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Colleen stared at her computer screen, her eyes ready to cross.  This one, unique in her career, baffled.  Tired of staring without progress, she hooked her mug of lukewarm tea and strolled toward the open door of the corner office.

 “Dave, got a minute?”  The two met a decade before when both worked for a different company.  Dave moved on and recruited Colleen soon thereafter.  They didn’t bother with formalities.  Colleen entered without waiting for a reply.  She plopped in the chair nearer the door.

“The Crandall case, we go to trial in two weeks, and with no witnesses.  Maybe we should settle this one.”

“Their attorney told us nothing less than the policy limits and this company doesn’t like seven digit claims.”

“We both know reinsurance eats a chunk of it.  Besides, accounting wrote it off in last year’s calendar year losses.  A settlement for anything less than a million, we net the difference to the positive this year.”  Colleen once underwrote, she knew the means by which insurers insulated themselves against loss.

“What about Bobby Crandall, her ex?  He witnessed the accident, and last I knew, our attorney intended to depose him.  An ex can make a volatile witness, but you know the old proverb.”

“Desperate times?”

“That’s the one.”

A playful twinkle danced in Colleen’s eyes.  “Dave, if Attorney Carbone puts him on the stand, do you know what will happen?”

“Ah, the prognosticator at work.  Tell me.”

“No, you read.  It’s an attachment to the file.”  David navigated to the claim and read.  A minute later, laughter filled the room.  “You put this in as a joke, right?  Come on MacMaster, I know all of your tricks.”

“Sorry Dave, not my doing, not this time.  He really snaps under stress, a recurrent disorder kept in check by medication.  When he lapses, he believes he’s the King of England.”

“And on the stand, would yell, ‘Off with your head’ to any attorney grilling him.  Terrific.  I’ll need home office authorisation to pay this one, but try to get them to bite for three quarters of a million.”

(Author’s note: based on a true story.)