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Lawyers in Hell snippet, May 10th 2011

May 10, 2011

Snip.  Snip-snip.  Snip.

Partly overcast in hell, a few spots of rain – but the job had to be done, and when jobs of a less elevated nature had to be done in Augustus’ villa, there was a question of rank involved.  Augustus wasn’t going to do it.  Neither was Caesar or Cleopatra, nor Sargon of Akkad; nor was Hatshepsut.  The villa had Roman rulers and Egyptian pharaohs, but no gardener, and that elected the two Renaissance refugees who’d found the villa a comfortable berth in hell.

Dante was dithering around in the basement about some research project.

That left one Niccolo Machiavelli to be dragooned into the job, when Augustus came out of his office in a dither – not about the flood downtown, not about the Audit of Injustice proceeding in the Law Court, but about two young fools, both Julius’ sons, who’d decided to burgle Tiberius’ villa, over across the greenspace and a good hike beyond.

The lecherous old goat, the Emperor Tiberius, had them dead to rights.  And was suing Augustus for instigating the permanently young fools in the invasion of his premises.

It was not a good time to have a lawsuit questioning the peculiar status of any Roman in hell, not that one could explain that to the syphilitic old fool, Tiberius, who’d died insane and who’d not improved in the process.

That was why Machiavelli was out there trimming roses into shape … in a light rain.  With an extensive flood spreading over the greenspace.  Cardinal Richelieu’s place had half the lawn underwater.  Tiberius had a regular canal behind his mansion.  It was a lawn-rimmed grey sheet beyond the gate and the hedge, and it might get beyond the gate tomorrow, but for now, the garden had to look its best, old roses, Roman roses, cuttings from Paestum, Augustus swore, a little bit of earthly paradise, around the beautiful statue of weeping Niobe, mourning her lost children, symbolic of the rain, and more than appropriate today.

Bailing the boys out was the mission.

Getting that old sybarite, Tiberius to settle.

And with every high-level Roman being, in essence, a lawyer, representing his house, his clients, his sympathizers, voters, and connections, in whatever court – there was still a time to call in the experts.

Tiberius had, on his side, the law firm of Stalenus, Dolabella & Crassus, the most unprincipled law firm in hell.

That was a bit of a problem.

So … up against scoundrels, potentially pleading in front of antiquity, go for the headliner.  The Dershowitz of his day, Marcus Tullius Cicero.

From ‘Out of Court Settlement’ by CJ Cherryh, in Lawyers in Hell ((c) Janet Morris 2011, all rights reserved.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011 10:55 pm

    And the flames burned higher…

  2. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter permalink
    May 13, 2011 1:51 pm

    Nice. I don’t suppose you would give me permission to cut an paste this into an email that I could send to some of my favorite lawyers, would you? These are a couple of people I’ve been at war with for the last couple of years. I’d guess you could say that I’m not on their Christmas Card list anymore 🙂


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