5 Minute Barrister

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Vince has never been able to pronounce words properly - a somewhat unrealistic incite into a day in the life.

I've never been good with pronouncing words. I definitely have a way with words; I can reel out a twenty minute speech in front of a restless audience in any dialect I wish. But sometimes words just come out wrong and I find myself in all sorts of trouble.
For instance, I was with my sister-in-law one night who's twenty-weeks preggers and as moody as a two-legged tortoise. I was cooking a nice meal for her and was slightly uncomfortable with the sight of her bulging womb and sweaty brow as she banged on and on about her bloating. As I was just about to fry up some polenta, my unkempt nerves got the better of me and I started babbling on.
'Did you know you can shape placenta in little balls and fry it up to be nice and crispy? It can also be served with salad such as tomato or foetus. I read this in "Cook For Me Baby, You Moron."'
I didn't even realise I'd switched polenta for placenta, and foetus for lettuce. When I'm stressed all the neurons in my brain seem to shut off. My sister-in-law looked like a bloated whale as she stomped over to me with enough weight to crush a baby elephant.
I was completely exasperated after that night, and told my brother that I simply couldn't be left in a room with his wife again. Her hormones were raging and I was the same breed as her frisky husband—that was just asking for trouble.
It's in these kind of situations that my lies are the most phenomenal. I need to lie; telling people I'm dyslexic or have ADD or some sort of selective brain damage doesn't make me look good.
There was this one time though that forced me to put my pride behind me and go see a doctor. It was the most twisted, uncomfortable and unfortunate situation I'd ever been in. I didn't lie though. Not intentionally. This time I didn't even know I was doing it.
It was back when I'd landed my first job as a barista and was getting to know the ropes of customer service. It wasn't just making coffee; it was chatting and being friendly and asking people how they were even though I didn't give two hoots. I'd done the training and was working in a busy cafe so I'd heard the name 'barista' said a million times. The only problem was, my brain just didn't want to process it.
'Vince!' My best mate Tom's voice can always be heard, even above a foghorn. It penetrates through the cafe making the whole room fall silent and glue their eyes on his nonchalant appearance. 'Shetland Hotel, eight pm tonight. We'll crack out a few beers. I want you to meet my new colleagues.'
I give him the thumbs up sign to let him know it's cool, although inside I really just want him to leave. There's nothing worse than having glaring eyes on you. Thankfully he turns towards the entrance, nearly knocking over a waitress then stopping to apologise with a, 'Sorry, sweet cheeks. Call me' while slipping his number into her apron pocket. Did I mention he's a player?
Anyway, we'll skip ahead to the drinks session. You don't need to hear about how I scalded my hands, burnt the milk and spilt coffee granules in a customer's hair which they'd only just had newly permed. All of that is irrelevant.
I see Tom's friends as I step into the Shetland Hotel and I instantly label them. They appear to be upper class, snivelling cretins looking for a country hick to tear shreds off while they do up just one button of their Armani suits letting people know it's business time.
I run my hand once through my mousy hair and make my way towards them. 'G'day.'
'Vincey!' Tom locks hands with me and pulls me into a chair. 'This is me mate Vince.'
His three toffee-nosed friends nod in acknowledgement. Is that a sign that I'm not welcome? Come on, fellas. Lighten up.
'Mate, this is Chad, Romano and Eliot.'
Did I also mention that Tom is in the finance business?
'We linked up with Westpac today. We're expanding, mate!' Tom grips my arm tightly. I don't know what he means but I smile and nod. I'm pretty sure he's already had a few. 'I'm going to get another round. You boys get acquainted now! And no lite beer for you tonight, ya pussy.' He slaps me on the chest and it almost feels like he's broken my clavicle. I try not to wince.
'So, Vince, is it?' One of the stuffy businessmen, Eliot I think, attempts some sort of interaction.
'Yes,' I reply.
'What do you do, Vince?' Romano chips in.
'I'm a barrister.'
And there it is. It slips out like a cat from a cage and I continue on like they still think I'm a flipping coffee-maker.
There's a little bit of stunned silence before they start nodding in each other's directions approvingly. Of course, at this stage I'm not even sure why they're so impressed.
'Yep, but I'm more than just a barrister. I'm there for people. They come in, I give them a kind smile, ask them how they are and sometimes they just pour out every sour feeling they have. I like to give them advice, because ultimately that's what being a good barrister is all about, right? I listen to them, not because I care, but because it's my duty. Sometimes I care obviously. I don't just turn them away when they start blurting out their problems. I give them something that tends to calm their nerves; a good coffee. That's all they need and they're on their way.'
This big speech initiates a roar of laughter from the three men. I'm sitting there like a stunned mullet not even sure why it's so funny, but thinking I should do something I force a laugh, albeit a confused laugh.
'That's good, mate. That's good.' Chad hits my knee and winks. 'A barrister's duty is to their clients after all.'
'Exactly. I don't just get paid for making coffee.'
'If you did that would be heresy,' Romano laughs. 'The amount you barrister's make, you ought to be ashamed!'
Really? Making coffee might be high-paid in an alternate universe.
'It's not as easy to make coffee as some may think.'
Another burst of laughter and Chad leans forward. 'The coffee's the easy part though, right?'
I officially don't get these guys but I force a laugh and feel relieved when Tom returns. 'Just had to use the facilities. The beers are on their way.' He takes a seat. 'So what are we discussing?'
'Vince's job. Being a barrister sounds like a breeze the way this fella's talking!' Eliot says and lifts his beer to his puckered lips.
Tom turns to me with a massive grin and grabs my shirt. 'A barrister? You are a joker, mate! This bloke makes coffee for a living! Nothing wrong with that either. Someone's gotta do it, eh?'
I'm beyond confused by this stage.
'Like... a barista?' Eliot's face drops into an expression of disgust and disdain. 'Are you messing with us?'
'Not at all. He's King of the Coffee Machine.' Tom says and he doesn't even look like he realises how disgusted his mates are.
'You're not a lawyer. You make coffee. And you're deluded.' Romano gets to his feet. 'What a fraud.'
'Hey.' Tom soon realises that his mates aren't happy with sticking around. 'What's going on boys? He was just having a play with ya.'
'He wishes.' They all get up and don't even look at me before leaving the bar.
Tom and I look at each other for a moment, both as stupid as the other before I find my voice. 'Something I said?'
So it was never my fault. It was a genuine misunderstanding. None of those snobs knew I had a recognised medical disorder. Heck, I didn't even know I had it.
It felt good though, being a barrister. You get treated like you're top notch. Some people may not like you, but those snobby rich people instantly warm to you.
I might go and study law now.


Submitted: November 30, 2010

© Copyright 2020 Kristen45. All rights reserved.

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