AN old converted loft apartment at the extreme nook of The Mill Hill Broadway was filled with nitid sun rays of a pleasant early-morning, a mild lavender fragrance and the girly guffaw. An elderly British woman, who preferred a reference as Grandma Hall, couldn't contain her happiness and kept expressing her gratitude to The Lord. In her arms rested her beloved granddaughter-Lisa, who had snuggled up in motherly embrace.
Grandma Hall was Lisa's mother, father and everything a family would mean to a person. Moreover, she was a proud educated woman with a lot of bad experiences in her Basket. With sour marriage, deceased daughter and no other heir to her throne, she had raised Lisa in her converted loft, for twenty long years, with all the love, care and guard. On routine days, Grandma Hall would roam around The Mill Hill Broadway tutoring the neighborhood kids and Lisa would stay in her bed, studying hard to beat the law exam finale, which lately seemed like a never-ending endeavour. Not that Lisa was complaining because of a book nerd that she was, she was more than eager to start her career, now that even financial aspects had turned challenging.
‘So the Day is finally here!’, Lisa thought. Today, Lisa had received an important letter, calling her for the final round interview for an opening of a Junior Associate at 'Spade & Wright'. In Lisa's opinion, she shouldn't have received the letter because she didn't think she deserved another round. However, she figured why she was called as she read the contents of the letter. The letter stated that the law firm had invited only those who lived in the nearest vicinity, despite their performances in previous interview rounds.
Considering that the interview was in the afternoon on the very same day, she had to get started for the day.
Lisa broke the chains of hugs, finally, and walked straight into the shower. All she could think of was the chance she had got to do something better for her not-yet-materialised career... A chance to finally be able to help those who can't afford to be legally heard. She remembered her grandmother telling her the stories about how giving her parents were. She wanted to be exactly like them but she admired her grandma’s sap... ‘warmth in heart and a lethal vigour in muscles to beat the crap out of bad people’, She smiled at the thought and nodded as that thought frilled her lips and she wanted to become all of it.
While tangled in her own thoughts, she hurriedly dressed up in her all-time-go-to navy blue blazer to match her trousers and white shirt. She dialed the number given on the Letter to inform that she would be attending the interview round and surprisingly ended up with an early schedule. She gulped down OJ with the butter-layered bread and stepped out of the apartment. For this special day, she had received enough allowance to hire a cab and she did exactly that.
When she reached at the square on 313 Roundway, she paid the bill and decided to walk a little to clear her thoughts before walking through the entrance of the glassy building of ‘Spade & Wright’. She was about to cross the road when a car dashed past her and hit the post box located next to the building of ‘Spade & Wright’, all the while scattering her portfolio down on to the pavement. In dilemma of whether to gather her documents first or to calm her angry nerves, she rushed towards the car to check on the driver but instead she heard a man yelling at her like a crazy clown from IT. Though his car seemed to be totaled, it seemed to Lisa as if the man had hit his head, not his car. He observed her from her tip to toe and blessed her with a lot of respectable terms, which Lisa mindlessly ignored.
"Are you okay?" Lisa asked with a concerned glance.
"Are you blind?" reverted the man, mostly sarcastically.
He glanced at a page of Lisa’s Portfolio, which had stuck underneath his right shoe and spit the words while pointing out at the glassy building. "You’re here for the interview, eh? ‘Spade & Wright’ won't even let you stand if the word reaches to its Board about how disrespectfully you behaved with Mr. Spade. Yet here you are, all ready to pounce and charge, eh?" All the while, he kept pointing at himself while referring to Mr. Spade and this made Lisa laugh.
Lisa laughed, a little too much according to the man, but she didn’t let him carry on with his sarcasm any further. "Are you claiming to be The Mr. Spade? Because if you are, you should indeed be charged with the identity theft! "
The man narrowed his eyes at her rebuttal and walked away towards the building, leaving his car and belongings 'as is where is'.
‘Well well, that’s how insanity looks like! ’, Lisa muttered under her breath and scoffed heavily before bending down to gather her scattered portfolio. She had to walk up to the extreme end of that road to gather a last page. When she was about to turn towards her way back, she heard a muffled cry. She observed her surroundings, glanced in both the directions but saw nothing.
‘I think I am going insane! ’ She suspired, blessed the soul of Mr. Fake Spade and walked up to the entrance of ‘Spade & Wright’. She observed the hall full of blazers and trousers and pencil skirts. The thought of such a huge competition narrowing down her chances of having a career with this firm startled her.
As she was about to pull the entrance doors and become part of that blazer-crowd, she heard the wailing again, this time more comprehensively sounding like ‘help’ and that was all Lisa’s brain needed to thoughtlessly follow the sound. She took a left turn towards an oddly vacant alley at the end of that road and what she saw was a replica of a horror movie scene. She spotted a girl being mercilessly dragged by couple of men into what looked like a small garage. The men had deep scars on their faces. One had it under his left eye and the other had plenty little burn marks alongside his profound jaw line. The set was perfect to voice her already built up temper, or at least that’s what she thought. She did exactly what Grandma Hall had taught her to do at such times of peril. Her friends from PD had gifted her a special Data Card for weird times and this wasn’t the first time she would be meddling into criminal’s affairs. Like a flex, she pulled out her cell and dialed 999 before putting the cell back in.
"Leave the girl alone…” She nearly screamed to catch the attention of the men, “…You wouldn't want an Assistant DA to be the witness to your crime, would you?"
The men stopped in their track and laughed at Lisa in a curt manner before spitting mouthful of blessings in an ugly accent. “Did’ya think we’d be scared? We can manage this trash and you in no matter of time! ” One with burn marks smirked while mouthing the threatening.
Lisa took a step forward and brought out her cell. “Well, then, before you manage ‘me’ and ‘her’, I must thank you for letting me record it all.” It was now her time to smirk as she saw the men stepping away from the garage.
“You shouldn’t have dared to challenge us, lady.” The men had a wicked smile on their faces and they had knives in their hands which had their frills covered with dried blood. “Now you will go down first.”
“Okay!” said Lisa and put her call on loudspeaker mode. She had played her last move and was a little afraid to contemplate a situation where these men wouldn’t care or would finish her before the force shows up. But the officer from the other end of the call had just finished ordering his subordinates to reach the crime scene and fortunately for Lisa, that did the trick. The men were shaking like a leaf stuck in a storm and took few steps back towards the garage. They shared a blank gaze which confirmed the fear that had surfaced with the orders they had heard on the call. After contemplating the situation and considering that the police vans might narrow down their escape routes, they ran back to the garage, pushed the girl out, ignited their boot and drove away.
“See’ya later.” Their last words kept echoing in Lisa’s mind but she knew that 99% of the times, those were just empty words of gutless arses.
Lisa cleared her mind and slowly paced towards the Girl. She inhaled sharply; as if falling short of air. She observed a 14 year old girl managing to stand up on her own two feet while softening the creases of her messy blue dress. Lisa attempted to wipe away the tears running down the cheeks of the girl but was shocked at the reaction when that girl pushed Lisa away and hurriedly marched towards the Crown Court.
Caught in a trance, Lisa stared at the slowly-disappearing figure of that girl and wondered why she would have reacted like that. She couldn't shake off from her mind the fragile frame of that girl who was shaking at the sight of those goons; as if she had seen Death. No matter what, Lisa couldn't shake off the scene she had just witnessed… and maybe voluntarily participated.
With a loud exhale and after realizing that the police vans were nearing, Lisa escaped the ‘scene’ and placed herself back on Lordship Lane. She adjusted her portfolio-document for the last time and glanced at the clock only to realise that she was late…
Hurriedly, she marched back to 'Spade & Wright' and almost hit the funny looking receptionist while stopping at the desk. She glanced at her surroundings and found that the reception looked remarkably hollow. ‘Nobody would believe that few minutes ago this was packed at its maximum capacity.’ She sighed at the thought.
"Ms. Hall, aren't you?" The receptionist inquired.
Lisa quickly nodded and handed over her Letter, which the receptionist casually threw away. "Excuse me?!"
Confused by her actions, Lisa bitterly glanced at her and picked up the letter.
"Cool it, young lady. You didn't make it on time. Interviews are over." The receptionist smirked, pity and arrogance flashing in her eyes. "You're the first ever to miss the Schedule, you know."
"You don't understand", Lisa huffed in anger," That girl in the alley needed help. She was yelling and you couldn't hear because you were sitting here…” Lisa glanced at the receptionist who was looking at her nails. ”…doing whatever, with your nails!"
This conversation was disrupted by a ring of the telephone strategically placed on huge wooden of the Reception Desk.
"Walk away pretty face! Before I scratch your shiny skin off of you! “, the receptionist spoke those words with certain disrespectful hand gesture before receiving the ringing line.
While Lisa could imagine that lady actually purring like a lousy cat, she stepped away from the desk.
Lisa wanted to have that interview appointment. She wanted to punish those men from back in that alley. She also wanted a fair match with the Receptionist. But Lisa was wise enough to understand that she had lost her chance of being part of this firm and a fight with this lousy kitten wouldn't get it back no matter how great her chances at winning that fight were! She had lost her fight, her dreams were scattered and she felt as if somebody has punched her in gut.
With a loud exhale and tears at bay, Lisa walked towards the exit with heavy heart. She felt as if those two men back at the Garage had crushed her dreams. She felt a void in her guts and she decided to set her tears free the moment she would step out of the building. Thoughts of what her grandma would think, how hurt would she feel clouded her mind. Lisa closed her eyes but she could feel every of her organ shutting down, as if they decided to call it a strike.
She was about to push open the doors when she heard the purring cat calling out her name, very loudly.
"What is it now?" Lisa inquired with sarcasm but she couldn’t hide her shaky voice. She had no strength to fight.. not atleast at this hour.
"Lucky one, aren’t you!” She snatched the letter from Lisa’s hand and started straightening its twisted creases.
This, with her organs on strike, confused Lisa to hell and she glanced at that receptionist as if she had seen a prisoner with mental conditions who had recently ran out of the asylum.
The receptionist nodded in negation, as if she could read Lisa’s thoughts. “One of the interviewee, who was selected for the Job, has been notified as a Fraud. Management wants a re-interview with every candidate and luckily you are here!” To cut the talk short, she pointed towards the interview room before scribbling something on the face of the letter and handing it over to Lisa. “Go, get that job and save me efforts of calling others, will ya?"
"Wow..." Lisa muttered, mostly sarcastically and walked in with letter in one hand and wildly beating heart in another. She sat through the question-and-answer session and she knew she would manage to impress the interviewers with her wide internship experience.
The interviewer initiated the proceedings, who by the way required no introduction but was humble enough to do so. "Ms. Hall, I am glad you are here. I am-"
"-Mr. Spade.” Lisa paused, only to receive a lifted eyebrow from the interviewer. Lisa cleared her throat to provide clarification to her excitement. "Oh… Everybody knows you. You are the most admired lawyer this decade have ever seen. I have read all of your articles and have watched all the interviews.”
This received a smile and a nod from the interviewer and Lisa was happy with her own self for getting a fan-girl moment and for her having a good start to the interview.
"So, it appears that you were late for your interview, no? " Asked the interviewer.
Lisa thought of apologizing and describing what she had witnessed but then decided to dodge the question instead. "Actually, I am glad I was late. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had such an opportunity." She asserted with smile and again received an approving nod from Mr. Spade.
The interview went on and on and she expressed her interest in handling pro-bono matters, which associates usually aren't very interested in. Her reason for the peculiar liking in such matters was sheer empathy towards the victims who cannot help themselves and protect their rights.
An hour later and after series of questions about her opinions on present enforcement and law system, she walked out of that glassy building with a job in hand and dreams in her eyes. She remembered Mr. Spade declaring that the interview had concluded. She remembered reaching late, fighting with the receptionist, recalling for interview, waiting in the reception lobby with sweaty palms and throbbing heart, and finally hearing the verdict that she was hired as a Junior Associate at ‘Spade & Wright’. The purring Receptionist even smiled at Lisa while delivering the news.
The first thing she did after hiring a taxi was calling her grandma to share the news.
Though her profile was mostly about patent filing, researching and handling Firm's pro-bono cases, she knew she would manage to get something more solid on her plate in a matter of time and her grandma hoped the same.
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