Chance of a lifetime
Thomas turned around and opened his eyes in surprise. Martin Brooke himself, owner of WELO corporation was standing in front of him.
„I´ve heard about your succes“ said Brooke. „Everyone has thought that the case was hopeless, no-one has had any doubt about the accused´s guilt. But somehow, you made it. Congratulations.“
„Er, Ok, thank you very much“ replied Thomas but Brooke went on.
„You know, I was kind of surprised to find out, that the best lawyer of my company is still working as a regular employee in a department that is run by... er, what´s his name?
„Wilhelm“ said Thomas
„Yeah, him. I´ve never heard of him and yet he is my best lawyer´s boss. So I have decided to name you my personal law assistant. I believe you won´t fail me. So what do you say we go to play some golf, let´s say, this Saturday? We will discuss your career and...
„Tom, wake up man!“
„What, what´s up?“ Thomas looked up and saw Dave, his coworker.
„You fell asleep again. Come on, d´you want Wilhelm to fire you? You know all this rubbish he says – „Order and Discipline!““ he called with an exaggerated stress on first syllables. Thomas couldn´t help himself laughing, but Dave just gave him some papers, said something about Jeff asking for help and he was gone.
Thomas sighed. He liked Dave because of his sense for humour but sometimes he just wished his friend was more responsible. Often he made promises he couldn´t have kept and it was usually Thomas that had to do his work.
„Oh come on“ Thomas told himself. He knew Dave was allright, it was himself who was worthless. He looked at his ID.
Junior Solicitor assistant
He has worked at WELO for three years and he still hasn´t moved up from a position of a Junior assistant. Oh, it all looked so pretty back at high school – „I´ll become a lawyer, and in no time I am going to be covered in money.“ But Thomas still didn´t feel completely hopeless. He thought that he could yet prove his worth, but the problem was that nobody ever gave him any severe cases. All he needed was one big chance, but it never came.
He was full of melancholy on his way home. Home? He doesn´t even have a home. He lives at his brother´s place along with his pregnant sister-in-law. He was twenty-nine years old and still he had no house of his own.
When Thomas left subway, he looked in shock at his mobile phone. Six unanswered calls? And all of them in Willhelm. That couldn´t have been good. When he called back, Willhelm answered in a few seconds.
„Hello, Tom, where are you now? On your way home? Please, come here immediately. I really need your help now. Richard is on holiday at Florida, Jeff is somehow unable to answer his call and I am not crazy enough to ask Dave. Come here now.“
Thomas looked at his phone in disbelief. He didn´t know what to think, he´s never heard Willhelm that upset. Willhelm was usually a cool-headed stoic. Thomas knew that if he ignored his boss, Willhelm would have no trouble in firing him. „Something like that could happen only to me“ sighed Thomas and went back on to WELO.
When he arrived, his boss was already waiting for him at a reception.
„Look, you have to help me“ said Wilhelm. „I have a friend, his name is James McCarthy. He is a normal guy, no criminal. He asked me to find him a job, so I pulled some strings and now he is a watcher at WELO. You might have noticed him, a red haired guy from Ireland? No? Never mind. The guy was allright, but yesterday he got drunk and had a fight at a pub. And he is the kind of guy that carries a knife. So now, James is locked in a cell for a manslaughter. I know that a few years ago, he was tried for some rioting. But can you imagine what would happen if we was locked up? I guess that even Brooke would be interested, asking who had recommended him, and how is it possible for him to be employed at WELO with a criminal record. So he would fire me in no time.“
Thomas felt sorry for his boss, but yet he wasn´t entiraly sure about what was he supposed to do. Meanwhile, Willhelm went on.
„The assize is going to happen in three weeks, so we don´t have much time. You will be James´ advocate, ok? If you get him out of it, you´ll live in a paradise. I will make you my personal assistant, I will raise your wage, you´ll get a company-owned vehicle, I´ll find you a decent apartment somewhere near here, but please, you have to help us.
When Thomas went home, Steve and his wife were surprised for him to come so late, but when they heard the reason, they were thrilled.
„Man, a car and an apartment?“ laughed Steve. „I think that I am going to regret not applying for a law school.“
Helen was more fascinated by Willhelm´s belief in Thomas.
„Wow, Tom, he´s had a choice of all these lawyers at WELO, but he chose you! That´s great!
Tom just didn´t have the heart to tell his sister-in-law „You know, he had a choice of about four lawyers and I was his last pick“, he liked Helen too much for that. So he just mumbled something agreeable and went to bed.
Next day, Willhelm let Thomas leave the department two hours earlier, which Dave glossed with „I think I am going to sleep at job too“. Nevertheless, Thomas knew that his boss had a reason to do him a favour, so he went to the stockade to meet James.
James didn´t look too likeable. He was nearly 7 foot high, and obviously he gained in muscles what he lost in brain. He kept saying „I didn´t want to, I was as drunk as lord and he kept provoking me, so I pulled out my knife, y´ know, and so did he, so I just had to, and I don´t wanna end in jail.
Thomas has spent next three weeks preparing for a defensive speech, but he still didn´t enter the courtrooom lighthearted. After the public prosecutor´s speech, Thomas wished he wouldn´t be there. Yet when the time of a defender´s speech came, Thomas cleared his throat and started to talk.
„James McCarthy, accused of manslaughter is discharged!“ The sentence still resonated in Thomas´ ears a few hour later, while celebrating with both James and Wilhelm. Thomas knew the time of his triumph has come, and he looked forward to enjoying it.
Following days were truly a paradise for Thomas. Alhough Willhelm exaggerated a bit about his promises, he has fulfilled most of them. Thomas was enjoying the position of Wilhelm´s assistant, people started to give him cases and he finally didn´t feel like an idiot. He liked his new job much more than the paperwork he was doing before, but still some people were very jealous of his succes. Thomas didn´t feel much confortable about that, but Dave proved to be a really honest friend by telling him „What are you complaining about? They ignored you before because you were a loser, now they don´t like you because you are a star. Do you have a problem with it?“ Thomas couldn´t remember last time he was so happy. It seemed to him that all his dreams suddenly came true.
After about a month, Thomas received a message from his brother, asking him to immidietaly come. Thomas had no idea why, but he went there nevertheless. When he arrived, Steve had a very strange expression. His face was still, but it was covered in tears.
„Helen is at a hospital, she is badly wounded. She... she has a chance of survival, but...“
Thomas felt paralyzed, he tried to think of something which could cheer his brother up, but he knew too well how great was the love between Steve and Helen. Before he could say anything, his brother went on and his expression moved from a sad one to a spiteful one.
„She went shopping, and she was ran over at a pedestrian crossing by some bloody mercedes. The driver had drunk about eight beers before driving. It was some James McCarthy. Sounds familiar?“