The Called Part 14

May 27th, 2011 by Wordsman

What is the purpose of a summer law clerk?  Peter devoted much of his time to trying to answer this question, at least when he wasn’t on YouTube or playing Minesweeper.  “To gain experience,” his academic advisor had told him.  It sounded good on paper, but the primary field in which he was gaining experience was wasting time, and, as a typical American suburbanite, he had been an expert in that field since high school.

Mr. Abrahamson, a partner and the official supervisor of the summer clerks, said it was all about schmoozing.  The only way to get ahead in business is through your connections, so a clerk’s most important job was meeting people.  Peter did meet people, at dinners with clients or at Happy Hour on Fridays.  Unfortunately, these events typically involved free drinks and old bombasts like Wachowsky, who eclipsed lesser personalities like a heavy metal concert next to a poetry recital, so he couldn’t be sure how many of the people he met remembered him.

Mostly he interacted with his fellow clerks, and he didn’t even know them that well.  They carpooled every day, but it wasn’t the best opportunity to strike up a conversation.  Driving in downtown Crescenton during rush hour is a harrowing experience, comparable to skiing a double black diamond course on a mountain made of pure ice, without skis.  It requires full concentration.  Other than that, his main opportunity to get to know them was in the regular baseball tournaments, and baseball wasn’t Peter’s game.  He didn’t like to lose, and he especially didn’t like to lose when the bet was that you had to buy the winner’s lunch.  Peter couldn’t even afford one Surf ‘n’ Turf Special; two was out of the question.

To be fair, he had only been doing the job for two weeks.  Presumably any hidden meaning would not reveal itself until he had been there for at least a month.  Still, he felt unsatisfied.  And on this particular day, he chose to voice his dissatisfaction to the empty Clerk Cage: “I feel like there’s something missing from my life.”

There was one person in the city of Crescenton who would have been overjoyed to hear those words.  Unfortunately, whatever other fantastic talents she may have possessed, being able to understand softly spoken phrases from three miles away and through layers and layers of concrete was not one of them.  And, after all she had been through, it was amazing that she still bothered to listen to anyone at all.

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