Early on Monday morning, days after his meeting with the Council of Wolves, Mr. Wolf scrambled out of his warm bed. He was cautious not to disturb Mrs. Wolf, who was in a deep sleep, her snores vibrating throughout the small bedroom. Mr. Wolf looked at the clock and saw it was still quite early. He donned a light-blue shirt with striped slacks and teamed it with his colorful suspenders. Today his outfit was quite a contrast to his customary black and grey-colored wardrobe, and already he felt like a different wolf with a new purpose. He hastily scribbled a note explaining his destination and taped the note to the mirror, knowing that Mrs. Wolf spent many minutes gazing into it as if it held the secrets to eternal life. He silently exited the room, shut the front door behind him, and locked it with a single key before setting off for the City of Maplewood.
Mr. Wolf was loudly whistling a merry tune to buoy his spirits as he headed through the woods, encountering a few wolves on their way to work and school as he headed to the city. Mr. Wolf was used to walking. Many knew him for his ability to walk miles and miles through the dense forest. While he usually admired the beautiful green scenery, today he hardly noticed the changing of the colorful foliage, nor did he feel the crisp wisp of the fresh autumn air, or see the furry creatures that darted in and out of the bush as he contemplated what lay ahead. As he rounded a corner, he paused for a while to catch his breath under a huge chestnut tree, when an acorn fell on his head and startled him. Mr. Wolf looked up to see a squirrel scurrying away with a mischievous grin on his face. Mr. Wolf shook a warning paw at him and resumed his journey.
The footpath sloped suddenly down a hill that bordered the wishing pond where most of the wolves came to draw water in the dry season. Old Mr. Toad, resting comfortably on a large shamrock leaf, croaked loudly, “Beware the ides of November! Beware the demons that walk abroad.” Mr. Toad was famous for his dire warnings as the seer in Maplewood, and he made Mr. Wolf most uncomfortable. Mr. Wolf tried to ignore him and picked up his pace, which turned into a brisk jog until he was out of earshot of Mr. Toad’s unwanted rant. Mr. Wolf wondered whether this evil omen spelled defeat for him and his cause.
As he walked a little farther, Mr. Wolf felt as if the weight of a generation of wolves rested on his shoulders. Nevertheless, it seemed the closer he got to the city, the lighter his heart felt. When he neared the bustling City of Maplewood filled with pedestrians moving at various speeds, he put a smile on his face, something he had not done in years since the pigs’ accusations had spread like wildfire. He watched in fascination as the urbanites sped by in their mini vans, jeeps, and two-door cars. Environmentally conscious pigs, rabbits, and wolves pedaled on their green two-wheeled cycles with helmets on their heads while others hurried to their final destination on foot. Mr. Wolf knew smiling would make him appear less scary, so he smiled and nodded to everyone he met along the way, whispering softly to himself, “I am going to clear my name. I am going to clear my name.”
Most of the pedestrians on the streets were pigs, and many whispered among themselves and eyed Mr. Wolf suspiciously. One pig who looked past her prime whispered loudly to another pig as she pointed to Mr. Wolf, “Look at this wolf in sheep’s clothing. I wonder who he is trying to fool now.” Some of the pedestrians who heard this comment snickered as Mr. Wolf headed their way. The rumors and the cruel gossip had kept Mr. Wolf away from town.
Yet now, Mr. Wolf felt forced to relive the painful memories of yesteryears. In some of the store windows owned by pigs, Mr. Wolf’s picture, bearing a striking resemblance to a criminal mug shot, still hung as a grim reminder to many in the pig community of the story of The Three Little Pigs. Mr. Wolf tried to appear as harmless as possible by smiling and waving, especially to the pigs that crossed his path, but unfortunately he was ostracized within the pig community and nothing was about to change that.
Many of the pigs ignored him, some sped up, and others clutched their belongings as they eyed Mr. Wolf defiantly. Some of the younger piglets on their way to school were dressed in their school uniforms. Mr. Wolf was pleasantly surprised because their well-pressed white ruffled blouses appeared tucked neatly into their navy-blue pleated skirts, and their socks very white. They even wore black shiny patent-leather shoes. Mr. Wolf stared in shock and disbelief at the blue and white ribbons neatly intertwined in their many pigtails.
The piglets began to shriek in horror as Mr. Wolf crossed their paths. Their parents had inundated them with stories of the “big bad wolf,” and they were terrified at the way he was looking at them. Pandemonium broke lose as the piglets ran screaming down the street, scattering their books and lunch pails.
“Please, little piglets do not be afraid,” one adult pig, admonished.
“Look at the ‘big bad wolf ’ now; he is just a shadow of his former self,” the heavyset pig dressed in a nursing uniform said as she pointed at Mr. Wolf’s cane while many of the older pigs laughed mockingly. Noting the pigs’ reactions, Mr. Wolf remembered why he had to clear his name, and he hated being the center of attention. The wolves he encountered either exchanged fist pounds with him or nodded their heads in acknowledgment as he passed them.
Like a wolf on a mission, he picked up his gait, and walked the last blocks to the lawyer’s office purposefully. He knew it was time to set the record straight, for he could feel the urgency in his bones. He was definitely getting too old, and his heart was too weak to carry this heavy burden. He also knew he had to relieve the nagging pain of emotional distress that had haunted him over the years before putting the matter to rest.
When Mr. Wolf reached the antique African mahogany cherry-stained round-top double door with raised moldings of the Law Office of Honest Pig and Honest Pig, he began to feel extremely nervous. He stared at the red and white billboard hoisted near the roof that denoted the services of the law office. He quickly took note of the motto on the sign, “EVERY CLIENT IS OUR PRIORITY.” Mr. Wolf felt a little better as he read the sign, but still he paced up and down the three steps in front of the law office before he summoned the courage to knock on the door. Again, he wondered if it was wise to come to a pig for help.
As he stood outside the door, he remembered Mrs. Wolf’s earlier query, “Why don’t you forget about this whole thing?” He also saw the wolves’ angry faces from the council and heard their voices as they asked, “Why are you going to those pigs for help?” Mr. Wolf also remembered the terror on the faces of the young piglets as they huddled in horror, while other pigs laughed and whispered as he passed them on the way to the law office. Instantly, he also remembered the lies that The Three Pigs had told on him, so he pummeled the door loudly with his cane. Bang! Bang! However, no one answered him. He sat on the steps of the law office feeling very dejected and disheartened. He had an appointment, so where was this pig attorney, he wondered. He wondered if the attorney had changed his mind about representing him. Despite these troubling thoughts, Mr. Wolf decided to knock one last time. He got up and knocked three times louder than before and shouted, “Honest Pigs, Honest Pigs, may I come in?”
Finally, a stately looking black boar twice his height opened the door, looking quite perturbed. “Why didn’t you ring the bell?” the Boar asked, pointing to the ringer located to the right of the door, as he stared at Mr. Wolf curiously. His smooth melodious voice was quite a contrast to his looming figure. Then without waiting for an answer, the imposing black boar politely said, “Come on in,” and introduced himself as the receptionist for the Law Office of Honest Pig and Honest Pig.
“I have an appointment with Counsel Boar, and I am Mr. Wolf,” he said.
“I know; we were expecting you,” replied the black boar.
The boar had a neatly trimmed black mustache, but he was dressed more like a butler than a receptionist. The black boar pressed the intercom on the wall and said, “Mr. Wolf is here, sir.”
A muffled grunt echoed gruffly through the system, “Very good, let him come in.” The black boar led the way through a brightly lit hallway, and Mr. Wolf looked admiringly at the lime green walls along the corridor that complemented a red accent panel.
They proceeded to the reception area, and as they passed through the open door, the sight that met Mr. Wolf’s eye shattered his perception of what a lawyer’s office should look like. He expected order; instead, Mr. Wolf saw what some would call chaos. While Mr. Wolf did not say it aloud, he felt the office looked a little too piggish. There seemed to be more books than walls. The office had papers piled on the floor, on top of the desk, and on top of the file cabinets. Empty juice boxes and stale leftover food sat carelessly strewn on a tiny eating table in the corner of the hallway. This was what one would expect from pigs anyways, Mr. Wolf thought. Pigs liked pigsties, and that was a known fact. If this was not a well-known law office, I would not trust these pigs to defend me, he said to himself.
Mr. Wolf stumbled several times as he tried to make his way through the mess. At one point, he skidded on a banana peel, and had to grab a wall to steady himself. The receptionist mouthed a quick apology. Inwardly Mr. Wolf was fuming despite the apology since the receptionist had not had the courtesy to tell him to be careful. Mr. Wolf tried to calm his temper before he spoke to the lawyer. The next door to the right of the reception area was Counsel Boar’s office, and the receptionist knocked loudly before entering.
“Come in,” Counsel Boar oinked loudly. The receptionist opened the door to an even messier office space. The lawyer sat buried behind a mountain of files. He was dressed in a crisp white long-sleeved shirt with a green tie as his fuchsia jacket hugged the back of his long burgundy leather chair. He was peering so intently at a stack of files immediately in front of him that he did not acknowledge Mr. Wolf upon his entry. The lawyer was quite a heavyset pig whose girth showed his overindulgence in food. Counsel Boar had a silver pair of glasses perched on his snout that shaded his weary eyes from overly bright glares of light.
“How can I help you, Mr. Wolf?” Counsel Boar asked suddenly in a jovial voice without looking up from his files. Mr. Wolf cleared his throat quite nervously and said a bit timidly, “I want to clear my name, sir.”
“From what or whom?” asked Counsel Boar, finally looking up from a manila folder.
“Well, you know the story,” Mr. Wolf said, looking somewhat nervous as he cushioned his rear in a leather seat across from the lawyer. Mr. Wolf realized, not for the first time, that he was putting his fate in the hooves of a pig. He wondered again maybe for the millionth time whether it was wise to seek representation from a pig. It was these very same pigs who had gotten him into trouble, but Counsel Boar came highly recommended from both pigs and wolves alike, thought Mr. Wolf as he stared directly at the portly pig.
“What story are you referring to, Mr. Wolf?” asked Counsel Boar quite curiously.
“The story of The Three Little Pigs,” said Mr. Wolf very softly.
“Oh that story!” Counsel Boar exclaimed excitedly.
“I was just a piglet when that occurred.” Counsel Boar laughed to himself as he recollected what he knew about the story of The Three Little Pigs. His recollections of the story did not make Mr. Wolf look very good. Becoming serious, Counsel Boar looked at Mr. Wolf and in a no-nonsense voice asked, “But that was so long ago; why didn’t you clear your name then?” Counsel Boar gave Mr. Wolf a long penetrating stare as he waited for his answer.
“Well, initially, I thought it was cool to have the reputation of the ‘big bad wolf,’ said Mr. Wolf quietly.
“So what changed?” Counsel Boar asked incredulously.
“I am now older and wiser,” replied Mr. Wolf. “Furthermore, I did not do what those pigs said I did. I am the long-suffering victim in this tall tale, plain and simple.”
“You did not?” Counsel Boar asked clearly in disbelief.
“I did not do those things,” whispered Mr. Wolf, already tired of explaining himself. Counsel Boar noted the dejected look on Mr. Wolf’s face and quickly remembered his role as an attorney. He had a legal duty to represent his clients zealously, and he did not want to lose a potential client based on preconceived notions and prejudices. He had to appear impartial so Mr. Wolf would feel comfortable with him and hire him as his attorney.
“So what exactly happened on the day in question, Mr. Wolf?” Counsel Boar asked, curious to hear Mr. Wolf’s side of the story. Over the next two hours, Mr. Wolf proceeded to fill Counsel Boar in on his account of what happened so many years ago. Counsel Boar listened intently, occasionally questioning Mr. Wolf while his conservatively dressed law assistant in a blue-collared shirt and navy-blue pencil skirt took copious notes without uttering a solitary word. Occasionally she had to offer some tissue to Mr. Wolf to wipe away tears as he recounted his story. Returning to her notes, the pig seemed almost robotic as her pen moved from left to right on the yellow legal pad, leaving endless eight-by-eleven pages filled with a sea of words in its wake. After listening to Mr. Wolf’s version of the story, Counsel Boar glanced at the round-faced clock across from his desk and saw he had to conclude his consultation with Mr. Wolf. For lawyers, time was money and more clients meant more money. He checked his red heavily penciled appointment book and noted he had several more clients to see before he left the office for the day.
“I think you have a very good case because all we have so far is a one-sided story told by The Three Pigs,” Counsel Boar said.
“Mr. Wolf, I believe you would make a credible witness. Therefore I would be honored to be your attorney.”
Mr. Wolf was excited that Counsel Boar had decided to take the case. Mr. Wolf jumped up quite animatedly and tried to do a dance in Counsel Boar’s office, but because of his advanced age and bad leg, it looked more as if he was just stumbling around drunken by the bittersweet taste of a possible vindication.
“Don’t get so excited, Mr. Wolf. We have a long uphill battle ahead of us,” said Counsel Boar, hating to have to put a damper on Mr. Wolf’s exuberance.
“Wait till I tell Mrs. Wolf that your law office has decided to take my case,” Mr. Wolf said. “She will be so surprised.”
“Why?” Counsel Boar asked.
“Well, she didn’t think you would,” said Mr. Wolf sheepishly.
“Why?” asked Counsel Boar, looking amused.
“She didn’t think you would, that’s all,” said Mr. Wolf, becoming quite embarrassed at this line of questioning.
“Tell her not all pigs are the same,” said Counsel Boar with a chuckle, showing Mr. Wolf he was not the least bit offended.
After Mr. Wolf left, Counsel Boar sat in his cluttered office and reflected on his decision to represent Mr. Wolf, a notorious villain, in the pig community. He knew there would be consequences for taking the case, but he loved a good fight. He also thought it was time he helped set the record straight. Counsel Boar knew he was getting older, and he wanted to retire early, but he needed one last big win. He lay back in his reclining chair with his head resting on the back of his hooves and thought of the money he would make off this case. Counsel Boar stared at the retainer agreement Mr. Wolf had just signed signifying that Counsel Boar would be entitled to at least thirty-three percent of whatever Mr. Wolf won in court. This could be in the millions if he played his cards right. Counsel Boar was in hog heaven.
This case could allow Counsel Boar to retire in style. Instantly, his imagination conjured up a remote part of the world with lots of sunshine, white sandy beaches, and the bluest, clearest water. He closed his eyes as if to savor the image of the most exotic mud baths while soaking up the sun and drinking lots of coconut water. He could fish, or golf, or idle the day away as he pleased. Counsel Boar thought about all the publicity he would get: free press conferences, TV appearances, and most of all the envy and respect of the legal community.
Thus far, Counsel Boar had a mixed reputation in the legal community. Most saw him as an ambulance chaser just taking any case that came in the door. Many of them scorned him because of the unsavory clients he defended. Here was his chance to prove them wrong. He could make the money while representing a high-profile client. Counsel Boar smiled as he contemplated the strategy he would employ in the case of Mr. Wolf v.The Three Pigs. He raised himself up on his hind legs, straightened his tie, and did a piggy jig around his office to the tune of, “Did You Ever Think You Could Get This Rich?” It was a song he heard frequently played on a popular oldies station. Counsel Boar laughed and then chided himself; maybe he should not count his check before it cashed.
After composing himself, Counsel Boar called in his paralegal; a gangly pig armed with a legal notepad and a pen, and gave him instructions to begin research on the case. Counsel Boar searched for court cases that were similar to the case of Mr. Wolf. These were cases that would serve as a precedent for any ruling concerning Mr. Wolf’s case. Already, several theories were forming in his mind. He just had to figure out what would fly in a town overrun by pigs. Counsel Boar was not sure Mr. Wolf could get a fair trial, but he would do his best since Mr. Wolf’s money and Counsel Boar’s reputation depended on it.
“You’re going out with a bang of a hooray, old boy,” Counsel Boar muttered to himself, quite pleased with the day’s events. All Counsel Boar had to do now was plan his course of attack on the pigs. He wondered whom The Three Pigs would hire, since countless lawyers would be chomping at the bit to get this case, because of the publicity it would garner. He hummed as he waited for his next appointmen
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish