War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch

BOOK: War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch
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War-N-Wit, Inc.

 

By

 

Gail
Roughton

 
 

ISBN: 978-1-927111-88-8

 

Books
We
Love Ltd.

(Electronic Book Publishers)

192 Lakeside

Greens Drive

Chestermere
, Alberta, T1X
1C2

Canada

 

http://bookswelove.net

 

Copyright 2012 by Gail
Roughton

 

Cover art by Michelle Lee Copyright 2012

 
 
 

All rights
reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part
of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without prior written permission of both
the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

 
 
 
 

Chapter One

 

No lightning bolt streaked from the sky the
day my life as I knew it began to end. There was no warning at all.
Nothing.
There I was, sitting at my desk, minding my own
business, doing my job. My official job title is "legal assistant."
The more exotic sounding title is paralegal. In the old days when folks called
jobs what they actually were, the title was "legal secretary." Me? I
answer to any of the above. Or just to Ariel. That's my name.
Ariel Anson.

Now, I know the general public thinks a law
office is an exciting place, full of fascinating cases and esoteric points of
law highlighted with flashes of legal genius, something different every day.
Not. Trust me on this.
You seen one accident case, you seen
'em all.
And corporate law?
Business
law?
Wills and estates?
Oh, man, you don't even
want to go there.
Domestic law?
Right.
The only thing worse than a divorce case is an estate fight.
At least folks involved in a divorce are
supposed
to hate each other whereas a fight over Daddy's will? Oh. My.
God.

Anyway, that's what I was doing. Just
minding my own business in the course of my humdrum day and doing my job at the
century-old, prestigious central Georgia law firm of Baker, Lawson, Abercrombie
& Hunter, where the partners walk around in blissful ignorance of the fact
the firm is referred to in legal circles as BLAH. All
us
legal assistants think that's a hoot.

I was the only legal gal who worked for
three partners. Some of the girls had just one, most had two. Sort of gave me a
certain mystique of extreme competence, you know?
In all
honesty,
most
of the time the three
attorneys I had were cakewalks, though I wasn't about to announce such to the
powers-that-be lest I end up with four attorneys to babysit.
It all
depended on who the three partners were. And mine were hand-picked, a luxury I
had because I was
good
, good enough
after eleven years in the business to pick and choose the attorneys I worked
for.
Diplomatically, of course.
So diplomatically that
nobody knew that but me.
And my little sister.

Stacy, whose given name is Anastasia (our
parents swore they hadn't smoked a lot of pot during the early years of their
marriage but given our names, we didn't believe them), was following in her big
sister's footsteps more or less by accident. I'd gotten her the office runner
job one year during her summer break and she'd gotten the legal-eagle bug. She
worked down at the other end of the firm for Calhoun Spencer, one of the more
senior partners who specialized in insurance defense. Believe
me,
nobody
working
for Cal could
have handled anybody else. I knew. I'd done it for six years
myself
before impending carpal tunnel syndrome had me scrambling to move to another
location within the four hallowed halls of BLAH. I still felt bad about
hi-jacking Stacy into my vacated seat but she claims she's forgiven me. I still
have my doubts about that sometimes.

For the past three years, I'd been taking
care of Ashton Davis, litigator 'par excellence' and the only attorney in the
firm who liked criminal work, Mark McCray, who specialized in complex business
litigation, and Anderson Halloway. Anderson
was 74, the number one name on the letterhead. He did pretty much whatever the
hell he wanted to.

Ash and Mark, being in their mid-thirties
and thus computer literate, did a lot of their own typing because it was easier
for them to think and type than to think and dictate.
A
generation thing.
Since I didn't have to be their typist, I was free to
organize, clean-up and grind out those standard, rote legal pleadings the
public thought attorneys drafted and everybody in the legal field knew damn
well the secretaries did. Anderson
was a different story. He could barely turn on a computer and used his to check
the stock market. In his current exalted position and with his history—the man
had an unbelievable trial record—he only took the cases he wanted and spent a
lot of time at his mountain house in North Carolina and even more at his beach
condo at Hilton Head.

All in all, I considered my set-up ideal
and considering the six years I'd spent in halls of the firm back forty turning
out hundred page pleadings for Cal Spencer, I didn't feel guilty at all when I
grabbed a spare thirty minutes or an hour to indulge in my private hobby of
writing. I'm a closet writer. I write books and put 'em in the closet. Nobody
ever suspected except Stacy, of course, because nobody believed that with three
attorneys I had time to breathe, let alone write a book.

And so the earth was turning in its proper
orbit and all was right with my world when I returned from lunch that fateful
day after meeting my fiancé, Scott Newton, at a local sandwich shop. Okay,
Scott wasn't what you'd call glamorous or exciting, but he was steady.
An upcoming CPA with a good practice that was getting better.
Good husband material. Good father material.
Future Little
League coach.
I'd had exciting and it hadn't worked out well. Steady was
fine. Steady was good.
If I could just teach the man how to
kiss.
Well, time to work on that, I supposed.

I stuck my head in Mark's door to check on
the progress of a new complaint arising out of a case we'd gotten from a firm
in Philadelphia because three Georgia corporations were involved.
Mark's my complex commercial litigator.

"So—you ready for me to file?" I
asked. Since this was a federal case, all pleadings were filed electronically.
Usually that's great, since it circumvents time deadlines of racing to the
courthouse before it closes at 5:00 o'clock, not so much when you're racing the
clock at 11:45 p.m. to get something filed before the date changes at midnight.
Oh, yeah, I'd been there, done that, and Ashton Davis owed me big. It's always
nice to have something to hold over your attorneys' heads.

 
"Yeah."
Mark pushed his chair back and sighed.
"But they want it served yesterday. Get the summons and all the other
stuff ready, okay? I got the name of a good process server from one of my
buddies down in South Georgia. Dude we got to
serve lives in Albany.
Already called
him
and he says he can get it served
this afternoon. Get it together for me and then shoot it to me too so I can get
it down to him."

"Sure," I said, and proceeded to
do so, which was accomplished in something
under
twenty minutes, with the majority of the time on line spent in negotiating the
credit card payment for the filing fees. That part was always a bitch. Then I
hit "send" and shot the whole kit-and-caboodle over to Mark. Not as
efficient as just letting me send it directly to the process server, but
whatever kept my guys happy, thereby making them keep me
happy,
was fine with me.

"Thanks!" floated back down the
hall from two doors up. I sat in front of Anderson Holloway's office. If Mark
and/or Ash lasted till they were 74, they could fight over which one of 'em got
their secretary in front of their office. "Hey, check my voicemail if
you're away from your desk, okay, make sure that complaint's served? I'm
leaving in a minute. Jenny's got something at school this afternoon."

"Sure. What's your server guy's
name?"

Mark came down and stood in front of my
desk. "Name of the company's Warnwit, Inc. I sort of assumed his, too.
First name's Chad,
I think. Call me when he calls, and email—"

"Philadelphia,"
I said, scribbling "Chad Warnwit" on the steno pad I kept by my
phone. Nobody'd
really
used a steno
pad in 40 years, but I did like the split lined pages and spiral flip top for
keeping notes together.
"Yeah, got it, run along
now."

"Thanks, Ariel!"

"No problem," I said. With Mark
gone and Anderson at Hilton Head, and Ash in the library trying to back-track
the financial goings on in an ugly estate fight, my afternoon was gravy. I
pulled up my latest venture into fantasy land and reminded myself not to zone
out to the extent I didn't hear the phone.

Two hours later I did hear the phone when
it rang, but it was a near thing.
Mark's line.
I
pulled my brain back into the real world. Oh, yeah.
The case
from Philadelphia.
Probably Mark's South Georgia
process server.

"Mark McCray's office," I said
crisply.

"But not Mark McCray, I'm
guessing."

"No, sorry.
Just his secretary."

"Well, I'm not."

"Excuse me?"

"Sorry. I'm not sorry you're not Mark
McCray. Though I do need to let him know his guy's served."

His voice surprised me. It wasn't what I'd
expected from a South Georgia process server,
there was no real southern accent, Georgian, South Georgian or otherwise.
Rather, it was
accentless
, the accent of Florida.

"Mr. Warnwit?"

"That's the name of the company.
Mine's Garrett."

"As in Pat?"
I asked before I could stop myself. My brain was a hodgepodge of
collected bits of totally useless information, including the name of the lawman
who'd
brought down Billy the Kid by allegedly shooting
him in the back. I grimaced to myself. He'd think I was crazy. Nobody but Stacy
ever got my private wise-cracks.

"As in Chad.
Can't say as I've brought in anybody comparable
to Billy the Kid lately.
Haven't shot anybody in quite a while, either,
and never in the back that I recall. That'd cause too many legal
problems."

Some damn. He got it!

"How reassuring.
So, you got our boy for us, did you?"

"At 16:12 hours.
Sorry, that's –"

"Four twelve.
Got
it."

"By service on the
wife as she was pulling out of the driveway to soccer practice with the two
girls.
Casey Douglas, 5-7, 145 pounds, blonde,
glasses, not contacts, social security—"

I laughed in delight. "Did you copy
her driver's license, too?"

"I always write down a description so
there's no question of who got served. And I always have them sign the Return
of Service, too, so they can't claim they weren't really served.
Got some pictures of the house.
If you're going after a
judgment, there's money there, very up-scale neighborhood. Pulled the property
assessment from the Tax Commissioner's Office, I'll send it back with the
return of service when I get back to the office.
To you or
Mark McCray?"

"Either," I said. "You
already have Mark's, though."

"Yeah, but being male I like you
better."

I laughed again and gave it to him. And
then, because I couldn't stop myself, I asked, "If your name's Garrett,
who's Warnwit?"

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