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by S.W. Lauden

Yesterday’s lies are still clinging to the blue-grey walls when I walk in. I slap my briefcase onto the table and slump into a wobbly chair. Two guards out in the hallway are talking about boxing. I hate them almost as much as I hate my client.

I don’t care if he’s guilty, but his dead eyes keep me up at night. He’s weighing his options inside that twisted brain of his, planning to do it again once he’s free. And I’m the guy who’s supposed to get him out.

Life’s funny like that. One day you’re a bleeding heart law student with Robin Hood dreams, and thirty years later you’re a celebrity lawyer. The press nicknamed me “The Snake,” thanks to my shaved head and a slight lisp. But my clients call me when they’re out of options.

I remember when this idiot was a snot-nosed kid crashing golf carts for fun at the country club. Now he’s twenty years old and facing life in prison for vehicular manslaughter. Talk about irony.

The high-end call girl in the passenger seat was a real knock out, until the windshield chewed her up and spit her out. What a waste of good talent.

He’s been in shock ever since. Or at least that’s the story we’re telling. She was already dead when he turned the wheel that night. It was the only plan his cocaine-ridden brain could come up with after strangling her.

My skin crawls as a guard leads him in. This scrawny punk wouldn’t last a minute in general population.

“Did you get the coroner’s report or what?”

I wait until we’re alone before answering.

“They ruled it an accidental death. You can thank your father for that.”

“Exactly. So when do I get out?”

“Any day now. Sit down.”

“Don’t tell me what to do. I’m the boss here.”

I’m too exhausted to remind him that I work for daddy.

“It’ll go quicker if you sit.”

He plops down with a smirk. His manacles are so loose that they almost slip off. There isn’t a single person in this shithole who isn’t for sale.

I pop my briefcase open, push aside an envelope full of cash and set a document down in front of him.

“You should review this.”

“What is it?”

“Your statement. Need me to explain it?”

“That’s what I pay you for.”

I stand up and walk around behind him. He’s scanning the page, trying to make sense of the legalese. I lock my forearm around his neck and pull it tight with my other hand. He claws at my arms, thrashing as I whisper in his ear.

“Of all the hookers in Los Angeles, you had to kill my favorite one.”

His body goes limp and slouches. I toss the cash onto the table. The guards will make this look like prisoner violence. And who knows? Maybe I’ll get to represent the poor slob they pin it on.


S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Flash Fiction Offensive, Criminal Element, Akashic Books and Crimespree Magazine. His novella, Crosswise, will be published in 2015. He is now a regular contributor of audio fiction at Out of the Gutter Online.

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