Joint Account Conclusion



“Thanks again for treating us to the water park, Robert,” Heather said explanatorily.  “I think it’s the first day since David’s been back that we’ve had an outing as a family.”

“Yeah, well, I’m so committed to connecting us, as a family, to be together, you know, that I’m willing to spend my money to have a nice day.  That’s why I’m treating you.  With my money.  That I earned, but just happen to be storing in your account for convenience, even though it is totally mine.”

“Okay, weirdo.”

Robert looked around impatiently.  “Damn it.  What is taking this line so long?”

“Relax.  We’ve only been waiting for about ten minutes.”

“I know.  I just want David to have a good time.  I don’t want waiting in this line to ruin that, you know?”

“It’s fine,” David said.  “I just got back from military school.  A half hour wait is nothing to me.”

“Alright, good.  It looks like we’re up soon.  Hey, what the hell?” Robert said as a bald kid and his parent or guardian walked by to the front of the line.  “Where’s that kid going?”

“That’s part of a charitable program we run,” the operator explained.  “It’s a special admission package for kids with terminal illnesses.”

“So why’s he get to cut to the front of the line?”

“Uhh…because he’s got a year to live.”

“Right.  So, it’s not like he’s going to remember the experience. Not for long, anyway.”

“Robert, relax.  It’s almost our turn anyway,” Heather said.

“Damn it.”

“Knock it off.  You know I don’t like you swearing in front of David.”

“Again, I just got back from military school,” David reminded them.

“I don’t know what that kid’s smiling about.  He’s still got cancer.”

“How do you know it’s cancer?”

“Because he’s bald.  All bald people have cancer,” Robert said.  “Look, it’s your turn.  Okay, David, have fun.”

“Wait, aren’t you two going?”

“No, I think your mom and I will sit this one out.”

“Really?” Heather asked as Robert pulled her aside.  “What’s going on?”

“Listen, I wanted to talk to you.”

“Okay.  What about?”

Robert sighed.  “There’s no easy way to say this.  I think we should break up.”

“Oh,” Heather said.  “I see.”

“You’re not mad?”

“Well, I wish you would have waited until the end of the day, but no.  I kind of saw this coming.  You’ve been a little distant since David’s been back.”

“It kind of changed our whole dynamic.  And you can’t tell me he hasn’t been a little weird since he’s been back.”

Heather shrugged.  “Maybe, but I think he’s just different.  He wasn’t exactly well adjusted before.  At least he isn’t acting out.”

“Right, but he’s so quiet.  And haven’t you noticed the dead rodents all over?”

“I assumed it was the cat.”

“Why would the cat suddenly start bringing rodents around?  I think David’s been killing them.”

“So?  They’re rodents.  Most people kill them.  I’ll talk to him about it, but don’t you think he’d dispose of them if he were the one doing it?”

“I don’t know.  Probably,” Robert took a deep breath.  “Anyway, the past five years have been great, but I think this is for the best.  So, can I have my money?”

“Your money?”

“That I put in your account?  That I’m treating you to this water park with?  Remember, the water park treat?  That money.”

Heather laughed.  “Oh.  Sure, of course.”

“Really?  Just like that?”

Heather shrugged.  “It’s your money.  It’s only fair.  Besides, it wasn’t like I was using you for your income, anyway.”

“I know.”

“I was using you for to have a father figure for David.”

“What?  You were using me?”

“Yeah.  Just like you were using me for a place to live and a bank account.”

“Oh,” Robert said.  “You knew I was using you, huh?”

“Of course.  That’s what relationships are.  People using each other for various ends.  I’m not dumb.  I just figured if I knew you were using me, and you knew you were using me, and we were both okay with it, what’s the harm?”

“I never thought of it like that.”

“Anyway, you can take off if you like.  I’ll go get David.  We’ve already paid the admission.  Might as well use it.”





Joint Account

“Zach, can you come in here?”

“In a minute.  I’m watching the game.”

“What?  It’s 10:30 in the morning.  On a Wednesday.  What game is on now?”

“Premier League.”

“You don’t even like soccer,” Jeremy said, shaking his head in confusion.

“I like it better than working, which is what you’re going to make me do if I get up.”

“Zach, shut up and get in here,” Jeremy said.  He waited while Zach got up and began to walk into his office with him.

“Man, why can’t you be more like your brother?”

“Don’t say that.  Teachers used to ask me that all the time, and it drove me nuts.  It’s not easy being constantly compared to your brother.  Especially when you’re seven years older.”

“Whatever,” Zach said, walking across the bar and entering Jeremy’s office.  “But we really need to talk about our relationship.  I’m not digging the part where you keep trying to make me do work for you.”

“I’m your boss.  That’s literally our entire relationship.  Grab your legal pad,” Jeremy said, sitting and gesturing across the desk to the man in his early 30s.  “Zach, this is Robert Chase.  He’s going to be our newest client.”

“Nice to meet you,” the two men said, extending the normal courtesies.

“So, uh, Robert, why don’t you start at the beginning,” Jeremy said, nodding at Zach to indicate that he should be prepared to take notes.

“Okay.  Um, I guess it started about five years ago.  I’d been going through a bit of dry spell since I’d broken up with my college girlfriend, and was having trouble meeting people, so I decided to try online dating.  I met this woman and we kind of began to hit it off online, so we decided to meet.”

“And she ended up being a dude?” Zach asked, looking up from his notepad.

“What? No.”

“Serial killer?”


“Russian kidney stealer?”


Zach thought for a few moments.  “Jewish?”

“What? No, of course not,” Robert Chase said.  “Besides, I’m Jewish.”

“Really?  With a name like Chase?”

“Zach, for the love of God, stop saying things before you get us both disbarred.”

“I’m not technically barred, so…”

“And you never will be if you keep saying anti-Semitic things,” Jeremy said.  He paused for a moment.  “Shit, that was anti-Semitic, wasn’t it?”

“No,” Robert Chase shook his head, while Zach simultaneously nodded, “A little.”

“Anyway, continue.”

“Right,” Robert said, repositioning himself in his seat.  “So, we meet, and things go well.  Like, really well.  After a couple of months, we decide to move in together.  I should mention, at this point, that she has a kid.”

“Knew it,” Zach said.  “I knew there was a catch.”

“No, it wasn’t a catch.  It was just…” Robert sighed.  “The kid was fine.  At first.  After I moved in, however, he started to develop some disciplinary problems.  I don’t know if it was me, or if he just happened to hit that age, but he was getting out of control.  That’s at least a big part of the reason.”

“Reason?” Jeremy said.

“That I think I’m going to leave her.”

“Okay, back up.  You said this was five years ago?  What happened in the interim?”

“Oh, right.  So, as his behavior got worse and worse, we decided we had to do something.  Well, she did, but I can’t act like I wasn’t part of the decision.  Maybe we thought it was right, maybe we just wanted him gone, whatever.  The point is that we sent him to military school.”


“Now he’s back.  And he’s kind of creeping me out.”  Robert leaned across the table and whispered, “I think military school turned him into a killer.”

“Isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?”

“No, like, the way he acts is kind of hard and detached.  Distant.  And I keep finding dead animals around the house.  Small stuff, rodents mostly, but still.”

“Ah, you mean the bad kind of killer.  Got you.”

“Right,” Robert said, taking a deep breath.  “There’s a lot of other things, as well, between me and her, but I think I want to leave her.”

“Okay, but I’m not a relationship counselor here.  I can’t tell you what to do,” Jeremy said.  “And, from what you’ve told me, you aren’t married, and the kid isn’t yours.  It sounds like the house is hers, since you moved in with her, so I’m not seeing a whole lot in the way of shared assets.  What’s the problem?”

“Oh, right.  So when I moved in, I didn’t have a bank account.”

“You were how old at the time?”

“Anyway, I figured since she was paying the bills, and we were splitting things like groceries and cable, I’d just have my paycheck deposited into her account.  So, that’s what I don’t know what to do about.”

“Okay, so you call your HR department and switch to paper checks or whatever bullshit cash card scam they’re offering now.  They can help better than I can.  Or, here’s a real shocker of an idea, you could open your own bank account like an adult and have the money put in there.”

“Right.  I’ve already done all that.”

“Okay.”  Jeremy shrugged.  “So, why are we here?”

“I need to know how to get my money from her account.  The money I already deposited.”

Jeremy laughed.  “Robert, you don’t have any money in her account.  It’s her account.  You gave her your money when you put it in there.  It’s hers.”

“Can’t you do something?”

“Not really.  Between the fact that everything is in her name, that you gave her the money willingly, and that it was for shared expenses, even if we could, there’d be no way to tell how much is hers or yours.  You’re pretty much up boned creek.”

“So, what do you advise?”

“That you split up as amicably as possible.  And, maybe, try asking super, super nice.  Maybe she’ll be reasonable.  Other than that, in the future, don’t give your money to people you’re sleeping with.”

“Unless they’re prostitutes.”

“God. Damnit. Zach.”




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.”