Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Delicate Legal Matter

The following remarkable correspondence has come into my possession from a never-to-be named source; and as it appears to be nearly two decades old, I think no harm will come from my sharing it with you.  Here it is, with minor editing to protect the parties concerned, assuming they may still be alive.

Henry R. Roote
1000 Kabrich Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060
December 12, 1992

Mr.  Phineas Flopadopoulos, Esq., P.A.
Law Firm of Flopadopoulos & Flopadopoulos
P.O. Box 7336
Richmond, VA 23204

Dear Mr. Flopadopoulos:

Here's five dollars toward the cost of having you represent my former - and hopefully, future- friend, Mr. Jason Quincy Limpett, who wants to sue me.

The dispute concerns an unsolicited so-called poem he submitted to me, which I refused to publish in the monthly community newspaper of which I am editor and publisher.

To give you an idea, he rhymed "Clinton" with "badminton," "Perot" with "afterglow," and "Bush" with "tush." 

Also included in his envelope, together with the poem, was an invoice for $100.00, if you can imagine.

I told him it was trash.  Of course I didn't actually say "trash."  I simply wrote, "It is no good."  Then I added, "In cold type, it would make the angels weep and the immortal gods go out into the woods and kick themselves."

Obviously, he could not take the hint.  He threatened to sue me for the $100.  When I heard that, I was so mad I published a few choice words about him in the next issue, which I admit was an inadvisable thing to do, and now he wants damages as well as a hundred dollars.

A mutual friend, hearing of all this, told me that the best thing for me would be to get you, Mr. Phineas Flopadopoulos, and none other, to represent Mr. Jason Quincy Limpett.  He therefore kindly recommended you to Quince, without mentioning me.

One thing I should confide to you from the outset, Mr. Flopadopoulos, is that I am a blunt man.  So to come to the point without further ado, what I want you to do in representing that skunk, Jason Quincy Limpett, is absolutely nothing.  Listen to him with apparent concern, take notes if you like, and then stall, stall, stall!  You have been recommended to me as an expert and if you succeed in stringing him along for a sufficient period of time, I feel confident that Mr. Limpett eventually will give up, admit he was wrong, beg my forgiveness, and we shall once more be fast friends.  And if people call you "the do-nothing lawyer," so what?  You will have gotten paid, and by helping heal this rift, will have done a good deed, too.

Speaking of pay, I understand of course that a mere five dollars is but a tiny fraction of the actual cost of retaining you.  Mr. Limpett will bring the rest when he stops by your office next Tuesday or Wednesday.  Meanwhile, I heard somewhere than even one dollar is enough to "seal the deal" legally, and that is why I enclose the fiver.  Quince, by the way, is swimming in money, so don't hesitate to sock it to him.  After all, you'll have to listen to his snivelling for heaven knows how long, and will have to read his doggerel besides.

You can also bill me a reasonable amount over and above what you charge him, since you are representing the bests interests of both of us.  Plus, I figure this deal will save me hiring a separate lawyer.  Of course, since what I'm hiring you to do is nothing, I don't expect that will cost me very much!

Thank you, Mr. Flopadopoulos, for helping two old friends end this sorry dispute.  I already feel easier in my soul.  Should you fail to grasp any of these instructions, do not hesitate to write me at the above address.

Yours very truly,

Henry R. Roote

P.S.  Do not mention to Mr. Limpett anything about this arrangement between you and me.

Mr. Jason Quincy Limpett III, Director
Institute for the Advancement of Virginia Poetry
Shenandoah, Virginia 25031
03 January, 1993

Mr. Phineas Flopadopoulos, Esq., P.A.
Law Firm of Flopadopoulos & Flopadopoulos
P.O. Box 7336
Richmond, VA 23204

Dear Mr. Flopadopoulos:

Say it ain't so!  Did you really accept a bribe from Henry Roote to submarine my case?  That's what he told everybody at the New Year's party.  He even admitted it to me when I cornered him.  Which means he is in even worse trouble now.

And just as I had instructed my secretary to make an appointment with you. 

Well, the clock is ticking and I've got to start kicking ass before the Statue of L. runs out for slander.  So here's what I need to know from you:  is the guy lying, as usual, or not?  He says he can prove you did accept his bribe.  Please let me hear from you pronto.

Sincerely yours,

J. Quincy Limpett, III


Moo! said...

LOL! I have to forward that to my new lawyer daughter.

Anam Cara said...

I want the rest of the story! This is great.