Trustworthy Lawyers Are a Commodity

August 04, 2014: Sam Kathman is concerned for his client. As it turns out, his concerns weren't that far off base.

The Bronx



  • U. Samuel Kathman, Esq.
  • Ghetto kid

Mood Music:

"You're that guy, aren't you? The guy from the TV commercials?"

Sam Kathman was understandably hesitant coming to this neighborhood. He'd put away the flashy suit in favor of a plain shirt and necktie, but there wasn't a damn thing he could do about his face or the Lincoln he drove. The 6' 3" and 285 lbs. of muscle he'd brought along helped, but in this neighborhood, it was bound to happen sooner or later. He'd be pegged.

"It is you! I know it. Mister 'I didn't do it, let Sam Kathman prove it'!"

Sam shook his head toward the teenager accosting him. "Sorry, kid, you got me confused with someone else."

"No man, I seen your ads on the bus too. You all over the place." The teenager followed Sam up not one, but three flights of stairs, talking the whole way. "My dad was gonna hire you, but he couldn't afford it. Told me he a' been out of county three years ago if mama had forked over the cheddar to hire Sam Kathman."

"Well, son, if you're gonna pay the bills, you gotta charge a steep price."

"That's what dad said too, but they got him for trafficking. Said he could'a plea'd down to misdemeanor, but the public defender got a thing against n—"

Sam winced, interrupting the teenager before the slur could find its feet. "Listen, kid, I'd give you a friggin' autograph, but then I'm risking identity theft after you sell it for a few adderol pills. So why don't you go on home to your Playstation 2, okay? I got a client to meet, and I don't have time to play fucking latchkey!"

The kid frowned, momentarily stalled. "You're meeting someone? Here? Listen, man, this ain't the nicest part of the Bronx, I say you oughta—"

"I think you oughta make yourself scarce," snapped Kathman, "before I find out where your mama lives and get her nailed for neglecting a minor! I can personally vouch that they don't do co-ed at county, and the glorious State of New York doesn't exactly have a prime track record with handling wards of the state!"

The teenager, mollified, went scampering back downstairs and out the front door.

The peace and quiet was fleeting, for the sounds of a drunk man yelling at his wife greeted him on the sixth floor. He muttered a curse and quietly double-timed it up to the top floor of that charming hellhole, admittedly shocked not to find any cockroach corpses underfoot. He knew very well that this particular block was almost entirely Section 8 with an occupancy rate of 34%, and the only clients he managed to secure from this area were dealers. Dealers and, well, the client he was coming to meet.

After knocking four times, Sam exhaled a dramatic sigh and leaned close to the door jamb. "C'mon, man, open up! I didn't drive my ass all the way up here to find you passed out in a drunken st—"

Sam flinched as the door came whinging open.

"…upor." He sniffed the air twice, then his nose curled. "Mids? Really?"

"What do you want?" asked the Ghanaian.

"I want to talk."

Sam put out his hand to keep the door from slamming in his face. "No, Odame. We -need- to talk."


Sam Kathman often tried to remember why, exactly, he chose to become a lawyer. He was never the best student, in spite of the faith his instructors put in him. They said that, if he simply applied himself, he could be among America's finest.

Instead, he'd become the Cash Advance Clerk of the legal services industry; charging 778% APR to the chumps who'll pay it in order to offset losses. Losses caused by the assholes who default. Fucking crackheads. In many ways, he was playing Odame in a fiscal sense. The guy dropped an obscene amount of gelt to keep him on retainer, but Sam knew very well that Odame considered Sam more than a legal asset. He was connected to many of the area's biggest criminals, and we're not talking those nebbish fucks dodging child support, or the dope boys who carry too much and end up doing time in the penn.

Fisk's arrest and anticipated conviction was one thing. It had shaken up the entire criminal underworld. And yet, here's Odame, comfortable in his shoddy, run-down studio apartment, with a gigantic stack of cash serving as box springs under a cheap mattress. Acting as if it wasn't a big deal that he was a part of it all.

Sam leaned forward and set his client with a long expression. "It's not just the jobs, brother. Look, I can handle these little things like, you know, doing the housewife a favor by catching her husband sticking his shvanz in the maid's hiney, or dropping a bit of corporate espionage for P&G so they can make a better detergent than the other guy. That's fine, you know? Pad the bank account a little, get some stock options under greased paperwork, awesome. But you're starting to go off the deep end, man. Seriously starting to scare me! If you ever end up in court, I don't know -how- the hell I'm gonna get you off without getting dis-barred. And now you're out there making -extra- special enemies with the likes of Fisk and Dackleman?"

"I can handah Fisk and —"

"Can you handle S.H.I.E.L.D.?" spat Kathman.

That interjection served to shut Kwabena up. Sam found a small bit of accomplishment in it, but even speaking about S.H.I.E.L.D. out loud frayed his nerves. He stood up and began to pace the apartment, fidgeting with items as he patrolled the impossibly small joint.

"God! I can't believe I'm even -saying- this. Your apartment's probably bugged. Have you checked it for bugs? MY OFFICE is probably bugged, for fuck's sake!"

"I checked 'em fah bugs. Dere ah none."

Kathman rolled his eyes. "Oh. Great. You checked them. That's gonna let me sleep real cozy tonight, man."

The Ghanaian met Sam's sarcasm with a flat expression. It was the kind of thing that drove Kathman nuts.

"I can't handle this much longer, Kwabena." Sam walked back over and sat down across from the Ghanaian. "You're becoming a liability. Especially when you have the chutzpah to cram your nose into the collective ass holes of the Dackleman Empire. -Especially- when you get on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar for murdering some poor, innocent terrorist's wife in Zimbabwe."

"Kush," corrected Kwabena.

"Odame… I'm about this close to cutting you loose. Only reason I keep you around is because you pay well, and you do me 'certain favors' when I need 'em." Under his breath, Sam uttered, "Oy vey, I hope this place ain't bugged." Back to Kwabena, he shook his head. "Something bad's gonna come your way, man, I'm telling you, and I don't think your head's ready for it."

The attorney stood up and walked to the door. Before leaving, he turned back to face his client with a concerned frown. "Seriously man. Stick with busting cheating husbands."


The glow of a laptop lit Kathman's face. The flashing colors reflected off wide eyes, looking on as they watched the video that's steady going viral. He pauses the stream at a certain point, leans in close, and tries to identify the graphic pattern on the back side of a black leather jacket. It's so pixelated that he can't make it out, but… honestly, he doesn't need to. It's Eastham Square. It's the same block where his client lives.

Where Odame lives.

"I told you something bad was comin', you dumb, reckless son of a bitch."

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