Andrea, Attorney at Law
The Mad Dwarf: Part 2
Andrea and I strode out of the courthouse and onto the cobblestone street. We just barely jumped out of the way from a crazed buggy-driver, speeding recklessly down the road.
“Watch it, ya lugs!” The man yelled, a few pointed teeth showing to indicate he had some orc blood in him.
The wheel kicked up some dirty rainwater, splattering it all over my briefcase and onto Andrea’s stockings.
“Great,” she muttered and bent down to wipe it off with a handkerchief.
I turned my briefcase around, examined it with a frown, and then shrugged. It would probably get splattered again by the time we got back to Orenda & Frey headquarters, a few blocks up. It was late in the afternoon and the horse and buggy taxies, or Buggies as we call them downtown, would be out in strides taking the commuters back to their homes in the suburbs.
“So,” I said trying to break the awkward tension as we kept walking.
“So,” Andrea agreed. She nodded as if that was all that needed saying.
I persisted, however. “Didn’t go that well towards the end.”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “Ya think?”
I cleared my throat, trying to offer some comfort. “It was still incredible.” I lifted three fingers into the air and ticked them off. “One, you got a previously convicted half-troll off of kidnapping. Two, you had a judge with gnomish blood. And three, the charges were for kidnapping gnomes.” I looked at her expectantly.
“How does that matter?” She said eyes straight forward.
“How? I’ll tell you! I can’t believe you did it! Everyone thought he was going away for a long time!” I jumped excitedly in the air, my briefcase accidentally hitting a woman rushing down the street opposite of us. “Sorry,” I said over my shoulder, but then trotted to keep up with the ever-moving Andrea.
“And in the end, he was still put away.” She turned the corner, heading for an alley that let us cut through a block to the other side.
“It wasn’t your fault Tag went berserk. That has nothing to do with your ability to get a judge on your side.”
She huffed. “That judge is now my enemy forever. Next time I’m in his courtroom he may sentence a genuinely innocent person to jail just to spite me. You know how courtrooms work in this city.” She saw an opening in traffic after emerging from the alley and darted across the street.
I ran after, a Buggie almost clipping me and spraying more water onto my briefcase.
Andrea continued up the stairs to a tall brick building with giant scrolling letters reading Orenda & Frey LLP across the entrance way. I hurried up behind her, just barely grabbing the door as she let it close in my face.
“Andrea!” I yelled. She stopped short, and turned, irritated, towards me.
I had nothing to say. Andrea was right, the next time that judge had her in front of him, he would enact revenge for her old client’s behavior. “That judge’s arm was broken pretty badly!” I yelled while she began to storm away from me, “You probably won’t see him for a while!” She turned and started to walk up the flight of stairs towards our offices. “Maybe he won’t remember! He could be concussed!”
The next few days were not the easiest. Word had gotten around about Tag’s little fit, and everyone thought it was hysterical. Everyone but myself, Andrea and one other person: Orenda.
Orenda was one of the original founders of the firm, hence Orenda & Frey. Frey, the other founder, was long dead at this point. He had been power hungry, ruthless and a ‘skirt chaser’ as they say. After his death, Orenda took control of the company, fired all the, as she called them ‘hussies,' that Frey had hired and put the company into overdrive.
Now, just because Orenda got rid of all Frey’s frivolous hires did not mean her heart was any purer. She chased young men as intensely as Frey pursued young women. They were both power hungry and ruthless, which is why they partnered so well. No, the only difference between the two of them was Orenda did not, in any circumstance, mix business and pleasure. Pleasure was reserved for after hours, even if found on company property.
As one who expected only the best, when Orenda found out about Tag’s courtroom escapade, she was anything but enthused.
I had just opened the sandwich I had brought for lunch when I saw Andrea look up and mutter “Oh, no.” Our desks were pushed together in the small office we shared, with hers facing the door. When the door was open, the office had a beautiful view of the staircase that led down to our floor from the all the litigation and executive offices above.
“Wha?” I blurbed as I took a bite of my sandwich.
“Miss O.” Andrea gasped.
I choked, nearly spitting out the food in my mouth. Quickly, I swallowed, grabbing a cup of water to rinse my mouth out. I wrapped my sandwich up, opened the top drawer in my desk, and threw it in. I straightened my tie, plopped a pile of files in front of me and opened the first one, pretending to read. What I actually did was glance over at Andrea, trying to guess when Orenda would be walking in.
Suddenly, Andrea rose up. “Good afternoon, Miss O.”
I spun in my chair, knocking over the pile of papers in front of me onto the floor. “Afternoon, Miss O.!”
Orenda completely ignored me and stared at Andrea intently. “Ms. Selton, please follow me.” She gestured out the door with her hand.
Andrea put her fountain pen down, and said: “Of course, Miss O.” The two of them exited.
“Have a beautiful day!” I called out the door, but they ignored me and disappeared up the staircase. I shook my head, picking up all the spilled papers. “’A beautiful day,’ I’m such an idiot sometimes.”
I waited what felt like an eternity, alone in the office. I tapped my pen, looking over my shoulder for Andrea to appear. She was gone almost an hour by the time I heard her walk in behind me.
She looked a bit rough around the edges. Her eyes had narrowed, hair a bit out of place and her posture was not as straight as usual.
“Bad news?” I asked.
She sat down at her desk and let out a sigh. “A bit.”
A few seconds of silence passed. “Anything you can tell me?”
Andrea didn’t move.
“Uhh,” I began, and Andrea stood up and walked to the corner of the office. She opened our file cabinets of ‘open’ cases and searched through them. Seeing the record she wanted, she grabbed it and walked back over to me, tossing it onto my desk.
“That,” she said tapping her finger on the file, “is our punishment for not being able to control an uncontrollable troll.”
“Half-troll,” I corrected, but she continued.
“Miss O. seems to think that we let it happen on purpose. Just to be noticed, or that’s what she is saying. ‘You won the case, only to let your client destroy a courtroom, hurt the bailiffs, injure the judge and hold a reporter hostage,’ is what she said.”
“That guy was a reporter? Oh man, no wonder word spread so fast.”
“He didn’t write a story on it. He was too afraid Tag would eventually come after him if he ever gets out of jail.”
I chuckled. “Jokes on him, trolls can’t read. I doubt half-trolls can do much better.”
“The reporter was Orenda’s nephew.” Andrea looked at me expectantly.
“Yeah. What I said up there,” she nodded towards the stairs.
I leaned forward and grabbed the folder she pulled out. “So, what’s this case all about?”
“A dwarf who is in jail, for owning an unlicensed wand, claims it was planted on him.”
I began to look through the file. I remembered it coming across our desks a few months ago but filed it away when it after being reassigned to another team. “So, what's the problem? If he was framed, you find who framed him, a motive for framing and show the evidence. He’s in jail, which means the evidence was insufficient to prove innocence. Case closed, we don’t handle appeals.”
“The case was never closed, hence why it was filed under ‘open cases.'”
I shrugged. “Filing error? He’s in jail, which means he was sentenced and to get this case back into court means us appealing. Which we don’t do.”
Andrea sighed loudly and leaned in close to my face. She looked angry, so I shut up and let her speak. “He’s in jail because the dwarf is a maniac who unleashes mayhem whenever the prosecution scores a point on him. He is serving contempt of court jail time, not criminal jail time.”
We stared at each other, her nose inches from mine. When she saw the realization dawn in my eyes she moved away.
“So. Orenda wants us to handle a case where the client is almost guaranteed to flip out. Giving us strike two and one step closer to getting the ax.”
She shook her head. “No, this would give us strike three. Remember the faeries?”
My gut sank. I remembered the faeries. I never wanted to talk about the faeries again. “Oh. This is bad.”
“Yes. It’s bad.”