Resurrection -- Chapter 3
He awoke early the next morning and went straight to campus. He walked by the building where his Cognitive Thinking class was in session and went to the library, where he withdrew a couple of books about the Reformation and the Middle Ages. From there he went on to the student center, where he sat down with a cup of coffee and commenced reading. He became engrossed, and an hour passed in a moment. Then he sensed someone standing over him, and heard a familiar voice say: “How was the party? You never called. Did you go?”
“Ah, Paddy. I did go,” he confessed; “and I did call,” he lied. “I left you a message with my number and the time and address of the party, then haven’t heard from you till this moment.”
“That message was never left on my machine,” Paddy protested. “I would have gone.”
“Maybe I did dial the number you gave me wrong,” Richard speculated. “It sounded like your voice, but I couldn’t really tell. It was an inadvertent oversight and I apologize. You didn’t miss much of any rally, and I spent most of the night outside having beers with this guy I met. There are plenty more parties and gatherings coming, and we’ll go. Keep me in mind if you hear of anything.”
“Actually, my father is hosting a little shindig this Friday night.” Richard’s eyes lit up and his ears perked. “You’d be more than welcome,” Paddy invited.
“Maybe I just will,” Richard replied. “What’s the occasion?”
“It’s a birthday bash for several family members,” Paddy explained. “Our parties are a blast. My father plays the baritone with his brass band and we drink a lot of wine and sing and dance and have a ball.”
“Then count me in. How was your cognitive thinking class?” Richard asked.
“The only thing you missed was getting your grade dropped to a B,” Paddy quipped, thinking himself clever.
“Hm,” Richard murmured. His mind drifted off in thought, and there was an awkward lull. Finally he realized that Paddy was staring at him, and said: “Well, I’m going to return to my reading. You’re welcome to get some coffee and sit with me, but I want to get through this book.”
Paddy bought himself a coffee, and another for Richard, then sat down. He was hoping more conversation would arise, but Richard was intent on his pages. Paddy wasn’t able to concentrate on his own work, and after a while reaffirmed the invitation, wrote down his number for Richard and vanished into the day.
They ran into each other after Paddy’s class again on Wednesday and Friday, the morning of the party, when Richard assured him he’d be there. Paddy was noticeably pleased.
Later that evening, Richard rode his bicycle out to the address. The O’Maddys lived in a very large, stately home, as imposing as it was impeccably maintained. But Paddy was by the door awaiting his arrival, put him at ease from the outset, and led him into the friendly indoors.
“Will you have beer or whiskey?” Paddy asked. “We are Irish, you know.”
“I’ll start with a stout to knock myself out,” Richard jested.
Paddy fetched them two bottles and began introducing him to his family and friends.
“I can’t wait to meet the judge,” Richard remarked.
“I can’t wait to introduce you, and he’s right in here,” Paddy eagerly answered. He brought Richard into the parlor where his father was holding forth to an engaged audience. But before the introduction could be made, his father and some fellow musicians picked up their horns and broke into a song. There was booze in the air as the blues filled their ears. Then they exploded into a livelier song, and the crowd started dancing and shouting along. Richard got carried away with excitement, and after washing down a whiskey with beer, he seized two empty hors d’oevre platters and began smashing them together like cymbals. Everyone gradually began to stare as he began belting out improvised lyrics.
At last they all ran out of steam. The band took a break and Paddy took Richard straightway to his father. “Father, this is my friend Richard that I told you about. Richard, this is the Honorable Rory O’Maddy.”
“A great pleasure to me,” Richard gushed. “Your band is fantastic. I’m sorry if my banging those platters upset you. I was in the moment, and something I sensed in you said that you wouldn’t mind. Was I right?”
“Indeed, lad,” Rory replied. “I don’t. But don’t start smashing my crystal.”
“No, sir, not now,” Richard said. “I got it all out of my system, thanks to you.”
“Paddy tells me you finished high school in three years on your own. That’s very impressive,” the judge said.
“I’m strongly considering law school,” Richard added. “Maybe some day I could pick your brain.”
“Maybe later tonight,” Rory answered. “For now I’ve a houseful of guests to attend. Continue to enjoy yourself.”
He wandered off, and Richard and Paddy mixed in with the crowd.
At a punch bowl Richard reached for the ladle at the same moment as a gorgeous lass. He filled her glass while she introduced herself. “Fiona Cleough.”
She explained that Paddy was her cousin and Rory her uncle, and that she was a clerk at the court house, where she did some filing and other such desk work. He poured out more punch and they sat down nearby. They had been talking for a while when Richard revealed his growing dream of becoming a lawyer.
“Well, you are very articulate,” she complimented. “I like that.”
“Why thank you,” he replied. “You speak with a lovely tongue as well.”
She giggled and blushed. A firm hand landed on Richard’s shoulder, and he looked up to see the judge.
“Richard was just telling me about his plans for law school,” she explained.
“I know, that’s just what I came over to ask him about,” her uncle answered. He was clearly inebriated.
“I’m considering it” he said to the judge. “I’m also contemplating studying for the bar on my own.”
“High school in three years is a great achievement, but don’t get ahead of yourself, lad,” the judge chidingly said.
“Maybe I am, but I wouldn’t be the first,” he replied.
Fiona looked at her watch, and announced: “I really must be going. Mother said to be out front at eleven thirty; it’s eleven forty five now. I’m certain she’s waiting.”
“That she is,” Rory confirmed. “I just said good night to her.”
She looked at Richard and said: “I greatly enjoyed meeting you, and hope to see you again.”
“I’ll make sure of it,” Richard answered, standing up to show her off.
“She’s a lovely girl, my niece,” the judge said.
“That she is,” Richard answered.
“Now where were we?” the judge asked.
“You were warning me against trying to teach myself law,” Richard answered. “This morning in my reading I came across eminent domain. Have you ever encountered it from the bench?”
“Not directly—no one’s ever offered me enough cash,” the judge said with a chuckle. “Sorry, it’s a judicial joke. Eminent domain is one of the more ambiguous points of law, and upon which many a loophole has been expanded and explored. It is a necessary aspect of progress that leaves occasional collateral damage, and is exploited easily, and often. It widens government’s reach while strengthening its grip. Do you have some land in mind to grab?”
“No, not necessarily…I’m just curious about the points of law,” he answered.
“Well, if you phrased it prettily and properly, you could make almost any argument augment any ruling. You can use the law to pave way through a house for a bridge, or to trample more paradise.”
Richard felt the last three words. The judge perceived, and stared back curiously. They pulled away slowly from each other, then the judge fetched an Irish whisky bottle and two glasses and poured drinks.
“This is a magnificent house,” Richard observed. “Brilliant. A most suitable setting for a fabulous party.”
“Well, thank you,” Rory answered, then suddenly became morose. He appeared to be choking up.
“Are you all right?” Richard asked.
“I’m fine, fine…I’m alright,” he assured. He gulped more whisky. “That’ll do me.” He composed himself. “You said the party was fantastic, but the party may have been the last.”
“Howso? Why is that?”
Rory was pointedly direct. “I have a weakness for wagers, and five years ago I had to remortgage the place, and my continued weakness for wagers has pushed it perilously close to default.”
“I understand,” Richard said. “Isn’t there anything that can be done?”
“Sure, find me some money to pay the mortgage and I’ll find the money to throw another party. Short of that, not much.”
Paddy suddenly joined them. At seeing his son, Rory immediately shed the sullen visage and feigned to be of good cheer. “Well, lad, another party another rousing success, I’d say.”
“It was,” Paddy concurred.
“Let me leave you two now,” Rory said, standing up. “Richard, it was a pleasure, and if you have any more legal questions feel free to drop by my office in the courthouse.”
“I just may do that,” he replied. “And thank you again for having me.” Rory left and Richard turned to Paddy. “Your family knows fun. So where did you get off to, anyway?”
“I had a couple of beers with some mates. You do know that Fiona is my cousin,” Paddy said defensively.
“I did know that, yes. Why, is there some problem?” Richard asked.
“No, I just noticed you talking to her.”
“Are you being protective?” Richard asked. “Or jealous?”
“No,” he mumbled, “I didn’t mean that at all.”
“All I did was say hello to her, and if I hadn’t, and had ignored her, you’d have accused me of being rude, so tell me what you want me to do.”
Paddy was flustered.
“Sorry, mate, I don’t mean to browbeat you,” Richard said. “I spend more and more time thinking like a lawyer.” He shook Paddy’s hand then faced the door. “It’s late, I’m drunk and tired, and it’s time I staggered home. Thanks so much for inviting me. I’ll see you at school Monday.”