Legal Widow

The Lawyer is preparing for the equity interview, a daunting task he compares to trying to make a group of pirates, who have never shown the slightest bit of interest in the people who row their boat, so enthusiastic about one single galley slave that they share out the treasure with him.

You wonder why the pirates go to the trouble of asking any of the sweating underlings, toiling away half-naked in the darkened fug of the rowdeck, if they’d like to step up to the poop and put on a big plumed hat and wear a hook like all the other senior crew. Perhaps they just want a few more people to throw in front of the cannons.

“You there! Recently freed slave number eight! Just step over that there gunwale and take that enemy frigate for us, would you? She’s called HMS Takeprivate – a nice little earner if ever I saw one. And see about HMS IT Project, hard on her stern! Don’t let the damn Frenchies take them!” (The damn Frenchie pirates being, I imagine, the great buccaneer Clifford le Chance or those pesky twins Alain et Ovairé.) Actually, the pirates ask the rowboys to go into those sort of battles all the time, and they don’t have special fancy hats or hooks at all, so the Lawyer is losing sight of why anybody would want to make him up to equity and is getting very down about it.

“Attrition,” I said. “At least three of them die every year due to golfing accidents or Beef Wellington overdoses and they need new people to sit and look interested while the managing partner outlines his latest vision for the firm: “More attacking, more doubloons, throw some of the slaves over the side and get the others to work harder, get a few of the damn Frenchies to jump ship to your side, persuade the surprisingly dim European pirates to hand their boats over to you and sail off to the Bahamas for a quick break if you’ve got time before you’re 55.” Plus they need your money, of course.

“Well, I’d only be borrowing it from the firm anyway,” said the Lawyer.

“Ah, but it makes you so much less likely to jump over to the damn Frenchies’ side,” I pointed out.

“I’m not sure the damn Frenchies want any former galley slaves at the moment.”

“Cheer up, Dad,” said Deminimus. “You want to start thinking like a pirate. You don’t want them seeing galley slave written all over your face. The first thing they’ll do is chuck you back down in the hold.”

The Lawyer imagined what it would be like to be a pirate. The plumed hat: they like flashy gear so he went out and bought two lilac shirts – a daring move for him. The wooden leg: sadly, he has no drink problem or messy affair going on, so has decided to portray himself as a workaholic instead. The swearing: being a mild-mannered man, he is severely lacking in this department, but he’s working on it. The pirate swagger: he managed to knock over two secretaries and the tea lady in one trip up the corridor the other day.

“It’s the pirate mentality – I’m not sure I have it,” he said recently.

“Recite the pirate mantra,” said Deminimus. “Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. Drink and the devil be done for the rest!”
“Goodness me, if that doesn’t sound like an equity vision statement, I don’t know what does!” said the Lawyer, and went off to practise.