'The Murder of Jed Lombardo' is available to buy from Amazon.
‘What next for Lawyer Malloy?’ That’s the question on the lips of many of the city’s legal minds today. After the shambolic end to the trial of Sterne O’Sullivan, the attorney-cum-celebrity may struggle to find work among the elite he is used to representing. In fact, the gossip from Whitechapel this morning is that his upcoming defence of Lambert D’Aramitz has already been pulled.
-Fancy Withka, Montmartre Herald -
“Hi, I’m Lawyer Malloy, attorney at law. I don’t try cases, I win them.”
A flickering grey line of fuzz flashed across the chest of the speaker, and he froze in time. Suddenly, he began to move rapidly backward. He looked almost robotic as he jigged and wobbled in reverse motion. His wide, brilliant white grin looked unnatural as it appeared and disappeared in ways that facial muscles didn’t look like they should move. All of a sudden, the grey disappeared, and time clicked forward again.
“Hi, I’m Lawyer Malloy, attorney at law. I don’t try cases, I win them.”
The line of blinking static returned, and the man stopped abruptly on the television screen. A large, yellow phone number had appeared across the bottom of the screen, and now sat plastered across the man’s waist as he grinned and gestured above the offensively bright lettering.
The footage had been displayed on a large, but dated, television set in the corner of a large, equally dated apartment. It was the kind of room that immediately told you that the owner was very stylish in their own time, but now sat uncomfortably in the midst of a new generation. There was a lot of wood panelling the sort of setup that screamed 1970s high life. You know the kind.
It will come as no surprise that the apartment was owned by the man in the commercial; Lawyer Malloy. Or, to give him his full title, ‘Lawyer Malloy, attorney at law’. Actually, to give him his full title you probably needed to throw in a Cheshire cat grin, a wink and maybe even some finger guns on the end as a sign off. Although, technically speaking, that’s not actually part of his title, but it does help you to understand a bit more about Lawyer’s character.
Lawyer grew up as Albert Malloy, Jr. in the outskirts of New Shanghai, in the suburbs of central Petrograd. He was the kind of guy that changed his name by deed poll to Lawyer because he thought it was more memorable and would increase his chances of making it as a successful defence attorney. He was right, of course. Or maybe he wasn’t. But more on that later.
“You’re damn right, I win them,” Lawyer slurred as he slung the last drops from his glass of scotch down his throat. It was the fourth he had consumed that evening, and he had no intention of stopping any time soon.
He threw the remote controller down onto the couch beside him, and hoisted himself up to his feet. He was a far cry from the man stood like a statue on the television screen. The slicked back, dark brown hair had been replaced by a lank ponytail hanging down to his shoulder. The immaculate facial hair replaced by tufts of grey in an unseemly forest across the bottom third of his face. That fine physique? No, that had gone too. Less of a six pack, more of a keg.
He stretched his arms to the ceiling and yawned loudly, whilst taking a look around his apartment. The walls were adorned with photographs of a younger, cleaner Malloy shaking hands with a variety of influential former clients. Mayor Turtle Tomassi; successfully defended for links to the Tomassi family crime syndicate, and specifically the murder of Tony ‘Terrapin’ Gianni. Hollwywood actor, Younes Algarve; successfully defended despite being found in his sports car on the Montmarte Boulevard with four ounces of catnip under the passenger seat, and another split between the dashboard and his whiskers. Wall Street mogul Harvey Hallastar; embezzlement. Fashion designer Polly Browne-Goode; fraud and assault. Presidential aide Kyle Lucille; battery. The list was endless. Until it ended.
Lawyer had a pretty fantastic reputation as a defence attorney. If you were guilty, you went to see Malloy. All of a sudden, maybe you weren’t so guilty anymore. Of course, Lawyer had always maintained a squeaky clean public persona. He was outwardly adamant that he only represented the innocent, and that his clients only appeared guilty because of the media attention on their cases. He was the best, there was no doubting that.
He had actually become something of a celebrity in his own right. His showmanship in the courtroom was the stuff of legend, and the tabloids ate it up. Before long, he was stepping out with the beautiful people of the city, splashed across newspapers and appearing in gossip column. A book deal soon followed, with Lawyer to pen a semi-fictitious account of an attorney’s rise to superstardom. There was even talk of a reality TV show: Meeting up with the Malloys in which cameras would follow Lawyer and his extended family – all of whom would be played by actors, of course – through various trials and tribulations.
But that was all a long time ago now. No new photographs had been added to his collection in some time. The show was pulled, the book deals disappeared, and the clients dried up. All because of that son of a bitch Sterne O’Sullivan.
Sterne had been the star quarterback for the Düsseldorf Dolphins, a two time MVP and the owner of three championship rings. He had been the anthropomorphic poster boy, the pin up of the equality movement. With his shaggy blonde hair and perfectly chiselled complexion, Sterne O’Sullivan was the name on everyone’s lips, and the face on the inside of everyone’s lockers.
When he murdered his fiancée he called Lawyer. As they all did.
Sterne’s fiancée had been Flora Clayborne, child star all grown up. She’d first appeared on Broadway at the age of eleven playing the titular character Shelley in Laetitia Jameela van Nifterick’s world renowned musical of the same name. She’d been a firm fixture on television sets across the nation since her early teens, and was the darling of the nation. People had grown up with her, you know? She was familiar, like a child of the people. Everybody loved her. Even that kind of person who likes to seem different, even those people secretly loved Flora Clayborne.
When Flora and Sterne first got together the press went wild. The small town boy making it big and the everyman’s daughter. It was perfect. After the engagement there was pandemonium. People loved it. It was front page news.
Then came the murder. Sterne was as guilty as they come; if he hadn’t been, he would never have called Lawyer to represent him. Lawyer had managed to sway public opinion pretty quickly, convincing the masses that it had been some tragic, grisly accident. He’d done a fine job of that case, a damn fine job. Lawyer had it on good authority that the jury were going to return a not guilty verdict. It was to be his crowning jewel.
That was until Sterne threw himself and his attorney under the bus and confessed. It had been a bloody scandal.
There were appeals, there were retrials, all because Lawyer’s reputation had been shot, and his clean image shredded. The press had a field day. The tabloid presses love to build people up just to knock them down, and Lawyer’s case was no different. They had created the superstar by plastering him across their rags, and they could destroy him too. He was public enemy number one, well, number two really, after Sterne. Although Sterne had at least saved face by confessing.
After such a public spectacle, Lawyer’s career fell apart. His whole reputation was built upon defending the truly innocent. When it came out that he had not only known that Sterne had murdered Flora, but also helped conjure up the cover up? Well, it was curtains for him. His integrity was in tatters. Okay, so he never really had any integrity in the first place, but jurors weren’t meant to know that! Oh, and Sterne got the lethal injection too. Who said dolphins were smart?
That was three years ago. Lawyer hadn’t had a high profile case since. Hell, in the past eighteen months he hadn’t had a low profile case either. He’d even had to fire his assistant, Clarence. Sure, Lawyer had tried to keep Clarence on, but it turns out legal aides aren’t huge fans of doing the washing up for their boss for shitty money.
Lawyer staggered across the room to the drinks cabinet. It was a typically kitsch looking item. It looked like the sort of thing that someone who didn’t really understand retro, but loved the idea of being retro, would buy. It was wooden, obviously. Most things in his home were. The cabinet was encased in a large bookcase that spread the length of the wall. The shelves were filled with VCRs disguised as books, as Lawyer felt that it made him look more intelligent to display hard back spines than any of the dodgy titles hidden within.
Lawyer pulled the door of the cabinet down from the handle at the top, and looked longingly at the wonders within. The back of the cabinet was panelled with mirrors, and a small disco ball style light hung from above, dangling between the various half-finished bottles of liquor. Lawyer poured himself his fifth glass of scotch of the evening. The bottle he’d been working his way through was pretty much done, so he shook it vigorously, ensuring the last few droplets of amber liquid reached his desperate tongue.
He chucked the contents of the glass down his throat, not pausing to savour the taste. He sucked his teeth as the sweet, burning sensation worked its way down his throat and into his chest. Lawyer took a step backward and stumbled. Perhaps five was enough for tonight.
He checked his watch. It was only two forty five. There was probably just about time for one more.