon the man interviewing for the open position, Darlene pushes the folder on her desk shut, letting the cover fall back upon the papers carefully placed inside as she questions his motives. “I know what it means to be there for people the way that they need me to be” Matt replies, shaking his head as he concludes his first point, “I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me that I understand the people that walk through this building.”
“That’s not how this works” Darlene replies, her hand placed upon her forehead, rubbing at her temples to preemptively stop a headache from coming on, “I can’t hire you without certification.” The moment Darlene finishes speaking, Matt raises his follow-up, “you can hire someone other than me today, give them a patient tomorrow, and they’d both be gone within two years” Matt explains, “you put me behind that desk, and even if that patient isn’t here in two years, I still will be.”
“Mr. Tony, I can’t fix one problem by creating another one, especially not when it jeopardizes my own certification” Darlene replies, sliding the man’s leather folder across the table, returning it to him. Pressing his thumb against his bottom lip, Matt brushes off the woman’s apology, assuring her that she doesn’t need to offer it. “I know more about the trials these patients are coming here with than your own therapists” Matt replies, his finger pointed towards the woman’s door.
“I’ve sat in the seats that these guys have only ever heard about, which is unfortunate, because that’s why they leave” Matt continues further, “you keep hiring people like me because you’re putting the wrong people behind your desks.” With a deep breath, Darlene holds one hand towards the man, “regardless of your employment in this facility, you will not insult my staff” Darlene replies, “you can be mad at your refusal all you wish, but I will not allow you to discredit them.”
“How long until they discredit the people in their rooms looking for help by abandoning them?” Matt asks, challenging her point, “how much longer until they walk off to somewhere that pays better?” With a sigh, Darlene keeps the conversation from getting out of hand, both tones coming across angry, yet well-contained. “I’m sorry, but I will not be taking you on here at Kings of Cambridge” Darlene replies, standing from her seat with her hand out, “we’ll fill this position with someone else.”
With a chuckle, Matt remains seated, hands still folded between his spread legs, “yeah, and how much longer until you’re looking to replace someone else?” Annoyed, taking the statement personally, Darlene lets her hand fall to her side, only one simple question left for the applicant. “Please, leave” Darlene replies, the man’s head hanging for a moment, a sudden nod coming as he stands from his feet and lays the folder out on the woman’s desk.
“You’ll be needing this soon” Matt replies, turning his back to the woman and exiting the way he came, gently shutting the door behind him, an act that only serves to further frustrate the woman he leaves behind. Her chin held towards the heavens, Darlene lets out a sigh, returning to her desk as her door opens once more. ‘Your two-thirty appointment is here” the secretary quietly informs. “Give me a second” Darlene replies, tossing the leather-bound folder onto her bookshelf without care.
= Kings of Cambridge is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and his entity of Pacer1 from the start of Season 1 onwards =
Taking one key in specific from the many attached to his key ring, Matt unlocks the door to his home and enters a dark interior, not a single lightbulb on for as far as the eye can see. With a chuckle, Matt feels the phone in his pocket begin to buzz as his fingers reach for a switch, a gentle push allowing a massive living space to brighten in the snap of a finger, a lavish home welcoming him with the embrace of smooth jazz.
“Hello!” the man calls into his phone, an amused friend greeting him on the other end, inquiring over the job interview. “Not great, Danny… Not great, unfortunately” Matt replies, biting at a red pen cap before running a line through one of thousands of different names, “another one bites the dust” he concludes, returning the cap to the felt-tip pen. “How’s your end?” Matt asks, dancing his way into the kitchen before pouring himself a glass of scotch.
“The world is a blank canvas we paint upon, my friend!” Danny replies, pressing a phone against his ear as he’s swarmed with half-naked women, party music blaring in the background. “Hey, how come you never hit the town with me anymore?” Danny wonders, a smirking man returning to his living space with his shoes kicked off, taking a seat in a leather recliner overlooking an indoor aquarium.
“Oh, the older you get the wiser you become” Matt replies, taking a small swig of his drink with a sigh of comfort, “I’ve learned how much happier I am drinking booze alone… In quiet.” With a laugh, Danny tells his friend that he remains as funny as he always has been, a gesture Matt takes appreciation of. “Listen, I’ve been taking a lot of heat over the last few months and I’ve gotta ask again” Danny explains, checking around him before whispering into the phone, “when is that run happening?”
“In due time, my friend” Matt replies, watching a massive fish emerge from its hiding place within the depths of the tank, swimming amongst the much smaller fish, “patience is a virtue.” In agreement, Danny brushes off such a notion, continuing to push for an answer. “I’m fine with waiting this out for the next ten years, but I’m not asking because I’m impatient” Danny explains, “you know what I mean?”
Concerned, Matt looks away from his fish tank, placing his glass on the table beside his chair as he walks further into his home, “you’re taking heat from the other guys?” Leaving the women behind, Danny finds a quieter place to continue their conversation, settling for a backroom behind the dressing area. “Their version of investing is a bit different from ours to say the least” Danny explains, “most of them have run dry and need a way to get their accounts back in the green.”
With a sigh, Matt takes a seat at his desk in the back of his home and powers on his computer, a bright screen showing countless pages of information he scans through with ease. With a few clicks of a button, Matt listens into a conversation one of his men are having in that very moment, his name being brought up more than he would like for it to be, the things being said not of the pleasant sort.
“Okay, here’s what I’m going to suggest you do” Matt explains, a few further button presses preceding the conclusion of their call, “go back to the party, make sure people see you, and don’t leave.” Without a goodbye, Matt ends the phone call and returns to his living room, the dying daylight allowing the aquarium waters to appear darker. With a smile, Matt flicks a switch to illuminate the waters with a vibrant red glow, a smile on his face as he approaches the massive tank.
“Let’s make sure the big guy eats, shall we?” Matt asks the creatures, knowing they won’t respond as he drops flakes upon the water’s surface, “let’s make sure the big fish stays happy.”
“Surprise!” a room full of workers shouts, the presence of a single woman creating uproar in the cramped work space. “What is all of this?” the woman asks, earning a confused look from most of the smiles aimed in her direction. “It’s the two-year anniversary of your first day here!” Darlene shouts, the woman at the forefront of the room widening her eyes. “It is?” the woman replies, a cluster of laughter emerging from the employees, the huddle breaking out into an onslaught of warm embraces.
“We don’t get to celebrate anniversaries very often, so of course we’d celebrate yours!” another woman shouts, the look on Darlene’s face falling for a moment before returning to it’s prior joy. “Congratulations, Chrissy” Darlene greets as she pulls the woman in for a hug, “thanks for sticking around.”
Moving onto the next greeting, Chrissy continues with her day as Darlene takes her chance to emerge from the room, entering the vacant hallway with her eyes set on her office. Pushing the doors in, Darlene seals herself away in her office, her back pushed against the door with her hands placed by her side, rattled by the woman’s response.
Calming herself, Darlene returns to her desk and takes a seat in her chair, eyes falling upon the computer screen until they dart back to the top of her shelf, sights setting upon the closed leather folder left behind by the earlier-applying man. Biting her lip, Darlene leaves her bite mark in the corner of her mouth before turning her chair around, facing the folder as it sits there, taunting her in a strange way.
With a huff, Darlene rests her hands upon the armrests as she shoves herself to her feet, taking the folder into her hands and walking around her desk, exiting her office once more.
“You just keep coming back for more, don’t you?” a woman charmingly quips, her intentions set upon seducing the well-off gentleman enjoying his night. “I just can’t keep my eyes away from this place, is that a crime?” Danny replies, the woman biting at the loose tie around his neck, keeping it firmly pressed between her teeth. “It’s a crime in my book” the woman replies, flashing Danny a wink as his smile remains wide.
“I suppose that means you should… Lock me up?” Danny responds, the tie leaving her teeth and falling into her fingertips, acting as a leash the scantily-clad woman leads the dapper man by. “Woah, woah… Slow up!” Danny calls out as the pair walk through the door to the backrooms, a large office occupied by only one man, the hurried pace of the third party tossing things into his bag suggesting something to be wrong.
“You alright?” Danny asks, earning no response at first, prompting him to reluctantly break away from the seductress, tie still in her hand. “What’s going on?” Danny asks again, the hurried man refusing to acknowledge the individual with his shirt already unbuttoned. “Julio, what’s going on!?” Danny asks again, his tie having fallen from between the woman’s fingers, Danny pulling the frantic man around by the shoulder.
“Matt’s coming after me, man!” Julio shouts back, continuing to stuff his bag with his belongings as Danny inquires more. “What are you talking about, Matt’s still setting up a date for the run, amigo!” Danny calls back out, the paranoid-Julio looking back with eyes burning of refusal. “Pablo and Mike just got put down and I’m next!” Julio shouts, zipping up his bag as he runs around the desk, the back exit in his sights, “he’s getting rid of us and starting new!”
Now having gotten the picture, Danny shakes his head in disappointment as Julio tosses his phone into the water cooler, turning back as his hands rest upon the exit’s handle. “Take care of yourself, Danny” Julio calls back, pushing out into the middle of the night and disappearing into the crowded streets, an aggravated Danny defeatedly replying “you too” once Julio has already been long gone.
“What are you gonna do?” the woman behind Danny calls out, a speechless man not paying her question any mind, his hand already rummaging through his pocket. Pulling his phone to his ear, Danny waits for the response on the other end, hating the situation more with every dialing tone the phone feeds him between dialing the number and connecting to the other line.
“Hello?” the voice on the other end replies, greeting Danny as if he were interrupting a conversation. “Sir, Julio found out about the hits… He’s dumped his phone back at the club” Danny replies, betraying the paranoid runaway in favor of remaining within his friend’s good graces, “he’s running south of the backway as far as I can tell.”
“Thank you, Danny… I’ll let them know” Matt replies, hanging up before Danny can even pull the phone away from his ear, his arm defeatedly falling to his side as the conversation ends. “That was cold” the woman behind Danny replies, his face souring at her response, head turning over his shoulder to pay her the side-eye. “Business calls for relationships to be put aside” Danny replies, turning back to the woman, “when you need to get something done, you don’t hesitate.”
Her finger pressing down on a bright green button, Darlene waits for the paper shredder to power on as a fellow coworker emerges from the hallway. “Hey, Darlene” a well-fitted man greets, entering the room with his sleeves rolled up. “Hello, Perry” Darlene replies, the man leaning his non-dominant hand against the counter as he follows his greeting with silence, “is there something I can help you with?”
“Yeah, there is” Perry replies, hesitant to say much at first, still easing himself into the conversation he intends to have, uncertain of how to introduce it. “I’m not too sure of how to explain this, so I’m going to cut over the edges and just get to it” Perry explains, his eyes having aimed away from Darlene through the brief conversation, only returning to her when his reason is made unavoidably clear, “Lingard made me an offer and I’m going to take it.”
Blindsided, Darlene places Matt’s application to the side, leaning against the wall with her arms crossed, uncertain herself as to what he response should be. Thinking it over carefully, Darlene settles on the initial question that pops into her cluttered mind, “why didn’t you tell me they made you an offer sooner?”
Both hands held in front of him, Perry insists that he didn’t plan on taking the offer at first. “I turned it down when they first gave it to me, I didn’t even care to listen to the terms!” Perry explains, his eyes falling as he details the events following, “they kept coming at me until I agreed to hear them out, and when I did, there was no way I could justify turning them down.”
With a huff, Darlene looks around the room, following the patterns in the wall as if they were her thoughts, hoping the right response would come to her eventually. “So you strong arm them into a deal and then tell me after you’ve already agreed?” Darlene questions, one hand lifted into the air, her aggravation keeping her from restraining herself any longer. “Do you know how long it’s going to take to disperse your client list to the other therapists?” Darlene asks, losing the words to say.
“I’ve told them that I’ll be staying here until the process is settled!” Perry explains, his offer to remain in his position until further notice something he serves to keep frustrations at a minimum. “I’ll train my replacement, I’ll get disperse my clientele to the other therapists myself if I have to, I’ll make certain that everything operates smoothly” Perry continues, watching Darlene’s hand lift into the air, her finger pointed towards the way he came.
“Get out” Darlene says, the man arms falling to his side, “go tell Lingard you can start tomorrow and get the fuck out of my clinic.” Head hung, Perry calls out the woman’s name, receiving the same order he had seconds prior, her refusal to entertain his presence any further being taken loud and clear. Nodding, Perry taps his hands against the counter behind him and returns to the exit, departing the room as quickly as he entered, leaving the woman with her head against the wall.
Shaking her head in aggravation, Darlene pulls a seat away from the table and hangs her head in her hands, loose strands of hair protruding from her palms. Slamming her arms against the table as they fall atop each other, Darlene looks at the table in front of her, eyes immediately falling upon the closed folder. Annoyed, the woman turns towards the shredder beside her and powers it down, eyes set upon the essay-like explanation of why Matt should be hired.
Called for by the knocking on his front door, Matt pushes himself out of his chair, hand pulling the door open to reveal Darlene waiting for him on the other side. “This is your house?” Darlene asks, watching the man’s smile appear, arms extended as if he were king of the world. “I’m pretty good at navigating Wall Street, if I’m patting myself on the back” Matt replies, welcoming the woman into his home, her eyes wandering around the interior, in shock at the lavish wonder he lives in.
“I’m sorry, even if it speaks down upon my place of work, I must ask” Darlene explains, standing in front of the man, a tiny woman in comparison to the giant structure around her on all sides, “why would you want to work at my clinic if you live in this place?” With a shrug, Matt places his hands into his pockets, shoulders lifting to his chin as he brushes his wealth away from consideration.
“Regardless of how well off I am, I’ve never brushed away from my affinity to helping people” Matt explains, walking past the woman and into his living room, “I may live a life of luxury, but I want to steer other people towards that as well.” Placing his application on his coffee table, Darlene takes a seat on his fur-covered sofa, her sights remaining on everything other than Matt.
“Why not be a financial adviser, then? Go around telling people how to create a portfolio and manage their assets properly?” Darlene inquiries, finally looking at Matt for a change, “why try to fix the broken instead?” Lips puckered, Matt crosses his arms with his eyes directed to the floor, a pure-white rug laid before him, the luxury being so common to him that he’s forgotten what it feels like to view it as a symbol of accomplishment.
“I’m successful now not because of my younger experiences, but in spite of them” Matt explains, telling Darlene of a much different time. “My arms weren’t resting on some soft cushion, they were resting on chipped paint-laiden walls with a needle in my arm” Matt explains, taking in a deep breath, “no one thought much of me, and that didn’t change once I found success… I was the same junkie using a different high in their eyes.”
“What ‘different high’ do you mean?” Darlene replies, her instincts to serve as a therapist coming as naturally as the man’s previous trauma’s had. “The thrill of dying kept me going more than the drugs did… And it hurt a lot less than drugs did, if we’re counting the benefits” Matt explains, “I’d do whatever dangerous thing I could if it meant getting an adrenaline kick.”
Intrigued, Darlene remains silent, her refusal to speak being noticeable in Matt’s eyes, the man having been comfortable with this sort of scene before, allowing himself to give into it. “There were people along the way that helped me see how much I had made” Matt explains, “they knew how much I had come into by going all in and leaving victorious… And they never asked for a penny.”
Clearing his throat, Matt downs the rest of the scotch in his cup and rests back in his seat, one leg crossed over the other as it had been earlier in the day. “They taught me that the high was no longer worth the rush because I didn’t need to force the pain away with a needle” Matt explains, his head tilting to the side, flashing his charm towards the woman, a smile forming in the corner of his mouth, “I could just buy it away with a stack of cold, hard cash.”
“What did the people that didn’t stay by your side think?” Darlene asks, Matt’s expression falling as he recalls their faces, repeating their names in his head as their presence brings on bad thoughts. “They… They ended up-” Matt replies, snapping out of the trance their recollection pulled him in as his phone begins to buzz, his attention being required elsewhere. “May I?” Matt asks, Darlene quietly waving her hand for him to attend to his business.
“Hello?” Matt answers, Darlene’s face turning towards the fishtank as the man continues his conversation, eyes fixated on the massive fish walled off behind the glass. “Thank you, Danny… I’ll let them know” Matt concludes, returning the phone to his pocket with a few additional clicks of a button, his focus returning to the woman ahead of him. “I’ll cut straight to the question that I’d ask through one line of dialogue to another” Darlene explains, “how should that convince me to hire you?”
His head lowering just a small bit, Matt returns to the thought of those he associates with most closely, the leg he’s placed atop his opposite leg being returned to the floor. “They made me realize that the true way to help people was not to tell them what to and not to do” Matt explains, his eyes having fallen away from Darlene until that moment, returning to her in full as his statement concludes, “the way is to put someone in their corner, someone that will fight with them, not for them.”
Eyes lowering to her own folded hands, Darlene considers her options for a moment before leaning forward, pressing her fingertips against the leather bound folder and sliding it to Matt’s end of the table. Taking this as a suggestion, Matt leans forward and returns the folder to his hands, opening the top with his eyes upon Darlene to find a single word written at the top of the first page, written in bright red ink.
“Approved” Matt proclaims, Darlene stepping out of her chair before Matt can pull his eyes away from the word, her hand held out towards Matt, waiting for his eyes to pull away from his application. “I’m putting my ass on the line to bring you aboard, Matthew” Darlene explains, watching Matt look up to her with an appreciative stare she hadn’t expected, “now you put your ass on the line and prove I didn’t make the worst mistake of my life.”
The first smile given to her out of appreciation rather than persuasion, Darlene embraces Matt’s handshake before showing herself out, giving him a time and date to arrive by. Closing the door behind her, Darlene departs the man’s property just as Matt’s phone rings, his overwhelming joy in taking in the sights of his boldly-written approval almost prompting him to miss the call.
“This is King speaking” Matt replies, a stern voice on the other line bringing his focus to something more, business calling for his emotions to be put aside. “I’ve got the runner stifled on the tracks, sir” a large man explains, the loud roaring of an oncoming train nearly drowning out Julio’s muffled cries for mercy. “I can make it look like a suicide if those are your orders, sir” the man on the other end explains, Matt placing his application back upon the table before he answers.
“Make it look clean, Brutus” Matt replies, keeping his demands simple and precise. “Always, sir” Brutus replies, hanging up his call and pulling Julio to his feet, removing the gag from his mouth and untying the restraints around his hands. “Please, I didn’t do nothing!” Julio shouts, a straight right hand from Brutus finding the sweet spot between Julio’s eyes, putting him to sleep.
The train growing louder, Brutus clutches the unconscious Julio in his arms with his back to a concrete cylinder, waiting for the perfect moment. Just as they train approaches, Brutus tosses the body onto the tracks, Julio’s arms flailing in the air as he falls to mimic a suicide attempt. At the last moment, the train blares its horn, the last-moment call for Julio to remove himself from the vehicle’s tracks allowing Brutus to walk away from the impact zone.
With a background of crunching and spurting, Brutus considers the job to have been done, turning around to admire the splattered blood painting the area before walking away with a smile. “Sorry, Julio” Brutus says beneath his breath, climbing into his car with glee, “hail to the King”
== Kings of Cambridge ==