Alicia looked at the row of empty shot glasses on the bar and found the last one with tequila in it. She picked it up and after pondering it, she shot her head back and swallowed it down in a gulp. She slammed the glass down and gave the bar tender a pointed look.
He lifted up his hands as if she were about to smack him.
"I can't serve you anymore," he said, "You're clearly intoxicated. May I call you a cab?"
She just stared at him moodily and shook her head.
"No…I'm just not used to drinking alone," she said, "You see I usually meet my best friend Kalinda here on Friday nights but ever since I found out about her and my husband."
The bar tender nodded.
"Oh yes…you're married to the guy who sucked the hooker's toes. Or did she suck his toes; I can't remember how the story went."
Neither could Alicia after the fourth or fifth shot.
"I stood by him, did the whole stoic wife thing. I wasn't going to be like all those other wives fighting back tears on Ophrah or chasing a multi-million dollar publishing deal while my lawyer hosed my husband for alimony."
He furrowed his brow.
"But didn't you do Ophrah."
"Yes…but I was much more dignified. I got myself and my kids an apartment and I went to work with my old law school classmate Will at his firm. You've heard of Lockhart, Gardner and well, the last name's always changing."
"Maybe…you defended that guy who robbed every bar with a sawed off shotgun in this side of town," he said, "You got him a couple of years at that Club Fed place where he's got his own cable TV, catered meals and I've heard they have a golfing green."
All of it exaggerated Alicia thought as things started to get hazy. After all, her own husband, her soon to be ex-husband had spent a few months there. Not for sucking on a hooker's toes but for some corruption scam that sounded drier in the media than had the videos showing him with that hooker, Amber or some cheerleader style name like that. He had been cavorting with her and now Kalinda while Alicia had been stuck at home keeping their palacial estate in the suburbs and taking care of their two kids.
"As for Kalinda I trusted her, I didn't know she was my best friend until I told someone for the first time…and then I realized I don't have any friends. Sure she's a bit chilly, even stand offish but I never suspected…and besides I thought she was one of those…lesbians."
The bar tender shrugged.
"You just never know about anyone including those closest to you. I hear about it all the time here."
Alicia picked up one of the shot glasses to see if she'd missed even a few drops of tequila. She felt buzzed but not nearly enough. The one woman she thought her husband…soon to be ex-husband would be save with.
"Then Will…he's my boss and well…we did have an affair…but only because my husband cheated on me with my best friend."
"That'll do it."
"Well that's off because one of my kids…my daughter Grace almost caught us going at it in the copy room," she said, "The conference room was already in use because there's quite a few law firms lined up to do hostile takeovers of your firm. Diane and Eli…they were engaged in trying to oust Will who was trying to oust that guy who showed up last week."
The bartender started wiping the table off. She shot him a critical glance and he looked up at her.
"Go on…I'm set to close in an hour."
"Anyway, my husband, my soon to be ex-husband, he's this very important person."
"The state attorney right…he got reelected through the usual dirty tricks," the bartender said.
Alicia looked at him shocked.
The bartender smiled.
"The part about the guy who sucked the hooker's toes," he said, "It's all over You Tube and everywhere else."
"Well, you'd think he'd be grateful for all I did for him while he was with hookers and then the prosecution, not to mention him spending a few months in prison…but no, he takes total advantage of my goodness and is now trying to screw Will…not literally but by ruining his firm."
"That doesn't sound like our new…old and new state attorney not according to the commercials."
Alicia's face became lined.
"He's using the grand jury to go after everyone," she said, "and my chances of being partner are in ruins because Diane…the bleeding heart feminazi partner no longer trusts me."
"Feminazi…isn't that a bit harsh?"
Alicia laughed bitterly.
"She prides herself on being a ball buster and that just makes it harder on those of us who call ourselves that and then cave at the last moment…it's a tough world out there and well…she just makes the rest of us look like we're not trying enough."
The bartender poured himself a drink, a Scotch on the rocks and gulped it down.
"You know you might think you have it tough," he said, "but you're not the only hard luck story I've listened to tonight…even from a lawyer."
She looked totally confused.
"What…but my life totally sucks, who would have it worse than me?"
The bartender gestured towards the end of the bar where a man sat with a bottle of brandy.
"The guy sitting over there, he didn't even want a glass. Just the damn bottle, says the whole damn world is out to get him."
She looked over and blinked her eyes at what looked like Cary, the states prosecutor. The young man with the serious voice who she'd won the junior associate competition against two years ago. She'd used her husband's campaign manager to do it but it hadn't been personal. He'd carried a grudge against her since no matter how nice she acted towards him and him and Kalinda? Well, she didn't want to even go there. The woman with the high boots and the enigmatic attitude acted like she'd been harboring this major secret, when all she'd done was screwed Peter.
And never bothered to tell Alicia about it but Alicia wasn't in any mood to listen to Cary's whining. So she'd used what some might call unscrupulous means to get the permanent associate job, he just needed to get over it already.
Oh god, he'd seen her and yet he didn't leave his stool to come closer to her because of course she was supposed to do that in deference to him.
"Alicia…I'll buy you a drink," Cary said, "I've got some pull with this guy. If he doesn't serve you, I'll have his liquor license suspended by morning."
The bartender looked concerned. Alicia merely arched one of her brows.
"Cary, it is morning…at least I think."
He gestured for her to come on over to sit with him. The drink did seal the deal as the bartender sighed as he poured her another shot of tequila. She got up to sit on a stool next to him, nearly stumbling over someone passed out on the floor.
"Oh that's just some guy who got canned by Peter today."
Alicia sat down and drank her shot feeling somewhat better.
"Peter fired more people?"
"Yeah, with all of them gone, who's left to go after Lockheart, Gardner and whatever…oops I wasn't supposed to say that."
"That's okay…I told that ball breaking Diane that if I didn't make supreme partner by next week, I was going to sue her and the silent partners."
"I'm surprised you haven't gone to Peter for help."
She shot him a fiery look.
"That's a low blow…he's probably with his latest floozy…I've got Kalinda spying on him."
Cary's eyes shot up.
"But I thought…"
Alicia slammed her glass on the bar.
"No I haven't forgiven that tramp but I need an edge if I'm going to win the divorce. You know once I get the top partner position, I'm thinking of running for office. Eli said I should run for judge."
"No…I think he said that to Diane."
"Well whatever…I know he thinks I can win the position against Wendy…what's the name of the Black woman who ran against my husband?"
"You got it mostly right…but she disappeared after Peter didn't need her for his plans."
Alicia sighed already needing a couple more shots.
"Damn…I wonder if he sucked her toes too."
Cary sighed, picking up his bottle of brandy and slugging it down. He'd left Dana standing in his office with her garter, sheer stockings and nothing else. But he'd had it with these inter-office affairs. He hadn't gotten any in two years and now he was suddenly this stud, what was with that?
He needed another bottle.
Peter lay back in his bed at the seedy hotel on his cell phone. The latest intern had left the motel room in a rush. He felt not an iota of guilt because he wouldn't have returned to his old habits if it hadn't been for Alicia sleeping with Will.
He'd been good, so very, very good on the campaign trail. Kept his hands to his wife or himself, had been an attentive father to his two very mixed up children and kept the home together while his wife had hardly had time to even talk to her children. Zach had started smoking pot and hanging out with those damn Occupiers and Gracie had run off and joined a religious cult and now he had to pay some shady looking Black Ops guys to break her out.
Zach had tried to call him that morning warning him that after he had hacked into the State Attorney's site to help his dad that he discovered that some of the files had been cloned and that a Trojan horse tracing back to the mysterious Mr. G-Forces had been uncovered. He should have listened to his son but he thought all this had just been a phase.
The phone rang again and he reached to pick it up.
"State Attorney speaking…I'm busy at a meeting but I can get back to you in…"
"Pick up the phone."
Damn if it wasn't Kalinda. What the hell did she want? She'd already slept with him and should be grateful for the experience.
"Yes Kalinda…how can I help you and still keep my job and my shirt?"
She paused. The more subtle forms of humor were totally lost on her.
"I need $2 million to leave the country again," she said, "Blake's resurfaced and he has the actual tape of us together. If I don't give him $5 million and a sexual favor he's going to blast it on YouTube."
Peter thought the guy couldn't be seriously returning. Kalinda must be running another one of her scams.
"Now Kalinda…there is no sex tape."
"There is always a sex tape…it's part of the script on sex scandals."
He tried enunciating his words more slowly.
"There is no sex scandal."
"Kalinda…I can't give you the money," he said, "I'm tapped out."
She paused again.
"I need to leave the country," she said, "There's some heat coming down here from the IRS, FBI, and Interpol…Blake is such an asshole."
"I can't help you with that…I've got my plate filled here since the democratic PAC is after my wife to run for my job. I can't believe she's stabbing me in the back like that."
"Yeah she's made my life hell. So I think it's just time to take off…"
Peter listened to her, wondering if she were seriously going to leave town or even the country. But then Chicago was a mean town and it took no prisoners. Well neither did he, he'd shown how ruthless he'd been in his reelection campaign. But he was still trying to track down the Romper Room hosting free-lancing PI who had blabbed to his wife about his one nighter with Kalinda.
The media would be swarming his office soon enough. Because the truth was, that no matter what he did there would always be people who were envious of his importance and power to want to bring him down. Well he wasn't going down…unless it was on a pretty young thing of course. But on the latest allegations of corruption allegations…no he would go down swinging. But he needed some time and he needed a hard hitter not afraid of swinging a baseball bat around to get things done.
"Kalinda…let me see what I can do and I'll give you a call back."
He clicked off his phones and heard the sirens outside.
Diane got back from her meeting with a media consultant because she was not just going to seize control of the firm but she was going to run for judge after all. She had enough from the stodgy male chauvinists in the firm. She had gone to use her clout on EMILY's List but they found out about her fling with Tea Party toting Kurt McVeigh. Seriously she had been so discreet when hanging out with him, how had anyone found out?
Though clearly someone in the office had overheard their flirtatious banter in her office because after all, the walls had ears….but who would actually sabotage her? Oh, that would be a long list when she started thinking about it.
Just about everyone in the law firm was out to get everyone else. After all, hadn't she been a very diligent mentor to Alicia and how had that vixen repaid her? By teaming up with Will to try to oust her and now Peter was out for revenge.
She wondered if she should have just given it all up and gone to Costa Rica with Kurt. He would be the master in their relationship but she could get over that. Especially if it meant leaving all this madness behind as it had ceased to be fun.
But she remembered she had that meeting with the Chicago Madam who had her ring of call girls busted by Peter's office. Irony of ironies considering his history with hookers but she never called him or his office honest. In fact, she'd sent another email to Cary telling him she was wrong to fire him and that he should come back and he'd get Alicia's office.
Because that hussy was going down in flames if she thought she could become the firm's supreme partner.
If it came down to a battle between her and Alicia, Diane said to herself, bring it on. Then she heard the rattling of chains and looked towards the door and her eyes widened when she saw it standing there.
Stern, she thought his name, was standing by the door fading in and out of view. She stared at him as he pointed a bony finger at her.
"What is it, what is it Stern? What do you want."
He chuckled in that way he had and his voice rasped.
"I want my firm back…and I will get it."