Novels & TV
“Ally! There you are! Listen, I have a few, um, files for you…” Ling said as she
dropped a huge stack of folders on Ally’s desk. “What the…?” Ally started, but Ling cut her off. “You wouldn’t mind, would you? That would reeeally help me out a lot… thanks!” she said before Ally was the given to chance to reply. Ling cheerfully exited as Ally growl-burped at her and looked down at the heap of papers on her desk. “Damn damn damn…” she mumbled to herself. Her frustration growing, she stood up and yelled out again – “Damn damn damn!!!”. She sat down and dug her hand deep into her purse, pulling out two receipts & a Jolly Rancher. Popping it into her mouth, she stood up and walked out from behind her desk. When she opened the door, all of the firm’s members’ eyes met hers in a split second. “Ally?” Richard asked, making his most believable puppy eyes at her. “… Not that it’s in my fashion to care, but is something… how do I say this? – wrong?” “NO. Ask HER.” she glared and pointed at Ling, and he, somewhat scared of what was to come, quietly sat down. “HER has a name…” Ling snapped. “Really? What is it?” Ally answered, her voice rising. Ling turned away and everyone else looked down, avoiding Ally’s glances. “Alright everybody, enjoy your handful… I’m off to do REAL work…” Nelle broke the rather heavy silence. “Whatever…” Ally replied, walking out of her doorway towards the elevator. “You have real work to do, I have real coffee to drink… Mental note to all of you – never, I repeat – NEVER, let Richard near the cappuccino machine AGAIN!” she yelled, slamming her thumb against the floor button. The doors closed, and all fell silent…
“I’d like a double cappuccino, please…” Ally said as she approached the counter at the coffee shop. “Sure, tonight around 7, the Fairwood… Pick you up at home?” A tall, handsome twentysomething guy looked down at her, and she let out a faint smile. He smirked, and noticing her discomfort, added “I’m just kidding…” “I sure hope so…” Ally mumbled to herself, but changed her frown to a pleasant smile as she handed the guy a 5 dollar bill. “Keep the change.” She added quietly. “Really? You’ve gotta be kidding!!! I think I just might close early today!” he replied, obviously enjoying his own sarcasm. “Ha. Funny. Thank you, and goodbye.” Ally snapped as she grabbed her coffee and exited.
“Ally dearest, did you get your morning coffee the way you wanted it?” Richard asked sarcastically. “YES. Thank you for… nothing. For asking.” Ally passed him, not even bothering to look up. Realizing she’s been going just a *bit* overboard on the bitchy attitude, she stopped and turned around to face him. “I’m… sorry. Cases, files, the jerk at the coffee shop – you know…” “The cases thing I can get, but the “jerk at the coffee shop” has never really bugged me…” he answered. She looked up at him, raised one eyebrow, shook her head as if to get rid of any (ahem) thoughts and proceeded into her office. Richard just sat there with a puzzled look on his face for a few minutes, then looked over at the closed door of Ally’s office. “Bygones…” he said aloud, and quietly went into the conference room…
“Alright, cases… Billy – the, um, thing… the custody battle. How’s that going?” Richard started the meeting, inquiring about each case separately. “Great, actually… They’re planning to settle today, in which case Mrs. Rostelle gets to keep Ashleigh. All problems from here on are just a matter of paperwork & signatures.” Billy answered rather cheerfully, and looked over at Georgia sitting across at him. The two exchanged romantic glances, and Georgia giggled. “Someone got lucky last night…” Elaine whispered to Ally as she entered with a few folders. “What? Oh… ew!” Ally answered, and looked up with disgust. Elaine just shrugged and smiled.
“Moving on… Ally, Nelle has all the papers for you… she will explain your case…”
“Why Nelle?” Ally inquired.
“She’s got the paperwork & all… Whatever. Talk to her later. Georgia, how was the sex – er, the meeting yesterday?” Richard winked at Elaine, and she winked back. “FINE, Richard… everything’s fine. The case was dismissed, and Roberts got what he wanted…” “Oh, from what I heard, it was more than “fine”…Bygones…” Richard replied quietly, though everyone heard him. “Richard!” Ally & Georgia both snapped at the same time, and he just moved his eyes to the left – where Billy was sitting. “You!” Georgia suddenly exclaimed, pointing at her husband. “What?” he asked. “May I have a… WORD with you outside?” she growled. Billy looked up innocently at her, and understanding that puppy eyes won’t get him outta this one easily, he looked at Richard with a pleading ‘Help!’ in his glance. Richard just shrugged, and John (who to this point was sitting silently in the corner) took a moment, mumbling “Peter Piper” under his breath. Georgia was extremely angry, and Billy decided not to waste any more of her patience… Quietly, he exited, and she followed him out, slamming the door. “Billy Thomas was a good friend and a great lawyer… We will miss him greatly… ” Richard said in a eulogy-like tone...
“You did WHAT?!?!” Georgia was hysterical. “I… might’ve… a few details might’ve escaped…” Billy tried to explain everything to her calmly, but she wouldn’t listen. “’A FEW DETAILS’??? Richard basically got a screenplay of last night!!! I – I can’t believe this… The next thing I know, the whole office will know your “few details”…” She sat down, and in a few moments looked up at him with a horrified glance. “The whole office DOES know?!” She yelled. He looked down guiltily, carefully examining his shoes. “My god, Billy, I can’t believe you’d do this!!!” she was close to tears, and he couldn’t think of anything to say, so he just sat there quietly. “WHY?” she asked, her voice trembling, two teardrops – one on each cheek – streaming down her face. She was more angry than hurt, yet at the time her emotions were too mixed with one another for her to separate them… she herself didn’t quite understand why she was crying, but the tears seemed to drive some of the anger out of her system. Up until now, Billy didn’t quite get how serious she was about this – he thought she’d just yell at him, and even had a perfect scenario for making up all planned out, but the one thing he wasn’t expecting were tears… She rarely cried. This meant it was extremely serious.
He pulled up a chair and sat across from her. As he tried to brush hair away from her face & look into her eyes, she pushed his hand away. “Baby, I’m really sorry… I really don’t know what else to say…” Though he seemed really sincere this time (and he was), she couldn’t just let it drop that easily. “A one-liner won’t get you out of this…” she said, not bothering to look up. “What do I have to do?” he asked.
“See, THAT’S your problem… I’m not going to be your relationship tutor. Figure this one out for yourself…” she snapped as she stood up and stormed out.
Ally looked up to see Georgia exit Billy’s office. She looked over at Elaine, who looked back and decided not to comment. “Georgia…” Ling addressed her, trying to seem sympathetic as she walked out. “Don’t ‘Georgia’ me… I don’t buy your “I’m so sorry” looks. Just state your problem and be gone…”
“Won’t bother…” Ling said calmly, turning away. “You don’t have to be so mean about it!”
“Well, here’s a flash – I learned from YOU, Ling.” Georgia growled back.
“THAT was a HARD G.”
“Which is exactly what you deserved…”
“I smell another drama brewing… what should I find out?” Elaine asked rather cheerfully as she handed Ally a few case files. “Probably nothing… let them work this out on their own. We should stay out of it…” “But – “ “No buts… just leave them alone. They’re having enough problems as is.”
“Ally! I’ve been searching all over for you…” Nelle exclaimed as she walked into Ally’s office, trying to portray fatigue.
“Oh. How awful.” Ally replied sarcastically.
“I’ll let that one pass, but only because we have a client meeting coming up in - ” she glanced at her watch “- 8 minutes.”
“What? I didn’t even get the case!”
“Well, here it is: Mr. Pelnet is suing his former friend, Mr. Werts, for using his identity in a book and soon-to-be TV show.”
“Ahh, I see. And we’re representing the crazy one or the crazy one?”
“The crazy one. Werts.”
“The defense is…?”
“Um, none as of yet. Right now our main goal is to try & sweettalk Pelnet into settling.”
“You’ve GOTTA be kidding! You’re saying someone’s life is worth 50 thousand dollars?”
“No, but the right to use a frighteningly similar life in a book IS…”
“Whatever. We’re gonna hafta raise it to at least 100 if we want any hope of settling…”
“Maybe so, but it never hurts to try.”
“Mr. Pelnet, we don’t want to drag anyone through the mud – all we’re asking is that you give us permission to use your… um, life in the book & TV show.” Nelle tried to reason, but Jared Pelnet wouldn’t listen.
“He should’ve asked for permission before he even began writing it…”
“He does have a point…” Ally leaned over and whispered to Nelle.
“May I ask – what do you hope to gain with this lawsuit?”
“Money. And the cancellation of his book.”
“Look, it’s just a fictitious novel!” Paul Werts exclaimed.
“But you DO admit that you used my client’s life in it…” Pelnet’s sleazy lawyer asked Werts.
“I never denied that. But, sir, all writers have inspirations. You don’t just make up a totally new, never-before-done character! All writers write “off of” somebody…”
“Yes, but it’s one thing to use someone’s personality as an “inspiration”. It’s totally another to write someone’s biography and exaggerate the facts!”
“What?! I never exaggerated anything!” Werts protested.
“Look,” Nelle cut off Pelnet, who was just about to state his opinion in not the friendliest of ways, “Mr. Pelnet, if money’s the issue, we can settle.”
“No!” Werts yelled.
“Yes!” Ally & Nelle snapped at him.
“If it’s the cancellation of the book you want more – why not just leave it as it is? You won’t be harmed in the process, and Paul will be able to support his family.”
“Ms. Porter, you’re so wrong. I WILL be harmed in the process. I don’t want every single intimate fact about my life out in the open. Moreover, I don’t want it on prime-time TV. Would YOU want YOUR life shown to millions of people?”
“Well, he DOES have a point…” Georgia commented as they were discussing the case later that day. Obviously referring to the incident earlier, she added “I wouldn’t want MY life out in the open… Of course, right now I really have no control over that, DO I, Billy?” She shot him an angry glance. She’d calmed down since that morning, but was still extremely pissed. She’d gotten enough “that’s her” looks that day to last her a lifetime.
“Guys, guys!” Nelle broke off that branch of the conversation before Billy was able to reply. “Drop it. Discuss it later…”
“I agree with Pelnet as well. I wouldn’t want my life written or taped and shown to millions of people.” John said rather quietly. Nelle grinned devilishly at him, a sexy twinkle in her eyes. “Why’s that?”
“I’ll tell you later…” he smiled back.
“I wouldn’t care…” Elaine said as she handed everyone coffee. “My life would make for quite an interesting book, actually… Though it’s probably better described better verbally than visually, so I wouldn’t agree to the TV thing.”
“What about Ally?” Richard asked, smirking. Everyone exchanged glances and smiled. “Ally’s life would be… interesting…”
Just as they shared this thought, Ally ran into the conference room. “Nelle! They settled it! The case is dropped, the book will be published, the TV show’ll be filming next month, and everybody’s back to being friends again!”
“Great lawyers everyone! I say – down to the bar!” Richard exclaimed, and everyone agreed. Now was the time to celebrate!
“I think my life would be an instant hit if incorporated into the media world! I mean, think about it – a thirtysomething lawyer & her friends argue all sorts of crazy cases, battle law & love and find ways out of the most confusing situations!” Ally said, laughing.
“Ally, I think you, um, overdid it a bit in the martini department…” Renee replied as Ally shot down another glass.
“We deserve it!” Nelle explained, rather drunk herself.
“I can see it now – “Ally McBeal”, Monday nights on Fox…” Ally giggled at the thought.
“Why ‘Ally McBeal’? Why not “Cage & Fish & Associates”?” Richard asked, trying to sound hurt.
“’Cause! I’m… Ally! The one and only! I mean, there are a million shows about law firms… try and find ONE that focuses on someone specific, and yet still has all these other people intertwined into the plot…”
Everyone nodded. Good point.
“Plus, people would find lots and lots of stuff to nitpick – my love life, my skirts, my attitude… When people are discussing something, it means they’re watching it, which ultimately they – to a degree – like it. They may not admit it, but it’s true…”
Billy stood up and walked up to Georgia, taking her hand. “Dance? I promise to let everyone in the office know what a great kisser you are…” She smiled and kissed him.
“Ew…” Ling started, but quickly took Ally’s cue to shut up.
“Like that?” Georgia asked, looking into Billy’s eyes.
“Exactly…” he smiled at her, and the two went out onto the dance floor.
“One thing I can tell you for sure…” Ally told everyone seated at the table, “is that our lives would make a helluva TV show…”
(c) Alex K., 2000.