About Black Mustard: Justice
by Dallas Coleman
Loic is in the lawyer business for the cash. He’s not some bleeding heart liberal willing to work pro bono like Justice Hibbideux. When a case comes along that pits old money against a poor bartender, Loic knows which side he’d rather be on. What silver-tongued Loic doesn’t count on is some hoodoo magic, an unfortunate speech impediment, and learning that Justice is just the kind of man he wants to be, and wants in his bed. Can Loic find a way to tell Justice what he needs?
Loic headed in, stepping over a huge black Rottie that cocked one eye at him, curled one lip to show off huge, white teeth.
"Samson. Stop. Let the man in." The office door was open, Justice Hibbideux standing there. "Hey, Loic. Come on in. We've had break ins, so I bring him down from upstairs."
Loic nodded, held out one hand, silently. He needed this job, damn it.
Needed it bad.
"We'll meet back in my office. Anna let me know that you aren't speaking, so that's fine. I do most of my business by email and I have an answering service, otherwise all I'd do is yammer on the phone. Weird, ain't it? How life has changed? Shit, twenty years ago, none of us could imagine an office without a receptionist and now most folks don't have a frigging phone. Sit."
The office was a wreck -- papers and computers and newspapers and photos everywhere. The desk was old, the chairs older, but the desktop looked up to date. He sat, tried not to wrinkle his nose, but he knew he was caught when Hibbideux brayed with laughter.
"I know, man. It's a mess. I know where all the files are, though, and usually Anna kept me up better. She's just wasn't all here her last week and then I've been on my own, with her doing some long-distance shit for me from Arizona. Hell, she's my answering service. You… whoever gets the position will deal with her via email a lot."
He looked at Justice -- the little bulldog man looked nervous, almost, a hint of sweat on the forehead, the beginning of dark circles under his eyes.
Loic grabbed his notebook and scratched out, "Don't be nervous. I know it's weird."
Hibbideux looked at the note, nodded. "That it is. They know what's wrong yet?"
Loic shook his head.
"That sucks. I felt bad, when I heard."
Loic shrugged. What did a person say to that, assuming he could say anything worthwhile?
"So, I don't have to ask you if you know your shit." Hibbideux met his eyes. "What I want to know is why here? Why me? I'm not your kind of lawyer."
Loic was ready for that question. Hell, he'd asked himself the question a thousand times. He grabbed his pad, scribbled, "I need a job. Big firms won't hire me because of the ADA issues. You are a sucker for a hard case. I'm a hard case. I know how to do the job. I won't screw you over and I'm good at what I do."
At least he had been.
Now he was diminished, but that was okay. He was learning to deal with that. He could do this.
Justice took the pad from him, read the note, tilted his head, then nodded. "Okay. Yeah. That's fair and honest. Job's yours, if you want it."
He blinked, honestly surprised. He'd expected to get through the interview and then get a politely worded letter of refusal, not an offer after a couple of notes.
Justice shrugged. "You're right. You know the job, and I'm a softie. Not only that, but I like to listen to myself yammer. You're no competition."
The words stung, and he looked up to snarl, then saw the laughter in Hibbideux's eyes. Fucker.
He slowly flipped the man off, and happy laughter filled the office. "See? There you go! We can work together. I like it."
Loic nodded. They could. He could do this.
"I have one more question."
"Can you start tonight?