Defender- Introduction

September 1, 2016

Jeremy Heworth walked into the bar he and his brother had inherited from his father, threw his briefcase on the bar, and rested his head in his hands.

“It’s 10:30. Where have you been?” his brother Benjamin asked, stopping what he was doing and leaning on the bar across from him.

“Meeting,” Jeremy mumbled.

Benjamin looked at him, waiting for his brother to elaborate.  When he didn’t, Benjamin shrugged.  “A meeting? Like with a client? Or with the Bar Association?”

“No, like a meeting, meeting.  I’m squared away with the Bar,” Jeremey said. “Well, if I keep going to meetings, anyway.”

“Yeah, I don’t get that.  They’re making you go to AA, but they’re somehow alright with you setting up your office in the back of a bar?” Benjamin said, turning up the radio.

Jeremy shrugged.  “I have no idea what they’re thinking.  I guess they realized that office space is tough to come by for a sole practitioner? Besides, it’s technically a separate building, and two separate businesses.”  He began to trail off as Benjamin had turned his attention to the voice coming from the radio.  “What’s, uh, what’s going on with that?”

“You know that local band, Raging Flayers?”

“Yeah, you used to bang their lead singer or something.”

“Right.  Anyway, they’re having a contest, and the winner gets to have them perform at any function they want. I entered, and they’re announcing the winner soon.”

“Why?”

Benjamin shrugged. “They have to announce it sometime.”

“No, I mean why did you enter?  Even when you two were together, you hated their music, and as I recall things didn’t exactly end amicably.  Why would you want them to perform at anything for you?”

“I don’t. I want to force them to perform a KKK rally,” Benjamin said, still focused primarily on the radio.  “To fuck up their career.”

“Seems petty.”

“It is.”

“What’s up?” Jeremy said, looking up as Zach Wells, his paralegal, entered the bar from the door connecting their law office to the bar.

“Hey,” Zach said, sitting down next to him.  “You have a client meeting in ten minutes.”

“I don’t remember that.”

“I just set it up this morning.”

“Damn,” Ben said, turning down the radio and joining the other two.  “Anyway, that’s good.  Maybe you can actually make some money in that law office of yours, and leave the bar to me.”

“Fat chance. These never amount to anything. Unless it’s Herb,” Jeremy said, looking up hopefully. “Is it Herb?”

Zach shook his head mournfully.  “No.”

“Damn. That man has money, and gets arrested for DUI almost every other month.  He may as well be an ATM for me.”

“Sounds like you should get him some help,” Ben said.  “Maybe take him to one of your meetings with you.”

“Why the hell would we want to do that?” Jeremy asked.  “He’s our best client.”

“He is practically the only thing keeping the law office in the black,” Zach said. “No, and I wouldn’t get your hopes up on this one.”

“Whatever.  Is it at least a criminal case?”

“Nope.”

“Something we can charge by the hour?”

Zach winced.  “You can ask, but I think they’re probably going to want a contingency fee.  And I don’t think there’s much there to begin with.”

“Then why am I taking this meeting? Is it at least with a stripper?”

Zach shook his head. “No. Well, maybe. I didn’t get an occupation, but the client is a man, so it wouldn’t do you any good anyway.”

“Damn. You couldn’t have at least made it with a sex worker?”

“Hey, strippers aren’t sex workers,” Ben said from behind the bar.  “At least not all of them.  And you should be kinder toward them.  What are you going to do if you have a daughter and she grows up to be a stripper?”

“I’ll wish I’d spent more time reading to her and less time molesting her,” Jeremy said to a disapproving glare from his brother.  “What? You can be as accepting and loving of strippers as you like, but let’s not pretend that these people had great childhoods.”

“It’s almost time,” Zach said.  “We should be heading in to the office.”

“Fine,” Jeremy said, standing up.  “Let’s get this meeting over with.  Damn it, Zach. You keep bringing me these clients with no cases that waste my time because they’re all idiots.  What percentage of the consultations end with me answering their questions with the exact phrase, ‘You are an idiot’?”

“Pretty high percentage.  But, to be fair, most of our actual clients are also idiots.”

“Try all of them.  Except for Herb.  For all his DUIs, he’s actually a pretty bright guy.”

“Not bright enough to call an Uber, apparently,” Ben chimed in from behind the bar, getting back to work.

“Herb’s like sixty.  I don’t think he knows what an Uber is,” Jeremy said as he approached the door leading from the bar to his law office.  As he reached for the door knob, he paused and turned back to Ben.  “Don’t, uh, don’t go telling him about Uber, alright?  Seriously. His drinking problem is about the only thing keeping this office in business.”  Jeremy opened the door and let Zach walk through.  “Alright, let’s go meet this turd.”

“Look at it this way,” Zach said, taking his seat at the desk in the reception area.  “At least you’re meeting someone, right?  By establishing a relationship, even if you don’t get a case out of it today, if he needs a lawyer later, he’ll come to you. Or maybe he’ll refer someone to you.  You never know.”

“Whatever.  If it pans out, I have work.  If I don’t have work, then I can drink as much as I like without consequence,” Jeremy said, opening the door from the reception are to his office.  He paused for a moment in the doorway and slowly shook his head.  “I’m not sure I’m quite understanding this whole sobriety concept. Anyway, when turd boy gets here, send him in.”

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