Legal Widow

Subjudice picked an extraordinary time to ask for her first mobile phone – just three days after a girl at her school was mugged for her Nokia. There she was at the bus stop, dreaming of how to make Destiny’s Child outfits with a pair of scissors and a can of glitter spray, when three older girls, allegedly from the local comp, did her over. Scandal in the school, much comparing of tariffs, concluding that Pay as You Go was the best for damage limitation in such a crisis.
Naturally, the Lawyer put up a struggle.
“You’re not having a mobile.”
“Why not?”
“You’re too young. You wouldn’t know how to use it.”
This is dangerous ground, because the Lawyer at 40-something is still unsure about message retrieval, so he passed swiftly on.
“I’m not having you wearing out your thumbs texting.”
“You only say that because you don’t know how to do it.”
“U r rong. I do 2,” he said, but the joke was lost on her.
“Anyway, that’s snake.”
“Snake. It’s a game.”
The Lawyer was stunned to find he’d had games on his mobile phone all this time and had failed to find them. More extraordinary, that the Stasi in the personnel department had failed to lift them off the phone before giving it to him.
“Anyway, who’s going to pay for it?”
Subjudice gave him her most withering stare, for possession of a mobile phone is now considered one of life’s necessities, along with school skiing trips and birthday discos, and there is no question – ever – of who pays for those.
“All right,” said the Lawyer. “Let’s do this properly. Find the best deal and sell it to me. And then I might think about it. For your birthday.”
“Christmas. I might not make my next birthday. Childhood is a very dangerous time. Meningitis, abduction…”
“All right! Christmas,” said the Lawyer.
While Liability and Deminimus made visual aids – mobile phones constructed out of washing-up liquid bottles – Subjudice downloaded tariffs and logos from the internet and taught herself Powerpoint. On Sunday evening we sat before the Lawyer’s laptop as she walked us through the presentation which sold us a three-way package with mobiles for all our children, customised logos and ring tones, international roaming, unlimited texting and message retrieval, with six-monthly upgrades on equipment. Deminimus and Liability waved their plastic bottles about and the Lawyer sat there, open-mouthed.
“What’s it going to be, Daddy?” asked Subjudice, tapping her foot.
“You haven’t said anything about cost,” the Lawyer pointed out.
Subjudice reluctantly clicked to the last slide, and the Lawyer screamed.
“Do you think this is what it feels like to be a client?” he asked, as I brought him round with a wet dishcloth.
“Of course, the details are all open to negotiation,” Subjudice began, but the Lawyer cut her off by putting it out to tender.
As Subjudice retired from the field crying, the Lawyer commented, “Good presentation,” punching a hole in a baked bean can. “But I’m very disappointed with the pricing regimes they teach nowadays.”