The lanky man, clad only in black jockey shorts, squinted at the sun squeezing through the bent metal blinds he neglected to adjust before falling into bed the previous night. The sheets, unchanged for weeks, reeked of sweat and lay strewn at the foot of the bed.
Rick Waterston scratched at his face and the first conscious image to enter his mind was of a firm glass, two hefty cubes of ice and a healthy dose of whiskey. How ironic, he thought, two years since my last drink and still it's the first thing that comes into my head each morning.
The news, on all night, blurted out from the flat screen not yet mounted to the wall.
The effort of getting to a seated position made him want to drop his head back onto the pillow. He dragged his heavy legs over the edge of the bed. Small flecks fell into the air as his hands swiped at his eyes. His head bobbed from weariness, and despite the lack of brain activity, his schedule for the day popped into his head. It didn't take much energy to remember his one appointment today--an eleven o'clock court hearing, where he would present his motion to withdraw as counsel.
Waterston raked off his stubbly growth in the shower and pulled a suit out of his closet after patting his body dry. At least I still own some stylish threads, he thought, as he ran a hand over the delicate fabric.
"Thank you, Wilson, O'Malley and Sanders for the fine memories and the expensive wardrobe," he mumbled as he yanked up his pants. He made short work of tying his red tie allowing the front tip to rest on his belt buckle, exactly how his dad had taught him, and exactly how he had worn it at his dad’s funeral when he was thirteen.
His wavy, brown hair, combed straight back, glistened with moisture from his shower. A quick inspection of his hairline revealed it hadn't receded in the past day. He pointed double gun barrels at the mirror amazed he still could present the cocky guy image, despite the pangs of regret and doubt swirling in his gut.
Rick pulled on his suit jacket and grabbed his keys ready to trek to what passed for his office energized with the daily hope that new clients and additional work would appear in his waiting room. He pushed away the nagging fear that, like most days, when he returned in the evening, his future prospects would remain the same.
The latest iPhone lay on the table next to his bed, always the last item he gathered before his exit from the apartment. Three text alerts registered on the screen. "Damn, this can only be . . . ," he whispered, while unlocking the device.
His head nodded as he read them with his lips squeezed together. 12:30 a.m., marked the time the first arrived. "Are you up?"
Ten minutes later came the next one. “We need to talk."
The third showed up at 2:10 a.m., causing him to think, I was awake when you texted. I'm real sorry I didn't see it. His inward sarcasm made him grin.
The text read, "She's having a hard time. I need some assistance. Can you help? Will you? By the way, you still owe me for the last three months."
He placed the phone in his suit pocket. "Crap, Molly. Every night, you send me another missive to ruin my morning," he said, closing the door of his unit behind him.
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