Michael was scrambling up the ladder at a giant D.C. law firm, but a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Who was this man? Michael did some digging and found a dirty secret.
Michael was in a hurry. He was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant
D.C. law firm with eight hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a
partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to
stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience.
But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney.
The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed in the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer.
And a thief.
The Street Lawyer
The man with the rubber boots stepped into the elevator behind me, but I didn't see him
at first. I smelled him though - the pungent odor of smoke and cheap wine and life on the
street without soap. We were alone as we moved upward, and when I finally glanced over I
saw the boots, black and dirty and much too large. A frayed and tattered trench coat fell
to his knees. Under it, layers of foul clothing bunched around his midsection, so that he
appeared stocky, almost fat. But it wasn't from being well fed; in the wintertime in D.C.,
the street people wear everything they own, or so it seems.
He was black and aging--his beard and hair were half-gray and hadn't been washed or cut in years. He looked straight ahead through thick sunglasses, thoroughly ignoring me, and making me wonder for a second why, exactly, I was inspecting him.
He didn't belong. It was not his building, not his elevator...
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