My Job Is Murder

My Job Is Murder.jpgEd. note: Welcome to ATL’s first foray into serial fiction. “My Job Is Murder,” a mystery set in a D.C. appellate boutique, will appear one chapter at a time, M-W-F, over the next few weeks. Prior installments appear here; please read them first.
The author, a former appellate lawyer, wishes to emphasize that any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Except for the geeky stuff. Appellate lawyers really are that geeky.
Susanna Dokupil can be reached by email at sdokupil@sbcglobal.net or on Facebook.

Back at the office, Tyler reached for his case file. A yellow Post-It note on top read “Drinks at 5 p.m. Solstice. K.”
Tyler instantly e-mailed Katarina one word: Yes.
Then he noticed an e-mail from the managing partner announcing cuts in the recruiting budget. No reimbursements for associate lunches with summers. The firm has, however, negotiated a deal with Solstice such that all recruiting meals eaten there and paid for by corporate credit card are still fully reimbursable up to $7.00 per person. Tyler groaned audibly. Having to eat well-presented-yet-unflavored food every day was his personal hell.
An e-mail from Katarina appeared! His heart pounded as he read her reply: “?” He read it again and mentally administered severe self-flagellation for a divination attempt gone badly awry! Tyler wished vainly for a time reversal spell to recall that e-mail. Seeing none, he instead replied, “What is the answer to which the question is ‘dinner tonight?'” He crossed his fingers.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “My Job Is Murder: Of Fainting and Failing”

My Job Is Murder.jpgEd. note: Welcome to ATL’s first foray into serial fiction. “My Job Is Murder,” a mystery set in a D.C. appellate boutique firm, will appear one chapter at a time, M-W-F, over the next few weeks. Prior installments appear here; please read them first.
The author, a former appellate lawyer, wishes to emphasize that any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Except for the geeky stuff. Appellate lawyers really are that geeky.
Susanna Dokupil can be reached by email at sdokupil@sbcglobal.net or on Facebook.

The waiter’s arrival with their food gave him a few moments reprieve. Mark and Alex had cheeseburgers with dill havarti and fries served in a tall silver cone with a trio of condiments: ketchup, barbeque, and honey mustard. Katarina had a chicken caesar, but with the chicken strips stacked like Lincoln Logs. What nonsense, thought Tyler. Then his pepperoni pizza arrived — in five small round pizzettes stacked vertically at one-inch intervals on a braced skewer.
“Leaning Tower of Pizza, get it?” the waiter asked. Katarina laughed. Tyler was not amused, however, as he now had to eat this edible architectural marvel politely in front of his co-workers.
As Tyler mentally debated the question of hands v. utensils, Spencer walked up with his own lunch entourage. Class: New Partner. Intelligence: High. Top of his class at University of Virginia. Charisma: average. Alignment: Hard work. Spencer had no time for alignments. He was too busy billing. Experience Points: ~3500? Spencer had been a rising star since the day he set foot in the firm as a summer associate, and no one was surprised when he made partner the first year he was up.
Spencer skipped the usual round of introductions and went straight to Mark. “Veronica’s suing the firm,” he said grimly.
Veronica, Tyler knew, was an associate who had recently lateraled to another firm after learning she was unlikely to make partner. Standards were higher in this economy. Class: 7. Experience points: 2200/yr, but low Intelligence. Charisma: Above average. She wasn’t Tyler’s type, but he knew her reputation among the firm’s bachelors.
“What, she didn’t make partner because she’s a woman?” asked Mark.
“No, she’d never make that shtick. Sexual harassment. By Dick Schlosh.” said Spencer.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “My Job Is Murder: Of Lunch and Lawsuits”

My Job Is Murder.jpgEd. note: Welcome to ATL’s first foray into serial fiction. “My Job Is Murder,” a mystery set in a D.C. appellate boutique firm, will appear one chapter at a time, M-W-F, over the next few weeks. The first chapter appears here; please read it first.
The author, a former appellate lawyer, wishes to emphasize that any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Except for the geeky stuff. Appellate lawyers really are that geeky.
Susanna Dokupil can be reached by email at sdokupil@sbcglobal.net or on Facebook.

Tyler headed down to the firm lobby to meet Mark and the 2L summer associates: Katarina from Harvard and Alex from University of Chicago. He knew Mark would want to go to Solstice, the trendy new restaurant in the basement of their building. Mark was efficient like that. Experience Points: about 2700/yr, very respectable.
Tyler hated Solstice. Overpriced, overpresented, and underflavored. But the name, he thought, was fitting. Every day in this building was the longest day of the year.
The elevator reached its destination with a bit of a thud. Mark, Katarina, and Alex were already waiting for him. Mark waved him over. “We were just thinking of going to Solstice,” he said. “Sure,” said Tyler, suppressing an eye roll.
He had met Alex before. Class: Summer Associate. Level: 1. High Intelligence, moderate Charisma. Experience Points: perhaps 50? Alignment: Lawful good. He had quickly developed a reputation as an incredibly nice guy.
And then there was Katarina. Class: Sorceress! Level: 1. Clad in the standard 2L-clone-just-bought-lightweight-wool-dark-suit uniform. But summer associates were well advised to stand out for their work quality rather than their appearance, so her choice probably indicated decent judgment. Something about her, however, exuded a certain geekiness.
“This is Tyler. He also went to Harvard, and then he clerked for Judge Pyrrha on the Fifteenth Circuit.” Mark broke in helpfully.
“Oh, I heard her speak at Harvard last year on the original understanding of the Ninth Amendment. She was amazing,” Katarina replied.
Alignment: Libertarian.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “My Job Is Murder: Of Solstice and Summer Associates”


My Job Is Murder.jpgEd. note: Welcome to ATL’s first foray into serial fiction. “My Job Is Murder,” a mystery set in a D.C. appellate boutique firm, will appear one chapter at a time, M-W-F, over the next few weeks.
The author, a former appellate lawyer, wishes to emphasize that any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Except for the geeky stuff. Appellate lawyers really are that geeky.
Susanna Dokupil can be reached by email at sdokupil@sbcglobal.net or on Facebook.

Tyler got onto the elevator and pressed the button marked 13. As the doors closed, he looked down at the golden manacles that signified his position as an associate. He must survive the tower another day, he thought. Only 657 more days until he paid off his student loans — that is, if he stuck to his budget. Until then, Tyler must serve out his apprenticeship as a squire to the knights of the realm, ensuring that the knights had the proper weapons for jousting with opposing counsel.
He reached his sparsely furnished cell in the law offices of MakoProphet, a D.C. appellate boutique, and turned on his +6 vorpal laptop. Tyler had a tendency to let his imagination wander. He scored high on Intelligence and Dexterity, but less so on Strength and Charisma. Tyler had spent — or rather misspent — the better portion of his youth immersed in fantasy fiction, various strategy games, SimWhatever, or some combination of the above. He tended to view the world in game terms. It helped him break down the complexities of real-life interactions into understandable bits to compensate for his obvious lack of social skills.
Tyler’s voicemail light was blinking. It was a message from his secretary, Jill. The firm’s travel office wanted him to fly from D.C. to New York through Cleveland in order to use some preferred airline. He imagined Jill talking to Patty and Selma from The Simpsons. Class: Bureaucrat. Level: Five. Hit Points: About a million. Bureaucrats were generally impossible to kill and not worth the effort. Better to work around them. He had his secretary research alternatives.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “My Job Is Murder: Of Confinement and Contracts”

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