Legal Widow

They invited the Lawyer to play in the firm’s five-a-side league. It was carnage. The Lawyer managed to break three fingers (not his own), his watch and the opposing team’s goalpost, after which he was taken to hospital with concussion. I had foolishly taken Deminimus along to watch, and had to spend most of the time with my hand over his eyes, as the Lawyer yet again disgraced the name of British sport. He swore a lot, and because he’s not too clever with his feet, he tends to barge and then argue. Even as he was stretchered away we could hear him shouting “Referee!” and pointing to the blood on his shirt as evidence that the goalpost should be sent off.
“This is what comes of playing too many computer games,” I told Deminimus. “The real thing hurts. And I would have booked him after that last tackle but one. They’ll never want him back.”
“You say that, Mum,” said Deminimus, the pocket philosopher, “but even David Beckham made England captain in the end.” And then, huffily: “And their son gets to wear football shirts all the time.”
Sure enough, the Lawyer was invited back for the next match. “Aye aye,” I thought, “they’ll be wanting something, then.” Not according to the Lawyer, who went out and bought a couple of books on team tactics and dynamic leadership to celebrate, even though he’d had to miss four presentations that week because his eyes looked like someone had taken a crowbar to them. His chargeable hours dwindled to almost zero, and he had to convince his head of department that browsing the Manchester United website was practice development before he was let out for the night.
At the weekend he had the children lined up in the garden and practised dribbling around them, although Subbie showed him that merely sticking her little leg out could send him flying. Then he put Liability in goal and kicked balls straight at her. Luckily, she has the highest pain threshold known to humankind (as the other children in kindergarten have found out – no amount of hair-tugging or eye-poking will unlock her jaws once she’s clamped on to an offending three-year-old; generally, they have to turn on the hose to blast her off). Finally, he and Deminimus practised flipping their shirt fronts up over their heads. “I’m ready for the big time,” he told me.
The team captain is the Lawyer’s new assistant, a likely lad named Marcus who is already into double figures in terms of seducing staff, having chalked up even the fearsome Noelene in litigation, who has been known to thump a partner who gave her photocopying to do after 5.25pm. Marcus sidled up to the Lawyer five minutes before kick-off, when Deminimus, roped in as team physio, was still taking him through stretching and pummelling his thighs.
“Small favour to ask: you wouldn’t give us your desk, would you?” he asked.
It was as if the Lawyer had been asked for his kidney. “Give you my what?”
“Your desk. That’s worth a place in the team, surely?”
The Lawyer’s desk is by the window, with a view of the City’s skyline and all of those people living life rather than being stuck in an office. It is also hidden from the rest of the office, and so the managing partner can never catch him playing Tekkon over the web. The Lawyer would probably rather lose a kidney.
“You can stuff your football team,” he told Marcus, and promptly went home and loaded Championship Manager 3. “Playing with the big boys now,” he told me.