Lawyer for the Cat

Lawyer for the Cat by Lee Robinson Page B

Book: Lawyer for the Cat by Lee Robinson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lee Robinson
picking his nails. “ Nothing’s as easy as it used to be.”
    I almost ask him about his marriage, but catch myself. “Listen, I’ve got a deposition in ten minutes. Thanks for the heads-up on Randall Mackay.”
    â€œHow’s the dog?”
    â€œIt’s a cat.”
    â€œNo,” he says, “I mean the little schnauzer. Sherman.”
    â€œHe’s fine. Never thought I’d miss him so much.”
    â€œStill got that photo of him on your desk?”
    â€œYeah. It’s kind of silly, I guess.”
    â€œI don’t remember you ever having a picture of me on your desk.… Never mind, scratch that.” He follows me to the door. We shake hands. “Take care of yourself, Sally.”

    A Headache
    I’m stuck in late Friday afternoon traffic on my way to Tony’s, the dull throb of a headache starting at the base of my skull, when I hear myself talking to the cat. She’s on the seat beside me in her carrier, listening intently, as if there’s absolutely nothing unusual about having a human unleash all her frustrations, beginning with the disastrous Vernelle deposition, at which my client, an anesthesiologist, complained that the temporary child support was “breaking” him, while later admitting that he’d just bought a new Maserati because he “got a great deal on it.” The Maserati, of course, came as a surprise to me, despite our pre-deposition conference last week, during which we’d updated his financial declaration.
    And Beatrice endures an even louder rant, this one about my meeting with Derwood Carter, Natalie’s husband— Who does he think he is, talking to me like that ?
    I’d been prepared for his usual arrogance, his condescension, but I was naive to believe he might be coming to talk about compromise. Sure, he’d begun the conversation cordially enough, thanking me for this last-minute appointment, then taking my counterproposal from his coat pocket, unfolding it, and adjusting his reading glasses as if he meant to take it seriously. Then he’d said, his voice deliberately flat, devoid of emotion: “I just wanted to read this again before I throw it in that wastebasket.” He “read” my letter in three seconds, then wadded it into a ball and lobbed it over my head into the metal can in the corner behind my desk. I didn’t turn to look, but I knew he’d dunked it straight in.
    â€œI used to play center on the high school team,” he said. “Some skills you don’t lose.”
    â€œDo you want to play basketball, or settle this case?” I asked, trying to keep my cool. “Because I’m not interested in basketball unless it’s pro.”
    â€œAnother skill I haven’t lost,” he said, “is knowing my women.”
    â€œYour ‘women’? I guess that includes your court reporter.” The one who travels with him when he holds court away from Beaufort, whose hotel room almost always has a door that opens into his.
    â€œI was referring to Natalie, of course. And you. I know how Natalie operates, and it’s clear she isn’t going to tell you about her tryst with my old law partner. And I know how you think, so I’m assuming you believe her heavily edited story about our marriage. I thought I’d help you out with the facts before we begin any serious discussion about the terms of the settlement.”
    He then proceeded to read me the confession of his former law partner, an alcoholic completing the 12-step program. “You know they’re supposed to apologize to everyone they’ve hurt, right?” This well-meaning fellow’s letter to Derwood, dated two months ago, was tastefully brief but to the point: Fifteen years ago, when I told you our affair was over, that was true. But recently I succumbed to temptation again. I take full responsibility for this. As I trust Natalie has already told you, she

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