At the beginning of "The Fly," Mr. Woodifield is visiting his friend, "the boss," who runs a firm in the City of London. Woodifield is repeatedly described as old, but in fact, the boss is five years older, though he is more vigorous and in better health. Woodifield has retired after suffering a stroke, and he is now bored with his life at home. He looks forward to his weekly visits to his old friends in the City as the highlight of his tedious life.
The dynamic between Mr. Woodifield and the boss, therefore, is one of friends and approximate equals of about the same age. The boss, however, is a busy man, while Woodifield has nothing to do and is lingering in his office, putting off the moment of his departure. The boss is not, on this particular day, annoyed or inconvenienced by Woodifield's presence. He is even rather pleased to have someone admire his office, and he generously invites Woodifield to stay and drink some whisky with him.
Nonetheless, there is a power imbalance in the boss's favor, and Mansfield suggests through Woodifield's demeanor and conversation, as well as the attitude of his wife and daughters, that he may sometimes be a nuisance to his old friend.