An Old Flame Conclusion

“So, she was the one who turned Jeremy into the Bar?” Zach asked, sitting at the bar, waiting for Jeremy to return from his settlement conference with Karen.  “That’s straight up cold.”

“Yeah.  Well, maybe.  I don’t know.  He was drinking a lot in those days, and I don’t know the whole story, just what Jeremy’s told me, so take it with a grain of salt.  I don’t know her side,” Benjamin said.

“What has Jeremy told you?”

“That she’s the worst person of all time.  And that’s coming from someone who once described Hitler as ‘pretty cool’.”

“Well, if Jeremy doesn’t like her…wait, did Jeremy really say that about Hitler?”

“What? No.  I was just emphasizing…” The door to the bar opened and the two quickly went into an awkward silence.  Jeremy walked in and sat down at the bar.

“Zach, I need you to start drawing up a settlement agreement.  I’ll look it over when you’re done,” Jeremy said flatly, looking straight ahead.

“On it,” Zach said, quickly standing up from the bar and heading into the office.

“So, how did it go?” Benjamin asked softly.

“Pretty well.  We settled relatively quickly.  Really, nobody was looking for a fight.”

“No, I mean how did it go?”

“It was fine.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”


“Can I get you anything?  Club soda, or that orange juice and ginger ale concoction you’re so fond of?”

“I’m good.”

“You sure?”

“Jesus Christ, Ben, I’m not a fucking child!” Jeremy snapped.  “I said I’m fine.”

“Alright,” Benjamin said, holding up his hands defensively and backing away from the bar.  “Let me know if you want anything.”

“Just because I had to negotiate with the hell-cunt that ruined my life…it’s not a big deal.  I’m over it.”

“You sound over it,” Benjamin said from the other side of the bar.  “And you probably shouldn’t use the word ‘cunt’.  That’s a hate word.”

“You’ve been hanging around Veronica too much.”

“All I’m saying is that it’s disrespectful toward women.”

“No, you’re right.  I should respect absolutely every woman on the planet, because all women are worthy of respect.  None are deceitful, dumb, or have any flaws whatsoever.  All women are perfect, brilliant goddesses.  I could never say anything bad about women, because no woman has anything bad about her.  It’s not like they’re people or something.”  Jeremy shook his head.

“I get your point.  You hate people.  Still doesn’t excuse your hate speech.”

“What the fuck ever.  Get me an orange juice-ginger ale concoction.”

Benjamin made Jeremy’s drink and handed it to him.  “We really need a name for this.”

“Why?  Orange juice-ginger ale concoction too verbose for you?”

“A little bit.  We need something shorthand.”

Jeremy shrugged.  “How about a virgin orange fizz?”

“Nah.  Too simple.  How about a kiddy creamsicle?”

Jeremy shook his head.  “No.  It’s nothing like a creamsicle.   Besides, I hate children.”

“You hate everything,” Benjamin said.  “What do you have against children?”

“They’re always running around so happy, acting like life is a big pile of pickles.  Nobody’s had the decency to tell them life is one big gauntlet of shit.  Until people learn that, they’re insufferable.”

“You must hate me then, because I’m just loving life over here.”

“Whatever,” Jeremy said, picking his drink up and standing.  “I have work to do.”


An Old Flame

“Alright, let’s get this over with,” Jeremy said, walking into the coffee shop and putting his briefcase down by the leg of the table.

“Thanks for coming,” Karen Sinclair said, standing up.  She took a step forward to hug Jeremy, but he ignored her and sat down.

“Don’t.  I’m here because you’re blackmailing my client, not to repair old wounds.”

“You know, I’ve got just as much to be upset about as you do.  I’m still five years behind where I would be if not for that little stunt of yours.” Karen took a deep breath.  “But you’re right.  This is about our clients.”

“And what is the pound of flesh your clients are demanding?”

“Stop acting like the victim.  Your client ran over their mailbox with his car.  While drunk.  He’s the bad guy in all of this.”

“Herb is harmless.”

“Except for when he’s drunk.”

“Which is most of the time,” Jeremy said.  He leaned forward.  “Even then he’s harmless.  He didn’t hurt anyone.”

“He could have.  This time it was their mailbox.  Next time, it could be someone’s kids.”

“Who lets their kids play outside at two in the morning?”

“That isn’t the point,” Karen said.

“No.  The point is that your clients are demanding money or they’ll go to the police.  Blackmail is the point.”

“It isn’t blackmail.  They have every legal right to go to the police.  In fact, they should.  It’s just…” Karen stopped herself.  She paused for a moment, regaining her thoughts.  “They want to resolve this quickly and quietly.  Look, Jeremy, it doesn’t matter.  Your client has a choice.  It’s like letting a guy buy you a $50 dinner.  You can get the lobster or the steak, but either way you’re getting fucked.  Settle this today, or we go to the police.”

“What do you want?”

“Pay for the repairs to mailbox.”

“Done,” Jeremy said quickly.  “Herb was planning on doing that anyway.  As I said, he’s not a bad guy.”

“Wait.  We’re not done.  They also want him to pay to re-sod their lawn.”

“There it is.  You see a rich drunk, and think how can I exploit him today,” Jeremy said.  “Well, a well-off, I guess middle class…a not completely broke drunk, at any rate.”

“Hey, he’s got the money to keep you on retainer, he can pay for a new lawn.  Besides, this one has tire marks on it.  He really chewed it up.  It’s embarrassing.”

Jeremy shook his head.  “Whatever.  I’ll have to run it by Herb, but I don’t think he’ll have a problem.  What else?”

“That’s all,” Karen said.  She looked down and took a long sip of her coffee.  She inhaled deeply.  “So, you seem…happy.”

“Yeah, well, you know.  I’m not,” Jeremy said.  He stood up and pushed his chair in.  “If there’s nothing else.”

“Jeremy, wait,” Karen said, standing up and heading after him.  “I know it isn’t my business, but if this isn’t the first time Herb has gotten in trouble, maybe, I don’t know, try getting him some help.”

“Help?  What, you mean like an intervention?” Jeremy asked.  “What do you want me to do, throw him in a corner and berate him until he quits?  I don’t think that’s the best way to have a successful intervention, but then again, what do I know?  I’m not the expert here, now am I?”

“I’m just saying.  Some things are more important than keeping a repeat client.”

“You were right.  It isn’t your business.  I’m his lawyer, not his therapist,” Jeremy said.  As he turned to leave, he stopped and looked back.  “Goodbye, Karen.”

The Rejected Wife

July 30, 2017

“I’m Mr. Heworth,” said Benjamin, with a wry smile as he cleaned a pint glass.  “What can I do for you?”

“You’re the, uh, you’re the lawyer?” the middle-aged, pear shaped woman asked.  “Sorry, I shouldn’t judge.  I just didn’t expect to find a lawyer wiping down beer mugs, that’s all.”

“No, you wouldn’t.  Lazy bastard never does anything to help around the bar.  It is half his, you know?”  Benjamin noticed the confused look on the woman’s face and smiled.  “Sorry.  I’m not the lawyer.  He’s not in right now, though he should be back shortly.  Can I get you anything while you wait?”

“You’re, uh, not the lawyer?” the woman asked with a hint of annoyance in her voice.

“No, ma’am,” Benjamin said, cheery as a mockingbird.

“Then why’d you lie to me?”

“Technically, I didn’t lie to you.  You didn’t ask for the lawyer, you just said Mr. Heworth. I am Mr. Heworth, just not the lawyering version.”  The woman rolled her eyes, and Benjamin laughed.  “Sorry, when you spend all day around lawyers, semantics sort of becomes a way of life.”

The woman sighed and sat down on a bar stool, placing her purse on the bar.  “It’s alright.  I understand completely.  After all, my husband is a lawyer, and it’s a constant parsing of words.  It’s absolutely tiresome.”

“You sound unhappy,” Benjamin said, stopping what he was doing and coming to devote his attention to the woman.  “You want to talk about it?”

“What’s there to talk about?” the woman asked.  “It’s the classic girl meets hotshot douchebag, is enamored, marries before she realizes the relationship is built around, well, the physical aspect, and ends up an empty shell of herself, stuck in a loveless marriage built around constructing a social façade and having abandoned all her dreams.”

“Doesn’t that describe most marriages?”

The woman laughed, looking down and shaking her head.  “I don’t know.  Probably.  We spend so much of our marriage trying to impress the hoity-toities at my husband’s firm, those who have nothing better all day to do than sit around at their country club, looking down their noses at those who have to actually work for a living.  It’s wearisome.  We have no relationship of our own.  I think that was the final straw.  We were at a dinner party a few weeks ago, and since no dinner party is complete without that couple arguing constantly and making everyone feel awkward, we were happy to oblige.  I thought, ‘I just can’t do this anymore’.”

“I’m so sorry.  Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” Benjamin said.  He stood at the bar and turned.  “Um, I should let you know, though, that my brother doesn’t typically do divorce cases.  And by typically, I mean he doesn’t.”

“What? Where’d you hear that?”

“Uh, from my brother.  Whose office is in the back of my bar.”

“I find that difficult to believe.  A sole practitioner? I would think he’d take any case he could get.”

Benjamin shrugged.  “You’re welcome to wait around for him and ask him yourself.  Conveniently, here comes his paralegal now.”

Zach walked in to the bar and headed straight to Jeremy’s office before being stopped by a shout from Benjamin.

“What’s up?” Zach asked.

“This woman’s looking for Jeremy.  Do you know when he’ll be back?”

“Should be shortly.  They were just wrapping up when I left.  Who knew a contract situation could be so complicated?”

“Everybody.  Literally everybody knew that.”

Zach shrugged.  “Oh. Anyway, the whole thing is boring as hell.  I almost fell asleep several times.”

“Shouldn’t be doing that in court, buddy.”

“And it dragged on, and on, and on.”

“I feel you,” Benjamin said.  “This woman wants to speak to Jeremy.”

“I’m hoping we’ll only take criminal and civil matters in the future, but I guess I understand.  He’s kind of got to take whatever work he can find.”

“Zach,” Benjamin said, pointing toward the woman.

Zach turned to her.  “Oh. Hi, I’m Zach Wells.  What can I do for you?”

“I’m looking for an attorney.  I’m taking it you aren’t him?”

“I’m his paralegal.  What can I do for you?”

“My husband and I are about to go through a divorce and child custody situation.  I need representation.”

Zach clicked his tongue.  “We don’t really do divorce cases.  And by don’t really, I mean we don’t.”

“But I just heard you say you needed all the work you could get.”

“Except for from you.”

“Zach!” Benjamin scolded him from behind the bar.

“Right.  Let me rephrase.  As much as we’ll take on work in areas such as, say, real estate, which neither of us particularly enjoys, divorce cases are a whole different story.  They can get kind of messy, and we don’t like being in the middle of it.”

“What about the custody case?  That should be easy.  My husband and I both love our daughter very much, and have no problem splitting custody.”

“Hmm.  There’s no question of who the parents are?”

The woman shook her head.  “No. I’ve been faithful to my husband the entire time we’ve been married, and he doesn’t question that.  He’s certain that Sheri is his.”

“What about you?”

“What do mean?”

“You’re certain the child is yours?”

The woman tilted her head at Zach.  “Yes.  Maternal uncertainty isn’t a thing.  Nobody’s going around sticking babies into uteruses.  Uteri.”

“Right.  Got you.”

The door opened and Jeremy walked in.

“Hey Jer, this woman’s here to see us,” Zach said.  “She wants to know if we’re interested in representing her in her divorce.”

Without walking over, Jeremy turned to the woman.  “We don’t take divorce cases.  And by don’t take divorce cases, I mean we don’t fucking ever even consider taking divorce cases.”

“You don’t have to be so rude about it,” the woman said.  “I just don’t understand why you’d turn down a perfectly good fee.”

“So I don’t have to deal with psychopaths like you and your batshit husband.”

“You know what? Fuck you,” the woman said, grabbing her purse.  “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.”

“You want to fuck my horse?” Jeremy said to the woman as she stormed out of the bar.  He took a deep breath.

“Somebody’s in a mood,” Benjamin said.  “Care to tell us why?”

Without saying a word, Jeremy walked over to the bar.  He handed a piece of paper to Zach, who looked over it for a minute.

“I don’t see what the problem is.  It looks pretty typical to me.”

Benjamin grabbed the paper from Zach and glanced at it.  “Oh.”

The Watergate Spiral Part 3

April 1, 2017

“So, did you decide what we’re going to do about good old William?” Zach asked, sitting next to Jeremy as he sat at the bar, sipping a coffee.  Jeremy shrugged.

“Nothing, for now.  I gave him my card in case anything happens, but all indications are that, for now, no one is the wiser.  I don’t know how you manage to commit that many crimes that incompetently and not get caught, but here we are.”

“Is this the guy who beat up the homeless dude?” Benjamin asked, standing at the bar.

“You know I can’t discuss that with you,” Jeremey responded.  “And yes.”

Benjamin shrugged.  “He could at least apologize.”

“And say what?  Sorry for the whole trying to kill you thing.  Best to just let sleeping dogs lie.”

“See, this is the problem with you men,” Veronica piped in from the other side of the bar.  “You have so much male privilege, you think you can just go around assaulting people.  And ignoring women because they’re fat, you won’t date them because society doesn’t think it’s acceptable.  You realize how discriminatory that is?”

“Male privilege…fat?  Benjamin, what the fuck is she talking about?”

“I have no idea.  She usually makes at least some sense, but she’s been drinking since like 9 o’clock this morning, so…” Benjamin shrugged.  “She’s getting her propaganda mixed up again.  Just ignore her.  So, what’s going on with the dead homeless guy?”

“Again, he’s not dead.  He’s just mostly dead.  Or kind of dead?  Injured, maybe?” Jeremy looked at Zach.  “How badly did he beat up this homeless guy?”

Zach shrugged.  “I don’t know.  You were conducting the interview.”

“Hmm.  Seems like something we should have asked.” Jeremy shrugged.  “Oh well.  We’ll ask him next time. Something tells me we’ll be seeing Mr. Debors again.”

“Why is that?”

“People that dumb don’t magically stop being this dumb.”

The Watergate Spiral Part 2

March 25, 2017

“Let me get this straight,” Jeremy said, resting his head in the palm of his hands.  “You nicked your girlfriend’s car, and rather than, I don’t know, tell her, you decided that the best course of action was to commit a series of felonies.  To cover up an accident.  A minor one.”

“Yeah, I mean, I don’t think she would have even noticed the scratch, but why risk it?” William Debors, the potential client, asked.  “And they aren’t felonies.”

“Yes, they are,” said the guy with the law degree.

“Really?  Is any of this really that big a deal?”

“That’s generally what felony means,” Jeremy said, sighing as he looked at his notes.  “Let’s review.  You destroyed a security camera that was property of the apartment complex, threatened to kidnap a kid, and beat up a homeless man.  Care to explain each in turn?”

“The security camera is obvious,” William said, sitting back in his chair.  “It showed me hitting the car.  If she got a hold of it, she’d know it was me.”

“You really think she’d go to that trouble for a nick that, by your own admittance, was hardly noticeable?”

“You don’t understand,” William said with a nervous douche-laugh.  “This chick is crazy.”

“She is?” William asked, emphasizing the first word.  “And what did you hope to accomplish by doing this?”

“What do you mean?  To destroy the evidence.  Obviously.”

“But you destroyed the camera.”


“Not the tape.”

“Dude.  I didn’t even think of that,” William said.  “Sorry, man.  I wasn’t thinking clearly.”

“Obviously.  Let’s move on to the kidnapping threats…”

“Okay, I think you may be overplaying that one just a little,” William interrupted Jeremy.

“How so?”

“I didn’t threaten to kidnap the kid.  You’re misinterpreting my words.”

“Your exact words were ‘kid, if you don’t move, I’m going to kidnap the shit out of you’.  What part of that am I misinterpreting?”

“Well, like, fine.  But I wasn’t going to actually do it.  Obviously.”

“Why is that obvious?”

“What would I want a kid for?  I’d have to take care of it and everything.  I might kill the kid, sure, but I wouldn’t kidnap him.”

“I might not mention that part.”

“Whatever.  I had to get the kid out of my way,” William explained.  “He was biking back and forth in the doorway of the garage when I was trying to back out quickly.  I didn’t want to hit him.”

“And ‘hey, kid, could you move for a moment’ wasn’t good enough for you?”

“Ah, uh, didn’t think of it.”

Jeremy slowly shook his head as he took some notes.  “And what predicated the assault on the homeless gentleman?”

When he didn’t hear a response, Jeremy looked up to find William staring at him blankly.  He rephrased.  “Why’d you fight a homeless guy?”

“Oh, actually, I didn’t fight him so much as kicked his ass.”


“Well, he’d seen what had happened, with the car, right?” William said.  “And I went over and asked him to not to snitch.  He asked for money, I refused, so on.  As I was walking away, he said the three little words that change any situation.”

“What were those words?”

“You fucking idiot.”

“So you beat up a homeless guy because he insulted you?”

William shrugged.  “Sounds stupid, huh?”

“And you did all this because you were afraid of your girlfriend finding out that you’d dinged her car?”

“Yeah, well,” William said with a chuckle, “don’t stick your dick in crazy.”

The Defender- Watergate Spiral Part 1

February 25, 2017

“Woo-hoo.  Damn, that was good,” Jeremy heard a very large, very round woman that he didn’t recognize say as he walked into the bar.  “Hey, Benny, how about another?”

“Coming right up,” Benjamin said with a smile, heading over and grabbing a new glass.  As he leaned over to fill it with ice, he looked up.  “Good morning, Jeremy.”

“Hey,” Jeremy said, moving in closer to his brother.  “Why is there a flesh colored bean bag sitting on one of our barstools?”

“Shut up,” Benjamin said in a sharp whisper.  “That’s Veronica.  She’s my new friend.”


“Because.  Shut up,” Benjamin said with a warning voice.  He turned around with a smile and handed the freshly made drink to Veronica.

“Thanks, sexy.  I have got to get the taste of cock out of my mouth.”

“Excuse me?” Jeremy said with an amused smirk, pulled in by the new gravitational orbit in the bar.

“I had a late night last night,” Veronica explained as she swallowed down a large gulp from her drink.  “Went home with some guy I met at the rally.  Don’t even remember his name, actually.  Oh, well.  Not like he was good for much other than a one-time ride, am I right?”

Veronica let out an obnoxious laughed and toasted Benjamin who replied with an approving chuckle.  Jeremey fought back a smirk, amused but uncomfortable.

“I suck a mean dick, too.  Lucky, lucky boy,” Veronica said.  “I may have a little extra cushion for the pushing, but I am good in bed.  You can’t deny that.”

“I have no basis of knowledge to dispute or affirm that claim,” Jeremy said, dryly.

“Would you like one?”

“No, uh, sorry,” Jeremy said.  “I have to, you know, work, I guess.”

“Whatever.  I’m not going to be ashamed of my sexuality just because I’m fat.  Or a woman.”


“Besides, well-behaved women rarely make history.”

“Neither do drunken whores,” Jeremy said under his breath.

“Excuse me?”

“He said he’s got to get into his office.  He’s got a case to start on,” Benjamin said quickly, pulling Jeremy away.

“Where’d you drag that one in from?” Jeremy asked Benjamin when the two were alone.  “She’s insufferable.”

“At the feminist rally last week.  One of the anti-Trump ones they’ve been having,” Benjamin said.  “She was there with some other fat activists.”

“Fat activists?  What the fuck is fat activism?”

“It’s a political movement based around the idea that nobody should have their feelings hurt, be forced to do something they don’t like, or have to take any sort of responsibility for their actions.”

“So pretty much the same as every other political movement of your generation.”

“We’re the same generation.  And yes,” Benjamin said.  “Now head over to your office.  Zach said a potential client called this morning.”

“Really?  I thought that was just a lie to get me away from your new friend before I pissed her off or she ate me.”

“It was.  But then I remembered it was true, so bye.”

Jeremy shrugged and walked into his office, where he found Zach Wells waiting for him.  Zach looked up and smiled.

“So, uh, I didn’t catch it.  What’s the story with the whale in the bar?”

“She’s a friend of Benjamin’s, I guess.  And let’s cool it with the fat jokes, alright?”

“Really? Why?”

“Because I’ve been making them all morning and they’re getting tiresome,” Jeremy said, walking around his desk and sitting in his chair.

“Fine.  Who is she, anyway?  I haven’t seen her.”

“Some feminist.”

Zach shrugged.  “Well, she’s balloon-shaped and won’t stop talking about all the men she fucked, so that checks out.  Anyway, we may have a new client.”

“Good.  What’s the issue?  And why are you smirking?” Jeremy asked, eyeing Zach suspiciously.  “I don’t like it when you smirk.”

“Wait until you hear about this winner,” Zach said, looking at his notes.  “He’s coming in later to meet you.”

Enchantment- Part 2

December 6, 2016

“I just don’t understand how you could have thought it was appropriate,” Mrs. Campbell, the mother of the aggrieved Native American student, Benjamin, said.  Jeremy sat next to his clients, Mrs. Billings and Mrs. Coughlin, and across from Dorothy Peking, another local attorney with whom he’d crossed paths before.

“It was a joke,” Mrs. Coughlin said, chuckling and not helping the situation very much.  “We just didn’t understand the significance of this piece of history to you people.”

“For the love of God, please don’t say ‘you people’ again,” Jeremy muttered under his breath, shaking his head.  He looked up to address the plaintiffs.  “Look, I understand that you’re hurt, but let’s focus on the task at hand.  Clearly, this was a misunderstanding, and my clients would like to rectify it if at all possible.”

“With all due respect, Mr. Heworth, I don’t think you do fully understand.  This is one of the most tragic events in our people’s history.  If you were playing a Jewish school, would you have a sign that reads ‘get ready for the Super-Holocaust’?”

“My clients? Yeah. Probably,” Jeremy said.  “And perhaps greater sensitivity on their part is in order, but what’s done is done.”

“Do you have kids, Mr. Heworth?” Mrs. Campbell asked as her attorney stifled a laugh.

“Me? No, thankfully. Nobody wants kids.  The ones who really don’t want kids are those who already have kids.  They’re awful.”

“Then you couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to have your child singled out for ridicule.  And when it’s sanctioned by the school, well, that just makes it worse.”

“We weren’t singling him out,” Mrs. Coughlin scoffed.  “Maybe you people should learn to take a joke as well as we can take your land.”

“Kathy, shut up,” Mrs. Billings said before Jeremy could do the same.  Mrs. Billings took a deep breath.  “Look, we apologize deeply for the incident.  Benjamin’s a great kid, and it was an inexcusable oversight on our part.  But I don’t know what we can do to make this right.”

“You could have done your job in the first place,” Mrs. Campbell sneered.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be looking to turn everything into a federal case,” Mrs. Billings said, sitting in the conference room of the state courthouse.

Dorothy looked at Jeremy, who nodded and turned to his clients. “Maybe you could two could give me and Dorothy the room for a moment.”

“Why?” Mrs. Coughlin asked indignantly, but Mrs. Billings nodded and grabbed her purse.

“Fine,” she said, standing up and touching Mrs. Coughlin’s shoulder.  Mrs. Coughlin remained confused, but followed Mrs. Billings out of the room.

Dorothy reached over and touched Mrs. Campbell on the shoulder.  “Daisy, why don’t you go and see how Benjamin’s doing out in the hall, okay?”

Mrs. Campbell nodded sadly, stood up and left the room.  When they were alone, Dorothy took a deep breath.  “So, what are the odds of settling this?”

“I don’t know.  What’s her bottom line?” Jeremy asked.

Dorothy scoffed.  “There is no bottom line.  They’re hurt.  Their school humiliated her son and mocked one of the sorest points of Native American history.  She’s upset.”

“I don’t see how this lawsuit is going to help that.  For what it’s worth, however, my clients do feel badly about this.  The principal, at least.  We’re just not sure what your client wants us to do about it at this point.”

“An apology would be nice.”

Jeremy nodded.  “I think I can do that.”

“And we want to change the curriculum to teach about the white oppression of Native Americans.”

“Isn’t that basically just American history?”

“Obviously, it’s not being taught very well.  Not if they didn’t recognize that the Trail of Tears wasn’t appropriate fodder for a sports chant.”

Jeremy nodded.  “I’ll see what I can do on that.  If that’s all, if all you’re seeking is to right this wrong, I think we can take care of this.  As I said, it really was an honest, if completely bone-headed, mistake.”

“And then there’s compensation.”

“Way to bury the lead there, Dorothy.  You should have led with that.”

Dorothy shook her head.  “It’s not that big a deal.  If we can agree on the other points, the money is mainly an afterthought for them.”

“So you say,” Jeremy said.  He took a deep breath and sighed.  “Well, let’s hear it, but that is the sticking point.  There just isn’t a whole lot in the budget.”

Enchantment-Part 1

November 22, 2016

“I’m sorry.  What was that again?” Jeremy Heworth asked, taken back a little.  He sat in his office, across from Rita Billings, the principal of a small, local high school, and Kathy Coughlin, the head of their PTA.  Zach Wells, his paralegal, leaned in the corner, his mouth covering his face, his eyes raised as he stifled a smirk.

Kathy sighed.  “Hey, Indians, hear our cheers, get ready for a trail of tears,” she chanted obligingly.  Jeremy stared at her for a cold, long moment.

He took a deep breath.  “And you didn’t see any problems with that?”

“It may have been pushing it, but it was all in good fun.  At least, until this lawsuit,” Mrs. Billings said.

“I’m not sure joking about genocide can be seen as good fun.”

“You think we crossed the line?”

“No, no, no,” Jeremy said, shaking his head and leaning forward in his chair.  “The 1950s called.  They think you crossed the line.  I’m not sure you even know where the line is.”

“With all due respect,” Kathy said, inserting herself back into the conversation, “we were playing a team called the Indians.  What were we supposed to say?”

“Go. Fight. Win.  Beat the Indians.  Literally anything other than what you said.”

Kathy sighed.  “We wanted to customize our chant to our opponents.”

There was a long pause.  From the corner, Zach, no longer able to contain himself, suggested, “We are people, we are white, we’ll fuck you up and take your shite?”

“Do you mind?” Mrs. Billings said indignantly.  “We are a school.  I’m not sure profanity is appropriate?”

“But blatant racism is?” Zach asked.  “I feel like you may have lost the moral high ground here.”

“Zach, enough,” Jeremy said.

“In our defense, this whole misunderstanding was based on ignorance,” Mrs. Billings said.

“Right. Of course,” Jeremy said reflexively.  Something hit him.  “Ignorance?  Aren’t you a school?”


“Dispelling ignorance is kind of your raison d’etre. I’m not sure you can use that as an excuse.”

“You’re right, but what’s done is done.  Will you take our case or not?”

Jeremy took a deep breath.  “The plaintiff is…”

“An Indian boy who says he was made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome by the whole thing.”

“And you’ll pay by the hour?”


“And you know I’m probably going to recommend you settle?”

“Believe me, we want to get this resolved as soon as possible as well.”

Jeremy took a deep breath.  “Then yes.  On one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“Can you use the term Native American?  At least until this case is over.”

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.”


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?”


“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.”