A Town without Lawyers – Excerpt

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story takes place on the newly risen (or maybe re-risen) Continent of Atlantis sometime in the 2500’s. It is totally fictional. Any resemblance to anything happening now is a horrible mistake.

Urma Understanding was working late at her office in Tranquility Town’s quaint Mongoose District. She took a few minutes from the motion she was composing to watch the sun disappear over the gently curving peaks of the Veracity Hills. It was the custom among many Atlantians to stop whatever they were doing for a few minutes to watch the sunset – which was considered by many to be the best time to pray. Having just finished their shift, the Daytime Gods were in a good mood as they began their Happy Hour, while the Nighttime Gods were still fresh and alert, having just arrived at work.

Since Urma never discussed her religious views, it is unknown which, if any, of the many Atlantian deities she prayed to, or what she might pray for. However, since business had been painfully slow lately, it is likely that her wish list included new clients. If so, she should have been more specific in her prayers.

Her sunset ritual was suddenly interrupted by the annoying ring of the office phone. Running back inside, she grabbed it on the fourth ring, and answered with her standard greeting, “good evening, Peace & Love.” (This was before she became a partner, expanding the firm’s name to “Peace, Love & Understanding.”)

“Urma, you’ve got to help me,” pleaded the woman caller’s tearful voice – a voice Urma couldn’t quite place.

“Who is this?”

“This is Teresa. Teresa Truth. Socrates has been arrested.”

Urma now recognized the caller’s voice. Socrates Truth was one of Urma’s classmates at the Utopia University School of Law. He had been captain of the Moot Court team, and an assistant editor of the UU Law Review. Upon graduation, he declined offers from several of the large firms in Atlantis City and Brotherly Love, choosing instead to hang up his shingle in the quaint coastal village of North Beach, along the rugged and sparsely populated northeast coast of the Continent. (Editor’s Note: Inhabitants of Atlantis often referred to their land as “The Continent of Atlantis,” or sometimes just “the Continent,” although most geographers did not consider the land mass large enough to deserve that title.) Shortly after that, he married his childhood sweetheart, Teresa. The few times Urma had talked to them since the wedding, they seemed happy – enjoying the simpler, more peaceful lifestyle of a small town over the higher income but higher stress levels of a big city. But now it seemed that their life was not so simple and peaceful.

“What was he arrested for?” asked Urma.

“For practicing law. He appeared in court this morning to represent a homeless lady being sued by a credit card company. The judge ordered him to leave the courtroom, but he refused to.”

“How can he be arrested for practicing law? He’s still a licensed attorney, isn’t he?”

“Of course,” replied Teresa, “but haven’t you heard? The city just passed a new ordinance banning lawyers.”

Why did North Beach ban lawyers? Will Urma agree to represent Socrates? If so, how can she help him in A Town Without Lawyers? For the answers to these and many other questions, stay tuned for the next episode, coming to you in only 30 days (or whenever the author can get it written, whichever comes first).

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