"Law Story"
by Pat Lambe


A brief letter to the Senate sub-committee extolling the virtues of my lawyer and personal friend, Axel Neuterbaum, detailing his credentials for consideration to the position of Supreme Court Justice.

The respect I harbor for Axel Neutorbaum in my litigious weary soul knows no bounds. At this point it seems impossible to me that I had the fortune to make his acquaintance through the medium of his humble yellow phone directory ad.

Of course, it was years later when he admitted that he had paid a premium to a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey to develop the pheromone additive that made his advertisement so popular. The method he used to distribute the pheromones to a large percentage of the telephone directories in the tri state area is still under a court ordered seal, and he will not even divulge the secret to me, his highest profile client.

I detailed the particulars of my upcoming civil law suite during our initial meeting. Over twenty years ago, I was working my way through Miskatonic University's demanding animal husbandry school. I hitchhiked to the west coast and secured a summer job with an ichthyologist engaged in the study of great white sharks. One of the projects I worked on that fated summer was the attachment of a high-resolution video recording device to the fin of a young great white, which was subsequently returned to its natural environment. I signed my name in indelible ink, along with the disclaimer 'If you can read this, you're probably today's special on the menu' on the waterproof case that contained the camera. Ah, youthful folly.

I hitchhiked back to Ole Miss U and resumed my studies. As I flowered into my delicate, yet touchingly virile manhood, the small creature we had tagged grew into a monstrous behemoth, nearly twenty feet of tail propelled teeth with a liver the size of a Volkswagen.

My recollections of these events came back to me when I received a package in the mail from one Denton Fisk, a research scientist who studied the ocean depths via a camera device hooked to the back of a trained sea lion named Queequeg. Enclosed with this package was a short video clip which showed a much younger me, holding a beer can in one hand and what some would say appears to be a joint in the other. (I, of course, insist that this was a harmless piece of candy, cleverly disguised as a joint. If anyone disputes this assertion you can contact my attorney [hopefully via the Supreme Court]) The youthful me stumbles up to the camera, gives it a kiss on it's 'face', places the candy and beer on the sand while he is turning around, and pulls down his pants to moon the camera which had been attached to the shark only seconds before.

Along with the package was a legal letter that advised me that I was being sued for a huge sum of money because my video equipped shark had killed and eaten Queequeg, whose care, maintenance and training costs I was now liable for; as well as court costs and a compensatory package for both Dr. Fisk, whose whole career was tied to the shark aborted project, and Queegueg's trainer, who thought of the sea lion as the son he had lost in a bizarre spear fishing accident.

Axel's eyes seemed to momentarily turn into dollar signs when I finished relating this story to him. "We're both going to be rich."

I didn't think so; because of the second video tape, whose contents were spliced together from Quegueg's camera, recovered by a Eskimo on a seal hunting expedition, and from the camera which had been taken of the shark after it had been found entangled in a protective net that lied clandestinely off the coast of Melbourne. I thought the story lackluster, and the voiced over narrative provided by Fisk was wooden with a strangely insipid delivery, but the plot was all too coherent. The two video accounts meshed with the story. The shark had lunched on Quequeg, and it looked like I was going to pick up the bill.

Axel told me to liquidate all my capital, because we were going to need every available cent to hire professionals; ictopsychologists, handwriting experts, video analysis, oceanographers, etc. etc. He told me to think of this lawsuit as a capital investment, which should be pursued with vigor and perseverance.

When Axel was through with the case, I was a rich man, and the possessor of an exciting new career as a professional litigant. He had his experts convince the judge that my poor shark -mentally unstable because of his endangered species status- had been provoked by the irresponsible sea lion into a pre-emptive act of self-defense, which resulted in a host of psychological damage, outlined and explained by our expert ictopsychologist. We also went after the country of Australia for their flagrant disregard of my American registered shark's rights to fish in international waters; my lawyer's scrupulous research discovered that the offending net used to catch my shark was set outside their territorial limits.

After that, he defended me in my unfortunate class action paternity suit, using simple mathematics as the basis for my defense. He counted up the numbers of woman who claimed I had fathered their children and he plugged this number into a complicated formula, arriving at the numerical conclusion that I would have to impregnate three woman a day since my tenth birthday to be the legitimate father of each of my alleged bastards. He then acted as a witness, accounting to the months I had spent in his presence during the much publicized white shark trial, which occupied a good portion of the last five years. Most of the unfortunate babies involved in the litigation were under five years old; thus proving that it would be theoretically and actually impossible for me to have serviced all of the woman involved in the case.

After this victory, our friendship was sealed. We vacationed in Europe, and I can still remember the look on that poor British Guard’s face as he wiped greenish tinged semen out of his funny looking hat after Axel had won our impromptu 'who is the ugliest American’ contest.

Axel got his start cleaning up other people’s messes early. When he was six or seven, growing up in rural Roswell New Mexico, a lazy army MP once paid him (enough to invest in a large bag of marbles) to clean up a field full of weird metal that almost felt like water. He slept under a tree, his white metal helmet tilted to cover his eyes from the hot sun and Axel's curious gaze. Axel, always the suave entrepreneur, even at that delicate young age, parlayed the bag of marbles into an impressive, but short lived career as a professional marble player. He toured the west in his parent's wooden station wagon to the far-flung marble competitions until his mother convinced his father that he was driving the boy too hard, and forced him to give up the game. During this time, however, Axel secretly had his lawyer declare him an independent minor. He then sued his parents for wages lost because they forced him to quit the lucrative marble profession. After observing his lawyer in action, he decided to take up the legal profession and he has been practicing since his early graduation from law school. (He subsequently sued his lawyer for corrupting the morals of a minor, for emancipating him at too young an age, but this is another story.)

Watching him practice law was much like watching a champeen football coach on the sidelines, especially when his grateful clients would pour the cooler full of lemonade over his head after a successful or particularly moving summation. The audio device he wore in his ear connected him to his headquarters, where an army of technicians worked his computerized legal network with the intensity, dedication, and professionalism rarely seen outside of an Indianapolis 500 pit crew. He was repeatedly electrocuted when the lemonade formed a conduit with the audio device, but he considered these painful jolts as a kind of necessary wake up call as crucial to his legal functions as his ubiquitous brief case.

He was always accompanied by his phalanx of assistants, each one trained for a specialized legal function. He would half jokingly call his staff the Ant Farm. He had a usually docile kangaroo named Emily who would routinely carry his carefully documented evidence in its pouch. No judge would risk Axel's legal wrath by insinuating that a trained kangaroo didn't have its place in court. Unfortunately, the poor creature acquired an acute case of rabies from one of Axel's client's pit bulls. Even the prosecuting attorney's eyes filled up with tears when Axel led the kangaroo's replacement, a trained llama and lemur team, into court after the marsupial's demise.

He would never pass up an opportunity to recruit a member of one of his competition's staff. Of course, this would often result in unwarranted charges of kidnapping and coercion, and Axel naturally had an assistant whose full time job was to deal with these groundless charges. Besides, after a few weeks of debriefing, his dull-eyed recruits would always deny, in a strangely lifeless monotone, that they had been taken against their will.

He would use any method to intimidate his opposition. He would practice his only hobby, sumo wrestling, on a mat he would bring to court, in front of the judge's desk during break time with a member of his staff; trained in both law and the ancient art of sumo. The New York Courthouse, in recognition of his contributions to modern jurisprudence, and as a testament to his enormous girth, had a reinforced chair specially constructed and air-lifted by helicopter to his accustomed place in the Courtroom.

He took a lot of flak for the methods he employed to brief his witnesses. The words medieval and Pavlovian often cropped up in connection to this aspect of his practice, and more than one witness took the stand with embarrassing welt marks covering a respectable proportion of their bodies and unexplained drool accumulating at the corners of their mouths.

Not all of his clients were as happy with his services as I was. Scarcely a week would go by without the rapport of his pearl handled revolvers ringing out it some courthouse or other. Axel was never convicted of killing anyone, although he once spent a night in jail for shooting a Californian judge during a tumultuous side bar session. It was only after the body of the judge was thoroughly searched by the FBI, and their findings, an automatic rifle equipped with a laser scope and a barely coherent letter composed of letters cut out from magazines, confirmed Axel's suspicions that the judge was, and I quote; 'out to get him'. Axel's subsequent lawsuit bough in the then controversial ruling that allowed attorneys the option of bringing their own metal detectors to all meetings in judge’s chambers. And Axel would never step into a courtroom after this incident without the judge submitting to a pre trial search of their voluminous robes and a full cavity search performed by his legal expert in sodomy law.

His skills were not limited to the legal profession and people still talk about the time, during his brief tenure as a prosecutor, when he performed an emergency appendectomy, assisted by his kangaroo, with a letter opener his only medical instrument and the judge's admonition to the jury the only anesthesia, on a felon he had moments before helped sentenced to death.

He had his troubles with the IRS when they came after him for not paying taxes for over ten years. They scoffed at his assertions that he was not a lawyer, but a priest, and his practice not a legal business but a religious institution. He asserted that the court was his church, the jury, judge, and clients his parish, the legal profession his vocation, a holy call from god. When they brought up some problems about the division between church and state, Axel filed a change of venue writ to have the case heard in the Vatican. When this writ was finally approved, he had the venue moved to the decaying temples at Angor in Cambodia. When that writ went through he issued another one for a change of venue to the black stone at Mecca. Troubles with Islamic fundamentals effectively squashed the writ, and the IRS's frivolous lawsuit.

The rumors of ill health that plague him are totally unfounded. True he has had a pacemaker installed recently; a beautifully designed piece of machinery, an elegant Bauhaus knock off that Axel had to be physically restrained from wearing outside his body in a specially designed 'display case'. And his new liver was once deployed by a particularly intelligent, almost eloquent baboon, whose signed depositions often graced Axel's summations. But Axel remains a hearty specimen, virile and imposing despite these minor prosthesis devices and organ transplants.

In conclusion, I can only stress that the small amount of money the public will have to pay to admit Axel into the Supreme Court will be repaid tenfold by his wisdom, perseverance and grace. I can think of no better man to take up the position held previously by such luminaries as Monroe, Reinquist, Marshal and all the other great men and woman who held the title, Justice of the Supreme court of the United States.

Signed Monroe McCFenrie, world renowned professional litigant.


About the Author:
New Jersey was ripped out of Pangaea, along with the rest of the United States, 135 million years ago during the Jurassic period. I was deposited on New Jersey in 1966. Despite our age difference, we've had a pretty good relationship. I work as a telephone tech and write crime fiction. You can read the first two chapters of my novel Carlisle's Marker at Allan Guthries's Noir Originals. I have short stories published or coming out soon on the web at at Plots with Guns, Shots Magazine, Crime Scene and Hardluck Stories and in print at Crimespree Magazine. Please visit my web site at http://patlambe.com.

Email: patlambe@patlambe.com