Excerpt from chapter 4

A jangling of keys woke Jack and he sat up as he heard the key being turned in the lock. His entire body was aching due to the uncomfortable bed-like concrete he had slept on. Officer Hoffman walked in and after he had asked Jack how he had slept, he told him he had a visitor. “Who?” Asked Jack while stretching his arms. “His name is Henry Weiss, he says he’s your lawyer.” Hoffman said. “He’s not,” Jack answered through a yawn. “What do you mean?” said Hoffman looking a little confused. Jack got up and stretched his legs while answering: “He’s my family’s lawyer. Why do you think it took him all night to get here?” “I don’t.” stuttered Hoffman. “He was with my father,” Jack said now looking Hoffman straight in the eyes. “He was with my father to discuss what he wants to do, before he came to me. He probably has some kind of deal in mind.” Then Jack turned away from the officer and put his hand in his pocket. Then he remembered that the jailer had taken all his possessions and he turned back to Hoffman. “Could you get me my cigarettes, please?” He asked. Hoffman smiled while groping in his own pockets. “No I can’t.” he said with a slight smile. “But I can give you one.” He handed Jack a cigarette and offered him his lighter while he said: “So, does that mean you don’t want to see him?” Jack looked up and contemplated his answer before he gave it: “I’ll see him. But tell him to bring more cigarettes.” Hoffman gave him a quizzical look so jack explained: “You must have spend time taking to lawyers, right?” Hoffman nodded. “Then you should know,” Jack continued smiling. “A stiff drink is required.” Hoffman grinned. “But seeing how you will not be able to get me that, a cigarette is the least.” Hoffman grinned and left the cell.

It quite some time before Hoffman came back and took jack out into the hallway. “Why did it take so long?” Jack asked. Hoffman grinned again and answered: “Your request took a while.” It was Jack’s turn to look quizzical. “He needed to run down to the gas station to get you a smoke. Jack laughed out loud as they walked down the hall. As Hoffman put his hand on the handle of a door Jack stopped him. “Could you do me a favor?” he asked. Hoffman turned and said that a drink was really out of the question. Jack grinned at him and said: “No, could you handcuff me?” Hoffman looked slightly taken aback. “I’ve never had a prisoner ask me to cuff him. So can I ask why?” Jack nodded while Hoffman got his cuffs out and said: “If it looks like you take this very serious, he’ll be a little more sympathetic.” Hoffman closed the handcuffs around Jack’s wrists and said over his shoulder: “Has anyone ever told you you’re to smart for your own good.” Jack smiled at him as he made to open the door again and said: “Most people call it manipulative.” Hoffman paused for a second time and mumbled: “I’m a cop.” Jack had to suppress a grin as the door finally opened. Officer Hoffman led him into a small room in which there stood a table and two metal chairs. In one of the chairs sat a small balding man in an expensive looking suit. He veered up as Jack and officer Hoffman entered. He made a tutting noise as he saw the handcuffs. “Is that really necessary, officer?” he said as he looked at Hoffman. “We take this case very seriously, counsellor.” He answered with a straight face. “Well,” the lawyer said looking a little perturbed. “Could you take them off for the duration of our talk, please?” Hoffman nodded and did as he was asked. Jack rubbed his wrists dramatically, and the lawyer asked him if he was ok. The truth was that he was perfectly fine. He had rubbed his wrists because he’d seen people do it in the movies, but he wasn’t going to tell him that. So instead he just shrugged.

Henry Weiss had been a lawyer his entire life, as his father and grandfather had been before. All of them had worked, as Henry did now, for this one family. Before his father retired Henry had spent some time in New York city, working for the District-attorneys office. He had worked on all sorts of cases but his favourites had always been the ‘organized crime’ cases. When he returned home to take over his fathers duties as a family lawyer, his father had joked that this work would be very similar. But now he would work for the mafia, instead of fighting them. Henry had laughed at this. He was a few years older now, and had seen why his father had made the joke. The eldest member of the family had been a United States Senator when his father had worked for him. When Henry worked for him he had been a Governor and a writer, both things had landed Henry plenty of work. This mans son was a doctor and a psychotherapist, now director of an institute for the ‘mentally unstable’. This had meant even more law-related work for Henry. And now the youngest family member was sitting across from him in a police station. This boy had been the reason Henry had so little hair left. He was always getting himself into trouble. Not that Henry had ever been to a court for him, there had been some near misses. When this boy was fourteen he had burned 100 copies of his principals’ newly published book on the schoolyard. While leading a protest that stated the book to be racist and that it reflected badly on him and his fellow students. Then when he was 16 he had stolen a 12-foot high statue from his school’s lawn. Leaving a letter that stated the statue paid tribute to a save trader. Henry had to settle the matter by paying off the new principal, and no one had ever found the statue. The last time, two years ago, Henry had gotten a phone call from the local judge; warning him that his client had sued his new school. After Henry had smoothed it all over the boy had told him that all-boys schools were un-constitutional, and he had been fighting injustice. Although Henry had always liked this boy and had always understood why he did the things he did. He had always feared that this boy would, one day, go too far. And here they sat: in a police station.

 

Henry sighed as he sat down. “Jackson,” he said while nodding at the boy. “Henry,” Jack answered with a similar nod. “I would like you to call me Mr. Weiss or councillor, while we are here, please.” Henry said without looking at Jack. “No, I don’t think I will, Hénry.” Jack said and placed extra emphasis on the name. “Why not?” Henry asked curtly. “Because,” Jack said in a calm voice, “I fear we might soon be sitting in a room, were I will be forced to refer to you as ‘opposing council.’ So let’s keep this meeting informal, shall we?” Henry chuckled at this and opened his briefcase. “Don’t be ridiculous. You don’t honestly think your father would press charges?” Jack grimaced at this so Henry continued: “I spend the entire morning with him, and he is very angry. But he knows that both of you did not mean what you did or said.” Jack smiled an evil smile but before he could speak Henry continued: “I’ve brought you another gift.” He took a packet of cigarettes out of his briefcase and slid them, together with a matchbook, across the table. Jack nodded in thanks and started smoking. “You know that is really bad for you, right?” Henry mumbled. “Why don’t you give it up? You’ll live longer.” Jack grinned at him. “My dear Henry, I won’t live longer. It will just seem longer.” Henry smiled and shook his head before saying: “You father would like it if you came home.” Jack considered this for a moment and then asked: “What if I don’t want to?” Henry frowned and answered: “surely you don’t want to stay here?” “If you compare this to the punishment he has in store for me I think I’d rather,” Henry but Jack off by saying: “If you stay here there will be a trial. You will be accused of assault and perhaps even battery.” Jack puffed out a large cloud of smoke and said more to the ceiling that to Henry: “That almost sounds serious.” “It is serious!” Henry almost yelled at him. “You could face some severe punishment!” “Such as?” Jack asked again speaking to the ceiling. “Such as prison, and a large fine! Remember Jack; you’re not a minor anymore. This could turn nasty.” Jack said nothing but kept staring at the ceiling. “That is why,” Henry continued in a calmer voice. “Your father has agreed to something else.” Jack snorted as his eyes snapped back to Henry’s face. “I bet he has.” Jack said. “What is it?” Henry sighed again and pulled some papers out of his briefcase. He nodded at them after sliding them under Jack’s nose. “What is this?” Jack asked as he looked at the top sheet. “A contract.” Jack snorted again. “A contract to what? Stop me beating his ass like a little girl?” Jack asked sarcastically. “No,” Henry answered while rolling his eyes. “It’s a work contract.” Jack did not know what to say to this so Henry continued. “It’s a temporary contract in which you agree to work for your father during the time his hand heals.” Jack looked even more confused and asked slowly: “Carry his briefcase, make him coffee and serve him breakfast?” “Excuse me,” Henry answered as he flipped to the second page of the contract. “I meant: work for your fathers hospital.”

 

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