The Confluence Part 8

July 22nd, 2011 by Wordsman

You might not think that being late to a meaningless job is anything to be concerned about.  This is probably because you do not know a few key facts about Alexander Abrahamson, Esq.

The first is that Mr. Abrahamson was a morning person.  He had been an early riser for as long as he or his parents could remember—in fact, some believed that he had actually once gotten up before 4 AM on purpose.  He was the first to the office in the morning, which his colleagues often thought meant that he simply loved work.  This was not true.  Mr. Abrahamson loved getting work out of the way; to him there was no better comfort than finishing everything you have to do for the day before the sun has even started to think about setting.

The second is that Mr. Abrahamson, in his role as official supervisor of the summer clerks, was responsible for finding a way to evaluate their performance.  How do you rate the work of those who don’t do any work?  There were many possible options, including interviews, exams, mock trials, and bribes, but all of these involved going down to the 12th floor and spending time with the clerks, time he could be using to get his own work done.  So Mr. Abrahamson chose a method of evaluation that could be gotten out of the way quickly and early in the day: punctuality.  If you were in the office by eight, you were alright in his book.

The third is that Mr. Abrahamson, despite possessing a grandfatherly demeanor, was not someone you wanted to upset.  These days he spent little time in the courtroom, but the other partners loved to tell stories about how he had been the most feared prosecutor in the city in his youth.  Mr. Wachowsky had once told Peter that he was nicknamed “The Floodbringer” because of his ability to reduce witnesses, from widows to lifetime thugs who cracked heads for the mob, to tears in cross-examination.  The combination of alcohol and a very thick accent might have caused Peter to doubt this statement if it hadn’t been immediately—and somewhat fearfully—confirmed by everyone else sitting at the bar.

Peter didn’t have to check his phone for messages to know that his carpool was long gone.  Calling them at this point would be pointless.  Downtown Crescenton was a tangled web of  one-way streets that seemed like they had been designed to confound invaders rather than promote the flow of traffic.  Trying to turn around during the morning rush hour was like trying to reverse the rotation of the Earth by tying one end of a rope to your waist, the other end to a rock, and pulling.  He would have been better off trying to walk, though he would have had to have been an Olympic sprinter to have a chance of getting there by 8:00 on foot.

Fortunately, Peter was not in any mood to sit around and lament his fate.  He was still fired up from giving the Speech.  It was time for action.  Consequences could be considered later.  Looking could be done after the leap.  He was going to do something he had never done before.

He was going to take the subway to work.

Peter dashed back to his bedroom, seized his briefcase—which contained two legal pads, one blank and one full of largely regrettable attempts to compose poetry on the subject of boredom—and was out the door an instant before the digital microwave clock flipped over to 7:49.  His alarm clock, meanwhile, was learning something that has been true since the time of the ancient Greeks: those who try to mess with fate inevitably (and often circuitously) become those who carry out its will.

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