Lawyers, Car Dealers, and other Whores
Illustrated by Cait Maloney
“Stop clenching your jaw. Don’t grind your teeth, my dear,” Brantley snapped.
“Screw you, Brantley. You’re my divorce lawyer not my orthodontist.”
“Quite right, my dear Lola, and as such I am bound by oath to advise. Clenching one’s jaw and grinding one’s teeth is bad form in open court. It shows a want of control and costs points, luv. Need I mention chewing gum?”
“Jesus, Brantley, I’m getting a divorce not standing trial for murder. What you need to be concerned about is Bud. Bud’s smart; he’s no dummy. Yeah, yeah on those stupid TV commercials and he looks like an ass. He’s not. He’s fuckin’ smart, Brantley.”
Brantley Carmichael Esq. disliked his coarse client, Lola Stack Shoemaker, as much as she disliked her slimy divorce lawyer. But business was business and the two stood to gain substantially in Lola Stack’s divorce settlement from Winston Bud Shoemaker, Jr. sole proprietor of, Shoemaker Payday Loans, Shoemaker Funeral Home and Buddy Shoemaker’s Car City, the lucrative Buick/Toyota dealership. God how he loved going after another car dealer, unsophisticated, parvenu bastards – all of them. Brainless boys grown rich who thought with their pricks.
A scarce eight months earlier, the 29 year old showgirl had met the car dealer in Las Vegas. As a feathered back row dancer in a review she’d attracted his eye. Bud had sent her a note clipped to a Benjamin, the two met after her show, and my how things had clicked. Though bald and a paunchy 50 he spent big and was fun in bed. He went crazy with Lola’s variety of rather practiced professional antics. Sex was the one thing Lola did well. They’d played hard together for three days and nights when she decided to make her move.
“Let’s get married, sport.”
“Baby, you don’ wanna marry Bud Shoemaker. As a husband I’d suck, Toots. Hey, I’m a businessman. Back home all I’d do is ignore you. Come home late, screw, roll over then go to sleep. I’d be outta town a lot and screwing somebody else. That what you want?”
“Sounds okay to me,” Lola replied eyeing Bud’s flashy diamond solitaire.
Incredibly he’d fallen for it, and the two were married just hours later at the All Faiths Drive-in Chapel on Desert Inn Drive. “You go get in the car, Sugar. I got a surprise for you,” Bud urged as they finished their wedding ceremony with the customary kiss. “I got something I wanna take care of. Go on now.” Ten minutes later just when she had just begun to worry, Bud plopped into the front seat with a styrofoam bucket with iced champagne and two plastic champagne flutes. “I got this at the liquor store next door to the chapel. Ain’t Las Vegas great?” This was the first and the last romantic moment in their marriage.
From there it all went south. True to his word he ignored her. At home he was cheap and tight fisted. Lola was placed on a stinking $100 a week allowance. “Shit, you blow that much for lunch with your rummy salesmen, Bud. Where’s the car you promised, huh?” Sometimes he’d bring home a demonstrator for her to drive, but he’d make her leave the paper carpet protectors on the floor. Lola could depend on nothing. Other than driving around there was nothing to do in this stupid southern town. Bored, she suffered ennui and a constant mild depression. Twice she’d screwed the kid who cleaned the pool. Soon she fell into watching daytime television and then the five o’clock Margaritas crept up to one o’clock, then 11 in the morning. The soaps and tequila merely exacerbated the lassitude. If before she’d been a boor, now she’d become a full-fledged bitch, a drunken bitch to boot. When he showed up at home, Bud would receive a barrage of slurry curses, and always, “You bring me something to drive today, Mr. Big Shot car dealer?”
“You wanna car to drive get your butt down to the dealership and work like everybody else. It don’t take brains to wash cars, sweet cakes. Surprisingly, she appeared at the showroom the next afternoon so drunk that two salesmen had to help her to the couch in Bud’s office. “Lola , you need help. You think I’m gonna just up and give you a car, you’re crazy. Look at her, boys, ain’t she a picture? Who the hell you think I am, Oprah? Pat Sajack?”
“You’re my stingy fuckin’ husband and I don’t have to put up with this shit,” she’d screamed.
Lola had come to Brantley Carmichael because he currently enjoyed a reputation as one hot divorce lawyer. Last year his firm had pushed for and won a three million dollar divorce settlement for Loretta Massicotti, former wife of Anthony Massicotti owner of a Cadillac/Porche dealership in the capital. Front page news for a week, Lola was familiar with every detail of the case. The infamous motel photographs with the male prostitute, the black eye, and Massicotti’s well-known drinking binges and rumors of a cocaine habit.
From the onset Lola’s case had proceeded as smoothly as if it were moved along on ball bearings. The private detective had uncovered an absolute treasure trove for Brantley to work with. Mr. Winston Bud Shoemaker was indeed, as Lola alleged, involved in a torrid love affair. Brantley spread the glossy 8 X 10s on this credenza next to the incriminating video cassette. “Oh my how I love those Kodak moments.” Before them lay an array of the detective’s surreptitious work. Bud and his babe at the condo on the Gulf. Bud and his babe checking into the Riverwalk Hilton in New Orleans, Bud and his babe at the Astrodome, Bud and his babe at the MGM in Las Vegas. But the_ piece de resistance_ was the packet of photos and video of Bud and his babe aboard his pontoon boat “Missy Pissy”. The detective had, by means of a hidden video camera with a remote control, captured it all. Sights and sounds of the two actively engaged in sex. “Ah but this is rich, my dear, and if all goes well, you’ll be rich too,” Brantley squealed.
“Mr. Odom, you are Mr. Shoemaker’s attorney?”
“Yes, your honor.”
“Then Counselor, would you care to tell the court why your client has failed to attend the pretrial hearings?”
“Your honor, Mr. Shoemaker quite frankly suspected that his houseguest Lola was suffering from delusions…that she….well, your honor, to be candid, he thought she was crazy. The court may be aware of the allegations and photographs Mr. Carmichael and his client provided to the_ Mobile Register’s_ front page for the past week. Mr. Shoemaker was at the time urging her to seek professional medical help. We have affidavits from witnesses attesting to this. We’d hoped that this trial could be avoided.”
“Objection, your honor!”
“Overruled. Let’s get on with this. The court is ready to hear testimony why Lola Stack Shoemaker should be granted a divorce from Mr. Winston Bud Shoemaker. What do you have, Mr. Carmichael?”
“Your honor, may my client and I approach the bench a moment before beginning?”
“Come to the bench, Mr. Odom, Mr. Shoemaker.”
“Well, Mr. Big Shit Lawyer, see what we got? Nuthin”, not a goddamn cent. What’s gonna become of me, huh?”
“You? You’ve got your nerve. Because I listened to you I’m being sued for ten million dollars. To think of it. Publishing photographs of a man and his wife in bed together on the front page alleging specious charges – there’s something to worry about. If I get out of this with my skin, I’ll be lucky. I’m ruined because of you, you , you, you for Chrissakes, you were not even legally married!”
“How the hell was I to know? We were married. That sonofabitch probably paid the Vegas clerk fifty bucks to rip up everything in the chapel. They do that out there. And how was I s’posed to know he was really married to that bitch. Shit, turns out they got married in Pensacola three months after we got back from Vegas. Now I look like a common whore. I told you he was smart. Brantley, can you loan me $500, dear.”
“Stop clenching your jaw, and get the hell out of here.”