Sunday, November 27, 2011


I applied for a summer job as a waiter at a place called Avalock Inn in Lennox, Ma. It was directly across the road from Tanglewood, the seasonal home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Reservations had to be made at least two years in advance. Aside from its location, its forte was the dining room, a five star rated restaurant which boasted excellent cuisine and first-class service. The ad required professional experience which I enthusiastically but falsely claimed to have. Hey,man, it was to be an adventure. Two days of on-the-job training and I'd have the moves of a pro and be pocketing lucrative tips from the wealthy clientele. And if a beautiful, rich young woman would catch my eye, well, as Frank sang, "I'm gonna teach me to fly." Everything was set for a swingin' three months. What can I getcha, Baby?

When I arrived, I met the owner, a rather pompous ass who showed me the tables I'd be serving.
"We open for breakfast at 6am. Be in uniform and ready to go. Now, why don't you get your linens and set up for the morning?"
Linens? What the hell were linens? Was this a covert cathouse? A fellow waiter explained that the reference was to tablecloths and napkins and showed me where they were. The service trays were huge, round, silver and heavy. Everyone was carrying them on one faced-up palm, in perfect balance, as if they were on ice skates. I loaded my tray with silver, glasses, cups, saucers and bread boats and my first attempt to lift it assured me of a severe hernia. I used the kindergarten method of holding the tray with two hands and walked as if I were performing the nine step heel to toe field sobriety test. Even then, my cargo was dangerously shifting from one edge to the other, with the Vegas bookies laying even money on a fall-and-break as a sure thing. My lack of credentials were exposed for all to see, but, hey, this was rehearsal learning time. I'd be ready for the morning. I walked into the kitchen and was introduced to the Head Chef. A really hip dude who dug fine jazz and was apparently holding some fine sinsemilla. We hit it off, pronto, Tonto, and agreed to spend the night digging sounds, drinking and getting high. This is a lovely way to spend an evening. He took me by the hand and we hit three or four clubs where the cool music was complimented by vodka and the the most lethal pot ever smoked. They called it "two-toke-shit" but we paid no attention to that legendary limit. The scene lent itself to excess and so we indulged. If I had gotten any higher, I would have flirted with comasvile. The night was sweet and we were mellow. Until the chef reminded me that it was 5am. Time to get ready for work.

I made my way back to the waiters' quarters and was confronted with a decision. Should I shower, brush my teeth and put on my bow tie monkey suit, still shitfaced and stoned---or----should I grab a fifteen minute nap? I made a mistake rivalling buying a Titanic ticket. I went for the short shut-eye.

There was banging on the door of the waiters' cabin. It was the owner screaming my name. Sherlock Holmes was not needed to conclude that he was pissed-off big time.

"Where the hell are you, Alch? There are guests at your tables waiting to be served and it's 6:20. Get the hell down there, NOW!

I wasn't just sick, I was being tortured to death. My hair hurt. My eyes were bleeding on my shirt. My tongue was mired in sand. With my next breath I would surely heave my guts. And I absolutely REEKED from booze. Flies were dropping dead as they flew by my mouth

I ran to the sink and doused my head in cold water, took a bite of toothpaste and tried swishing it in my mouth but my tongue could not be reached for transmission. I threw on the waiters uniform as I tried to finger-comb my hair into some semblance of a human, ran out the door and up the hill to the dinning room. Three of my round tables were filled with eight guests at each. The chef looked at me as I walked through the kitchen and his eyes rolled up to the Deity for help. He looked in good shape. He had done this before, a veteran who knew not to sleep.

Someone pushed me toward my tables. I approached the first one to confront eight richee-poos aggravated by hunger. I looked at Mr. Constipation and barely whispered, "May I take your order, sir?"

He snarled under his breath and began: one large orange juice with one-half of the pulp in; two kippurs using sea salt for drying it in the open air; a bowl with one and a half sliced bananas in skim milk; three eggs over easy with one yoke gently broken; a rasher of bacon slowly cooked, crispy but not greasy to the touch; three apple pancakes with Maine maple syrup;a dish of vanilla yogurt with blueberries;------and on and on he went. God forbid the snob could have just ordered a bagel with coffee. As he was declaiming, all I could bring myself to do was nod like a puppet, up and down, as this idiot was obviously ordering for the New England Patriots. I didn't remember one thing he said. I just kept smiling and nodding as I went 'round the table, getting a similar 7 course breakfast order from each of them and announcing,"Thank you, sir" at each order's conclusion.

I didn't remember one freackin' thing that was said to me. I HADN'T EVEN BROUGHT A PAD AND PENCIL. I finished the charade at last, thanked them once again and mumbled something about getting the order working straightaway. I walked into the kitchen, thanked the chef for a groovy night, took off my white shirt and black bow tie, ran to my cabin, threw my stuff into my bag and ran through the woods until I hit a highway. I stuck out my thumb and, almost instantaneously, a yellow Cadillac convertible, with brown leather seats and the top down, screeched to a halt and the driver yelled,"I'm going to Boston. Interested?" Within 30 seconds I was riding shotgun, heading for the poolroom, looking up at blue skies and engulfed by a warm wind---and all was once again good in the world.

Word has it that to this day, those goofs are still sitting at their tables waiting for those Saddam Hussein breakfast specials.

The only other time I tried my hand as a waiter was at an insane asylum, serving soup to nuts.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I was a junior at college when I discovered the genesis of co-ed summer camp. Imagine being hired as a counselor and getting paid (Freudian slip?) to work for two months in beautiful New Hampshire, with female counselors as your peers. I was in heaven, but not without romantic drama to enhance everything. And the women! These were not strays from the pound. Au contrare, monsieur. They were gorgeous, from upper-state New York, from Cornell, Syracuse, etc. whose parents obviously wanted to protect them from the perils of summer at the country club.

The schedule called for all counselors to report one week prior to the campers' arrival in order to clean and set up. That was my first look at the ladies. There was one lass who was destined to become Miss World and I was a goner at first glimpse. She was playing it very cool, realizing the pick of the litter was hers. But my sights were set. She was to be mine. My pool-room roots would be redacted from my record and classified outside the boundary of human access. How could I make her (another one) take note of my aura in the absence of phone booths wherein I could change from Clark Kent to you know who?

One of the first tasks assigned to the us was to set up the boxing ring. We were going about this task when I first noticed him. He was from The Big Apple and he was a bully. He donned boxing gloves and began challenging everyone to a fight. All demurred. Being in new surroundings, it was my wont to keep my head down and my mouth shut. As I minded my own business, I watched the jerk making his rounds, hoping he would pass me by. But he couldn't find anyone to take him on so he kept working the crowd until, at last, he approached me.

"Whadda ya say? Wanna go a round with me?"

Sh-t. I was not a fighter. Besides, this guy was bigger and stronger than me. It's not that I was afraid, it's just that I was afraid. Accordingly, I allowed emotion to triumph over reason.

"O.K.--what the hell." A schmuck for all seasons.

The head counselor fitted me with gloves and I climbed through the ropes (which I would soon stain with blood) and waited for someone to yell "bong." All the other male counselors began giving me signs of support, urging me to kill this bum before whom they had chickened out. I didn't know how to box. Oh, a few street fights now and again, but the Marquis of Queensberry rules? Forgeddaboudditt! A distant relative must have been a Kamikaze pilot.

The round began and I experienced an epiphany. Frig it. Just swing like a mother. And so I did, blindly. And so did he. Each of us, retreating not an inch, kept flaying away, hoping to land a haymaker. Surprisingly, I landed with more frequency and could see him a bit staggered. I kept this whirlwind going until I could barely lift my arms. The "bong" idiot yelled again and I opened my eyes to see the jerk with a red welt under his right eye, his arms hanging lifelessly by his side. Everyone was cheering, declaring me to be the victor. I didn't know what the hell had happened except that I was lucky to be alive. We touched gloves and his look promised that he'd leave me alone in the future. A good start for the summer.

The campers arrived that afternoon and we all congregated at the assembly area just before the evening meal. The owner of the camp would preside, welcoming all, and announce the evening's activity. The female counselors were in full attendance.

"Tonight, we have a special treat for you. Something you'll really enjoy. We're going to have an exhibition boxing match between Doug Ratnor and Gerry Alch......." He kept on talking but I had tuned him out. Whose idea was this? Who the hell was Doug Ratnor? I ran to the head counselor and demanded an explanation.

"Relax, kid. We're all still talking about how good you were this morning against that jerk---this will be just three rounds---I'll referee it and you'll show the kids a great time. You know how to handle yourself." Not with people watching, I thought. I found Ratnor, a first year counselor from Chicago and asked if he had ever done any boxing. "Only a little Golden Gloves. Nothin' heavy."
Nothin' heavy? Golden Gloves was semi-pro.

 I began to sweat as I took stock of the situation. I was going to die that night. Worse, I was going to look like the wuss that was me---IN FRONT OF THE WOMEN! The humiliation would be my scarlet letter. I would pack after I was revived and slink out of camp under the cover of darkness. My Shangri-La summer would not come to pass. I would become a monk. Or, better still, a eunuch. I was so terrified that I literally became ill. I was burning up and my palms were sweaty from fright. I met with the infirmary nurse. Sure enough, my temp was 102. She forbade me from fighting that night. I told her I had to....period! I wasn't about to confess what an insecure coward I was. That would come to light after my suicide.

It was fight time. The rec hall was packed. The beauty I had branded as my own was looking at me with a curious attraction in her eyes. Oh, what I was about to forfeit. The shame of it all. I would take up new residence in Singapore, a known hideaway for yellow rats. I was a bald Sampson. The only way I could increase my self-hatred was if I were twins. I looked across the ring. There stood Jake La Motta, drooling for the taste of flesh. Someone rang a bell and the fight was on.

I tried to make believe I knew what I was doing. I assumed a pose that I remembered from the movies. We met at the center of the ring. Ratnor was bobbing and weaving while I was admiring his grace. Suddenly, his left jab connected with my nose. HARD! Didn't he know this was for show? I felt dizzy and then WHAM! Another left jab, harder than the first. I saw stars. I was on the verge of falling. Merely by instinct, with my eyes closed, I feebly swung my right hand. And then, several things happened at once. I heard a ROAR. I was still reeling from those two jabs as I opened my eyes. RATNOR WAS ON THE FLOOR! How the hell did that happen? The head counselor came running into the ring and lifted Ratnor into a sitting position. He was almost out cold. He must have taken a dive! He was taken to his stool. There were screams of "call an ambulance." The head counselor began yelling at me.
"What the hell's the matter with you? This was just an exhibition for the kids! You had nothing to prove! We all know you can fight." Ratnor was rushed to the nearest hospital. Hours later, we learned what had happened.

It was the freakest of things. My blind punch had made contact with Ratnor's left ear in just such a way so as to force compressed air into his ear canal. His eardrum had been punctured. It could have been fatal at a different angle. The guy was o.k. but no swimming for the entire summer. The poor bastard couldn't even take a shower.

The word spread like wildfire through the camp. I was looked upon as the heavyweight champion of the world. And, believe me, I played it to the hilt. I announced that I would never fight again. Hell, I could kill someone. I had been cursed with deadly fists. Of course, I was sad at the curtailment of a brilliant career in the ring, but I owed it to my fellow man to hang 'em up for good. I deserved an Academy Award.

As for my summer, I was the retired undefeated champ. I hooked up with my chosen beauty and love was in the air.

I claimed right field on the baseball diamond as our turf for making love under the stars. Every night. Even in the rain. Right field was the right field.

And if any young stud, seeking fame and glory, challenged me to a fight, I would apologize while explaining why I refused to kill him.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The Law School Fall Semester is drawing to a close. After the holidays, the final semester (for most) coincides with Bar Exam preparation and it's crunch time. I choose this chapter of matriculation to reflect my personal sentiments regarding the students in my class. My predicate are the vibes I picked up on day one, which have consistently graphed upwards, reflecting steadily increasing enthusiasm for the curriculum.

My students, using that phrase for descriptive purposes, are terrific. They are attentive, diligent and thirst for knowledge. And, very importantly, they are surprised by the opportunity and, indeed, welcome the invitation to laugh while they learn. These two philosophies are neither inconsistent nor inappropriate. On the contrary, they can be mutually reinforcing if presented in an harmonious mix. Consider, they are both natural instincts, on the plus side of life. The immersing of positive moods is consistent, in a not-so-strange way, with the splitting of an atom. Don't laugh--I mean laugh all you want--it's good for you. I've tested this notion in a variety of seemingly uninviting circumstances: a pressure-packed jury trial, as a Judge presiding over a crowded courtroom, and, yes in a classroom. The essential elements are the ability to make people smile, coupled with proper taste. It's a dynamic duo and one which I have found promotes an atmosphere most conducive to a desire to listen and remember. And it ain't all that common. Hooray for mavericks. Whatever the task, if you enjoy doing it, you'll do it well. A happy job is not synonymous with work.

Thus, I have intentionally strayed from the norm. I try to teach and simultaneously entertain, and unless I'm being misled, it works. And if the students enjoy class, then I do, all the more. Humor is a most effective tool, even in academia. Pressure and stress shall never know famine. Let's row against that tide, shall we?

Which brings me back to gratitude. Which is what I owe my students. Causing them to laugh while contributing to their education, is is a maximum turn-on for which I owe them big time. Their faces say it all and every semester brings a repeat. They enjoy our time together and their education is furthered. I thank them.

Is it any wonder that I whistle to and from the Law School?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I woke up this morning to find Kim Kardashian in bed beside me. It was inevitable. Hey, let's face it, the ugliest guy in the world I'm not. And she's been stalking me for months, the restraining order, notwithstanding. Nevertheless, I was crushed when her recent marriage to Freddy Krueger didn't pass the test of time. She worked hard to make it work. She cooked--oh how she cooked for him. She was a very religious cook. Everything she made was a sacrifice--her burnt offering. She was the only woman in the world who could burn a stove. She didn't make pot roast, she made roast pot. Only she could screw-up cornflakes. And, you had to admit that he was nuts over her. Sadly, they were married by candlelight but it only lasted a wick.

It wasn't that I chose to look down at her, I had to. You see, I used to be a vaudeville contortionist. In order to make myself more limber, I had my backbone removed. I had the space for my missing backbone filled with mercury. At room temperature I stood about 5'11''. On hot days, I'd shoot up to about 6'4''. One winter day, I shriveled to 3'' and was almost dragged away by the cat. Even when she wore stiletto shoes, she just about reached my poopick.

My favorite episode of her reality show was "The Kardashian Family Defecation." What togetherness.  They moved as one. And, believe it or not, when she was courting me, her mother didn't approve of my street roots and, one day, told me she thought I was crude. I shot back,"What is this crude shit?" That night, when I drove her home, I spoke with great tenderness.
"You're the first girl I've ever kissed," I said, as I shifted gears with my knees. It all ended the night she laughed when I sat down to play. I had no idea the bathroom door was open.


The first time I met Herman Cain, I wanted to buy his head for my rock garden. I had heard that when he was born, the doctor didn't know which end to slap. He told me about his memory problem.
"I've completely lost it. I remember nothing. I can be talking about something, and as soon as I'm finished, I don't remember what I was talking about."
I asked, "How long have you been suffering from this?"
He replied, "How long have I been suffering from what?"
I gave him some mental exercises to perform and wished him luck. Three months later, I saw him trying to sell pizza to Vito Corleone. When he saw me, he hugged me and began whispering in my ear for the longest time. "Be cool. To me, you're a horse." He went on in this manner, as if my ear was his sanctuary. I neighed for a carrot.
"I shall always be grateful to you, dear ear. You have cured me. My memory has returned. I remember everything. As a matter of fact, there are only three things in the whole world that I can't remember. I can't remember names. I can't remember faces. And I can't remember the third thing."
I told him to put his hands in his pockets and get a hold of himself. He had just returned from Germany where he had tried, in vain, to meet, hire and promote  a woman. He kept muttering,"Nein on the Rhine. Nein on the Rhine." I tried to cheer him up. "Expose your accusers." It didn't work. He just shook his head sadly. "I'd rather expose myself."
I got my camera at the ready. I would possess the world's first shot of a pepperoni putz.

What great movies these vignettes could be. I would, of course, secure the exclusive contractual rights to play (with) myself.

Monday, November 14, 2011


On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, a member of a prominent law school staff sent out an email soliciting "much needed supplies to be put in care packages to be sent to deployed troops." The email specifically mentioned that one law school student, deployed to Afghanistan, would be a recipient. A member of the faculty reacted rather strongly:

"The solicitation email was a political statement, although cast as support for student activities........I think it is shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings.......The politics of that solicitation are that war is legitimate, perhaps inevitable, and that patriotic Americans should get behind our troops. We need to be more mindful of what message we are sending as a school. Since September 11, we have had perhaps the largest (American) flag in New England hanging in our atrium. This is not a politically neutral act. Excessive patriotic zeal is a hallmark of national security states. It permits, indeed encourages, excesses in the name of national security, as we saw during the Buch administration and which continue during the Obama administration."
The professor further criticizes unnecessary foreign invasions by the U.S. and questions our sending support to the military instead of Americans who are losing their homes due to the economic collapse.

It is not my intention to engage the professor in a wide ranging political debate. His anti-war sentiment is a worthy matter for discussion. What takes me aback is the apparent basis and catalyst for his broadside against our servicemen and our flag.

We are at war. We are at war with terrorists. The signal event was the attack on 9/11. It was not the first act of war by terrorists against the U.S. but it maximized our awareness of the threat to our homeland. Our troops are fighting those who have sworn allegiance to our destruction. They are killing those who are sworn to kill us. These dedicated men and women are sacrificing their lives so that we can be safe on our own soil. They put themselves in harms way not for self-aggrandizement but to preserve our liberties  which, ironically, permit their being criticized by those of the professor's ilk. Their devotion to the protection of our country constitutes nobility which cannot be surpassed. Where do we get such men? I stand in awe of them. Whenever I see one of our troops, I approach and say, "God bless you." The inevitable response is "Thank you, sir." Their foes are insane radicals who deem it an honor to blow themselves up so as to inflict damage on us. They face and slay this dragon every day. I pray for their safety, these bravest of men and women. How can a national fight for survival be denigrated? And how can our troops, exhibiting the utmost bravery under heinous conditions, not receive our boundless admiration and gratitude? To disrespect those who risk their lives for their country  is, to me, unfathomable. I shall support them in any and every way I can. They are in my prayers every night.

The American flag makes me proud. Its size has no bearing on what it symbolizes. Whether hanging on a front yard porch, as a lapel pin, as a rear windshield adornment or yes, even as the largest flag in New England hanging in a law school atrium, it is the flag to which I pledge allegiance. With its history, it shall always represent the grandeur of America and its glory shall in no way be diminished by how many proudly fly. We are a Democracy concerned with our national security---not a national security state.

Now, in the wake of Veterans Day, for an intra- school solicitation of care packages to cause such a negative discourse on the role and purpose of our troops, warrants the suggestion that there is something wrong with the professor's picture.

A patriot is defined as a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies and detractors.

Our armed forces personnel are patriots who risk life and limb in protecting us against murdering zealots. Disapproval of our foreign policy does not justify abandoning their support. Try explaining that connection to a Gold Star Mother.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

Our troops are fighting, ready to sacrifice their lives, to protect our cherished freedoms. Questioning our support for them should not be sparked by a solicitation for care packages.

That is what is shameful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Look at a field of grass.
Question: In which direction are the blades leaning?
Answer: Depends on which way the winds are blowing, at that given moment.

An allegation of wrongdoing is picked up by the media. The focus intensifies and becomes partisan, the usual disclaimers, notwithstanding. Citizenry interest is molded into concurrence. The news coverage is thorough but inevitably comes down on one side. The population adheres. The other side of the story, and there always is one, is not afforded equal treatment.

The initial result is the institution of criminal proceedings. Many people want to be on the jury. During the impanelment, most deny ever being exposed to media pronouncement. They'll be able to decide the case solely on the evidence adduced at trial. They seek confirmation of their prematurely formed position. They have become the blades of grass. If the jury is not sequestered, the influence of media winds is not diminished. Despite being instructed to the contrary, newspapers will be read. The case will be discussed with family and close friends. A cynical observation, but that's the way it tends to be.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to due process of law. Due Process means fairness. The above scenario is not fair. It takes place in the court of public opinion. The remedy? Keep an independent open mind. Formulate an opinion only when all the facts are ascertained. And that is not subject to any short cut.

For, if a jury's verdict flies in the face of media opinion, that will never be the predicate for a new trial.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


What should be required of a lawyer who wants to be a judge? What are the mandatory makings of a "good" judge? What type of person should the aspirant be? What ingredients, if missing, preclude the bearings of a jurist?

A judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the parties of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of each side, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgement. (emphasis supplied).

Thus, the prospective judge must graduate law school, pass the bar exam and be admitted to the Bar of a state, thereby assuring, or at least presuming, a knowledge of, or familiarity with, the law.

But that's only the half of it. For he must also have experienced, in his own life, the practical ways of the world, the conduct and custom of life on the street, far from the maddening crowds of libraries and classrooms. It is not enough to be intelligent, he must also be SMART, an attribute attained by meeting and having contact with diverse classes of people. He should be just as comfortable playing poker and drinking beer with friends and neighbors, as he would be at a professorial dinner party, inhaling the air of intellectualism. Are there such persons on the Bench today, before whom (young) lawyers appear? That question must stand or fall on the reputation of each individual jurist. Nor are there any cut-off dates for tallies, for people can change as their life's experiences change. We are what we have gone through.Valuable lessons may be learned from mistakes while good deeds sometimes backfire.

It may be summarized thusly: the most valuable preparation for a trial judge is to have been a trial litigator himself. Only then will he be equipped to appreciate the extreme degree of preparation, the investment of self, the long arduous non-glamerous hours of late night work and the great stress enthusiastically assumed by the advocate as he readies himself for the ultimate battle in the courtroom. Without this ability to empathise, a trial judge observes, but he does not see. He listens, but does not hear. The reservoir into which he taps for resolution is substantively barren. And that effectuates a formidable obstacle for litigating lawyers who dare to strive for FAIRNESS.

A case pretty much in point:

A young man's parents retained me to represent him in a case scheduled for trial the very next day. The attorney initially retained had concluded that jail time could not be avoided and intended to have the son plead guilty and beg for mercy. The facts and relevant law presented a rather complicated situation which I shall not set forth lest I stray from the issue at hand: the proclivities of judges plucked from the public sector. Perhaps another post.

I explained that I would accept their money only if I could obtain a continuance of the case. Preparation was necessary and the necessity of obtaining expert testimony would have to be explored. The parents understood and agreed. We all met at Court the following morning.

The sitting judge was the First Justice of this particular District Court and the word was that he absorbed and believed his self evaluation. Here comes the judge--prepare to part the Red Sea.
I knew him. He had been a staff lawyer for the Board of Bar Overseers, the organization designed to police allegations of attorney misconduct. Our paths had crossed on more than one occasion, when I had represented lawyers accused of violating professional ethics. We had gotten along well. My impression was that we shared mutual respect. This was a good sign.

When the case was called, I addressed him directly, setting forth the circumstances attending my appearance before him. I asked for a one week continuance.

"Counsel, you are aware that this case is scheduled for trial today. I am always attentive to case management. You are an attorney of many years experience. I am sure that your study of the case, during the intervening hours since you were first approached by the defendant, has afforded you ample time to ably represent him. This case is going forward--today. Request for continuance is denied. Trial commences after the morning recess."

I couldn't believe it. This pompous ass was completely ignoring the practicalities of the situation. It was parental panic time. I told them to be calm, that I was not yet conceding the point. As other cases were being addressed, I approached the Clerk, whose path I had crossed during years of tilling the soil, and whispered, quite imploringly,"Tommy, you've got to get me into the lobby when he takes his break. It concerns Mr. Green." He was a veteran of the wars and he understood. I got my lobby conference.

It was just about S.R.O. The clerk, chief court officer, probation officer, court stenographer and, of course, the judge, himself. It was not a leisurely atmosphere. He was taking no chances of a "you said, I said."

"Counsel, you wanted to see me?"

"I did, Your Honor, and I thank you." The hell with it. Don't fail for lack of effort. Go for it.
"Judge, you and I know each other. We're not strangers. We've had cases together before you took the bench. I never threw you any curve balls and you treated me the same way. Nothing ended on a bad note. Please remember those days and understand that if I can't get this case continued, I get no fee. This is important to me. You know how it is, office expenses that don't go away, hedge-hopping from one case to another, the inconsistencies of income in the criminal defense business, while survival is the name of the game. I want this fee. Speaking candidly with you, I need this fee. My request for a seven day continuance is not unreasonable. This court will not shut down if you grant my request. You're still an attorney, after all, and I ask for consideration, from one lawyer to another."

His face was red. He was very uncomfortable, as he should have been, in front of witnesses to his arrogance. He lowered his gaze to the top of his desk. You could hear the ticking of the Roman numeral clock on the wall. His expression became one of resignation. He said,"All right. One week."
The clerk noted the docket appropriately, and shot me an imperceptible wink.

I got my fee. Imploring him on bended knee should never have been necessary. Never having experienced it himself, the travails of a practicing attorney were foreign to him.

My saving grace was the realization that, between the two of us, he had been the more embarrassed.

He had been absent the day real life was taught.