opens with Jack sitting behind a desk in a small dark office. The office is lit only by a small desk lamp. On either end of the desk is a stack of files, about two feet high. Jack is positioned between the two stacks but his head does not even reach halfway up the stacks, thus he is dwarfed by these files- they appear much more likely to do him in than vice versa. In between the stacks of files on the desk, Jack is working on an opened file, with a pencil in his right hand and his left hand supporting/massaging his forehead. In the foreground of the desk is a can of Diet Coke and a freshly lit cigarette in a small, round, black acrylic ash tray. Jack is wearing a white button down shirt with a red tie, loosened, and the sleeves rolled to forearms. The rest of the office, no more than 10-foot by 12-foot, is somewhat disheveled, though the mess is hard to really discern because of the darkness of the room. There are two empty chairs, a garbage pail overflowing with crumpled paper and a few dozen more files stacked on the floor of the office. There are no windows in the office.
How in the hell did it get to this? I have seventeen active files in this office and no less than ten of them are either already pending Bar complaints or will be in the next few weeks. Watson here says I owe her $2,000.00 back, Schwartz over there says $5,000.00…so does Mitchell. Rossen says I owe her like a hundred grand, but she's nuts. Unfortunately for her every time she opens up her mouth, she proves it.
I did pretty good work for Rossen, but there was just no making her happy. But, still, I should have gotten that paper from the court letting me withdraw from her case. It's like my old boss Ken used to say, "Jack, these clients will ruin you…you have to document EVERYTHING!" I didn't listen…well, actually I did listen, in fact, I listened good! My problem was I didn't follow through on his advice. When Rossen told me she wasn't willing to comply with my demands to her to remain as her lawyer, I did nothing. I was supposed to withdraw from her case but I did nothing. Now she lost her case with her new retard lawyer and she's screaming to the Bar that I abandoned her and cost her millions. She said she'll settle out of court for a hundred grand. Right, like I'm gonna give her a penny. Like I have a penny to give her
Mitchell, Schwartz, Watson, Daise, Johnson and Blackwood all have much stronger complaints against me. They ARE going to ruin me. Why didn't I just do a better job for them? Why did I lie to them about the work I was doing? Why did I spend their money without earning it first. Oh and Williams, how could I forget Williams?! ! This poor guy is a retired fire fighter who was just hoping to settle his dead sister's estate and share what little came of it with the rest of the siblings. Three years and thirty thousand misappropriated dollars later, I'm lucky if this file doesn't send me to jail.
It was not supposed to be like this. DAMMIT! I am good and talented and I really do care about people. Every time a client walks into my office and tells me their story, I know just how to help them. I outline these perfect case strategies in my head that for years produced great results. I know the law inside and out. I command a court room…energy…eloquence & #8230;passion…it all flows right out of me and right into the judge and jury. They become me by the time I am done. Why did I throw it all away? How in the hell did it get to this?
I can't blame anybody else. I have to take responsibility. Julie was a drug addict when I hired her, even if she was "in recovery." Things were great at first. We worked all day together, me teaching her the craft and her inspiring me to work harder and be better. Every now and then we would hang out after work and smoke down a joint ('cuz pot isn't a "real" drug), but we never 'hooked up.' After about six months, we (not me, we…it was always a team thing. Why do so many bosses not see this?)…where was I? Oh yeah, WE were making money hand over fist. All the clients were happy, new clients were breaking down the office door and throwing money at us. Basically, everyday was like Christmas.
Then it happened. A little over a year ago, Julie said one Friday while we were out to lunch, "We should hang out tonight and smoke crack. You would love it!" Looking back on it, wow…I can't believe I didn't run for the hills. I can't believe I said "Uh, ok…why not?" BECAUSE IT WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE AND DESTROY EVERYTHING YOU'VE WORKED SO HARD FOR JACK!!!! THAT'S WHY NOT!!! But I didn't see it like that. I saw in her a lonely little girl who was reaching out to me and hoping to make a genuine connection with another human being. I saw in me a total success who had managed pot and some pills without a problem for 10 years or more. Besides, I knew two or three fellas who smoke rock occasionally who functioned just fine. I'm big bad Jack, dammit! I can handle this.
Fast forward to the present...it doesn't seem like I am handling the crack too well. I "only" smoke now a couple of times a week. But the problem is, getting high on crack is an all day thing. It's hard to function the next day, too. The I get behind in work in my work. The problem is, I'm not making donuts for a living here. When I fall behind in my work, people's livelihood is jeopardized. They get nervous and they get pissed. My cell phone (which I always give out to clients because I'm such a white knight) starts blowing up. First, I apologize and make promises to work harder for them. Then I lie and say I've done the work when I haven't. When they keep calling, usually four to five times a day by now, I run. I can't take the heat…I need to escape from all of this, but how? I guess I'll just get high. That'll solve the problem for a little bit anyhow. So the cycle repeats itself, but the problems pile higher. So really, the cycle doesn't repeat itself, the cycle gets worse.
So how am I gonna live, how do I support myself, and Julie, for that matter? Clients give me initial retainers of $2,000.00 to $5,000.00 to work on their case for them. Sometimes insurance companies will entrust (with emphasis on the word trust) money to me on the client's behalf before they are entitled to it. So, since I'm not getting any work done and I'm just good enough at BS-ing to sign new clients, money keeps rolling in. Matter of fact, I just worked $3,500.00 out of Lopez yesterday.
The Bar has already asked for my client accounting files. I've delayed in turning them over, 'cuz when I do, I'm cooked. The gig will be up. I'll probably lose my license. Then what? Dear lord, what the hell will I do then? It's not that I'm a bad person. I really want to help these people…I just got caught up in something that is totally kicking my ass! I know I should start by…