Lawyer meets client for the first time

Her client’s file was open in front of her. Mrs. Christine Lavinia Goodenough. Aged fifty-two. Whatever figure the woman might once have had was now a shapeless mass and her greying hair appeared to have been styled in a poodle parlour. She laid her fleshy hands on her handbag, which she had placed possessively on her lap, as if she did not trust Carly, and had a look of total affront on her face.

It was rarely the big things that destroyed a marriage, Carly thought. It wasn’t so much the husband — or the wife — having an affair. Marriage could often survive problems like that. It was often more the small things, with the tipping point being something really petty. Such as the one the woman in front of her now revealed.

“I’ve been thinking since last week. Quite apart from his snoring, which he flatly refuses to acknowledge, it’s the way he pees at night,” she said, grimacing as she said the word. “He does it deliberately to irritate me.”

Carly widened her eyes…

“How do you mean, deliberately?” she asked.

“He pees straight into the water, making a terrible splashing sound. At precisely two o’clock every morning. Then he does it again at four. If he were considerate, he’d pee against the porcelain, around the sides, wouldn’t he?”

…”Would he?” she replied. “Do you really think so?”

Although Carly made her money for the firm in dealing with matrimonial work, she always tried to dissuade her clients from litigation through the court. She got much more satisfaction from helping them negotiate resolutions to their problems.

“Perhaps he’s just tired and not able to concentrate on where he is aiming?”

“Tired? He does it deliberately. That’s why God gave men willies, isn’t it? So they can aim direct where they’re pissing.”

Well, God really thought of everything, didn’t he?

Though she was tempted to say it, instead Carly advised, “I think you might find that hard to get across in your hearing.”

“That’s coz judges are all blokes with little willies, aren’t they?”

Carly stared at the woman, trying to maintain her professional integrity — and neutrality. But she was rapidly coming to the conclusion that if she was this cow’s husband, she would long ago have tried to murder her.

Not the right attitude, she knew. But sod it.

— From Dead Man’s Grip, by Peter James


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