Vol. 2, Issue 30, August 10, 2004
Called to Action Once Again
As those who know me can Attest, I am well past the Zestful years of my prime; and though Long did I ply my trade as Attorney and Public Defender, I have long since laid down my Brief-case. The gently frenetic Publishing trade is my Retirement, invigorating and Fulfilling in modest measures as Befits a man of my years and stature.
But once the sword of Justice is taken into hand, never does the thrill of Battle ever entirely leave the Blood: the thunderous clap of the Gavel, the booming call of "Oyez, Oyez," the soft golden Hue of Legal Pads: it is a Marvelous trade, made all the more satisfying in the knowledge that I was acting in the Public Good, working Rigorously to ensure that each of my Clients received a Full and Fair Trial. Moreover, they all appreciated my Attention to details such as making sure their Glasses were refreshed at regular Intervals during the trial from my own private Stock. (I am a man of Details, you see.)
And so I found myself stirred to the Quick when Elisabeth put through a Tele-Phone Call from one of my old Clients last week, Phineas Montgomery. Ah, dear old Phineas! A Gentleman of the old school indeed, always ready with the tip of a Hat and the twinkle of an Eye. That he happened to make his living by acquiring funds which did not Belong to him from various banking institutions was merely one of those unfortunate Quirks which Society frowns upon.
Now, Montgomery and I have quite a History. I have, in point of Fact, defended him not less than Nine Times in the past four decades: I have an entire Drawer dedicated to the man, and my brown Brief-case has really been devoted more or less Exclusively to his files since the Reagan Years. We've had a bit of bad Luck these past few cases - well, all nine times, actually - but something about this time was Different.
"Montgomery, old boy, what Mischief are you being accused of This time?" I inquired.
"Watley, it is an Entirely Spurious Case," he assured me. "I could not Possibly have carried the bags of money they are missing; as my Arthritis was acting up that day, and the Bank was quite Crowded. That policeman simply mistook me for another Chap, who dashed by me on the way out the Door. Besides, I was not There to begin with."
The tale he spun me then was of Unequalled literary merit; the man missed his Vocation indeed as one of the Great Story-tellers of our generation. Was it true? - No matter: Innocent until proven Guilty, by jingo! Quick - my brown Suit, the seersucker Spats, my Oaken walking-stick, my Amber pipe: the proper equipment was at Hand. I felt like an old stallion let loose once more upon the Race-track. Zounds, I had not realized I missed the thrill of Trial so much!
And thus I found myself Remiss in my editorial duties last week, for I was Thunderously Disclaiming to the jury about poor Montgomery; weaving tangled webs of Discourse and inescapable Logic about the witnesses and Opposing Council, a fresh-faced young Fellow whose name escapes me: the game was Afoot!
Alas, Montgomery and I are now ten for Ten, since it turns out this Particular banking establishment had some sort of Filming Apparatus concealed about its Premises. And I must say that Montgomery does cut a rather unmistakable Figure on the Movie-Screen. Technology - it shall be the Death of the Legal system, I tell you! Well, perhaps I shall have more luck the Eleventh time round, which I do not doubt is Coming. In the meanwhile, I shall return to my muttons and get back to the welcome distractions of Publishing. It is a much more Contemplative and, I think, Productive pursuit of Truth.