On a stunningly perfect Friday afternoon, as the day was drawing to an early close, he sat sat down at the desk to finish up loose ends. In the background the news was on, providing both the distraction noise to remain focused, and the link to the world , just in case something happened.
That ‘just in case’ seemed to happen too often, but today it was unlikely. The client had been properly prepped, sufficiently warned, and fully medicated. The threats of leaving his employ landed hard, and with a thud, as the realization there was no other option at his disposal hit home.
He had been reluctant to make that threat, but these were desperate times. No other lawyers were returning calls even to consult for the client, on the strategy, let alone represent him publicly. He needed his client to abide by the direction. Losing this client would be losing a huge revenue stream, not to mention the promise of a windfall, but keeping him while not following advice would be worse.
Nothing more could be done today.
Answering emails he heard the drone of the voice boom through the speaker of the television. He looked over sideways, trying not to be fixated, and desperately needing to trust the speech would go as discussed.
It started slow, deliberate. The voice coming through was monotone, droning. The medication was working. The balanced approach was effective. As he paused, allowing the other man to speak, he nodded along, in step with his client, to very tune they had agreed upon. But the real test was about to start.
Uh oh, there was a stumble. Right out of the gate, the reporter wasn’t ready. The glint in his client’s eye could be felt from over 200 miles away, as if it were a dagger shooting straight through the camera. He knew in an instant the ice had cracked. Will his client realize? Will he have the awareness to tread carefully? Will he know not to jump on the crack?
After decades of partnership he knew the answer. It wasn’t a good one. He reached for his glass, and then for the scotch decanter. With one eye on the screen and the other flitting to the glass, he filled it slowly, almost drip by drip, hoping the sound of the filling glass would drown out the words spewing from his client’s mouth on national, no, international broadcasts. Words heard around the world, landing forcefully in the throat of the man watching.
He startled himself with the sound of the decanter being slammed on the desk. He had not realized he had used such force. That sound, well known in the legal industry as the legal translation of “oh for fuck’s sake, what now?” was now the reality he lived in.
He slumped back into his leather chair by the bookcase. Slowly topped off his scotch. After silently, sarcastically toasting the air, he drew it down at once.
Resigned to the current situation, he reached for the box hidden in the bookshelf, slid the barrels to the exact code that unlocked it. After checking each one carefully, and loading the gun with one of the bear tranquilizer vials, he repacked the case, and put it into his go bag.
After calling for his car, he let the house staff know he would be gone for the weekend, and headed out the front door to his waiting ride. As they trudged over in Friday afternoon midtown traffic to Penn Station to hop the Acela to DC, he texted his assistant to give away his tickets for Hamilton, again.
UPDATED: 6:15PM Based on new information
As the Acela pulled out of the station and began it’s journey to DC, he sat back in the seat, closed his eyes, trying to find some quiet in his mind, a little peace, in the forced moments of silence and disconnection due to the station and tunnels.
The peace was fleeting. Just as the sunlight shot through the window upon exiting the tunnel, the phone vibrating notifications started, pounding his leg as if it were being used for baby Lilliputian target practice. Oh for all shit, he said to himself, what now.
Combing through the series of news bytes, emails, texts, he saw the one that said his client was heading to his NJ property for the weekend. The loud curse let out involuntarily startled the otherwise quiet car.
After texting his beleaguered yet also soulless assistant, he put his head back, shut off his phone, and closed his eyes. The return ticket purchased, and he wouldn’t even have to leave the train. The car would be waiting for him when he arrived to take him to Bedminster.