Mercury: You wanted to see me, sir?
Sun: Yes, Merc. Sit down. [Mercury sits] So this is not a lecture.
Mercury: What do you mean, 'This is not a lecture'? Who would start a conversation that way? You're immediately putting that idea in my mind that it IS a lecture, and then I have to be worried about what this "non-lecture" is about. Sir, you of all people should know better than to do that to me. It's just not fair. I mean when you think about the implications that such a statement might have in the context of being here in your office I just...
Sun: [holds a hand up calmly] Merc.
Sun: I just wanted to give you some information. We don't need to debate the implications of it. Actually, I was going for a lighter touch but you're making this more difficult.
Mercury: Aren't you going to close the door, sir?
Sun: No, I'm not, but I'm glad you noticed. What does that indicate to you?
Mercury: That perhaps this meeting won't be a lecture, which is what I should have known if I had taken your words at face value, sir. I'll make sure it doesn't happen again, sir. Sometimes my mind trips over my brain...I mean my words trip over themselves in my brain.
Sun: You're correct, Merc. On all counts. So I have a question: Did Mars perhaps ask you for assistance in crafting a letter to John apologizing for his conduct at the meeting that ultimately caused us to not send him a gift for his anniversary?
Mercury: Sure he did, sir.
Sun: I see. [Pause] And could you tell me in detail what form that assistance might have taken?
Mercury: Well, sir, he came and told me the situation and I said that I'd help him. But he said all he needed from me was to get him started, which I did. And then he left.
Sun: So he was going to write this letter on his own after you provided some...input, right?
Mercury: Yes, sir.
Sun: To make sure I'm following...he came to you, you gave him some quote-unquote assistance, and then he left.
Mercury: That's what happened, sir.
Sun: Did Mars at any time ask you to do the work for him?
Mercury: Oh no, sir! I gave him a few writing tips and then he was out the door. It was his punishment, after all.
Sun: So tell me what you did after he left.
Mercury: After he left? Mars, you mean?
Sun: Yes. Don't tell me you don't understand what I mean.
Mercury: Well...I know what you mean, I was just asking for clarification. I...I don't really remember. I'm a little ecletic...but I watch the news, I text, I write...
Sun: Merc, did you help out Mars by writing a letter to John for him without his knowledge?
Mercury: [Pause, with a confused look] Yes, I did, but I didn't tell anyone I had done so. How did you come by this information? I mean they SAY Big Brother is watching us and all but seriously that's totally bizarre.
Sun: [smiling] You didn't expect Mars to write a letter, did you? Or was it that you were unsure that his would accomplish his desired goals?
Mercury: A little of both, sir. John deserves better than that, sir. And since I didn't say anything to stop the chaos at the meeting, I thought I could do my part by making sure John got a real apology, not one given by a caveman.
Sun: Merc, Mars did indeed send one...
Mercury: Oh shit. So John got two of them?
Sun: Yes, indeed. Mars must have infected you with something because normally you think things through.
Mercury: Yeah, I guess I didn't think about that. Hope he wasn't upset.
Sun: He seemed more amused than anything else, especially because Mars doesn't write like you do. You didn't even try to disguise your writing to look like Mars'.
Sun: So here's the thing: Mars did what I told him to do. But I'm going to ask you nicely to not "help" so much next time, especially since it makes it look like we don't know our asses from a hole in the ground.
Mercury: I can see that, sir. I'll make sure I reign it in next time.
Sun: Thanks, Merc. You can go now.