the ambulance chaser
Ambulance drivers consider the lawyers that follow them, or arrive shortly after all of the sirens and lights have died down, as the most loathsome and contemptible people on the planet. The mobile version of the legal parasites that litter daytime television commercials.
Lawyer Joel O’Toole tries not to take offense.
Even after the various ambulance drivers realized that his expertise wasn’t personal injury, they found it hard to warm up to him. They just grew tired of seeing him milling around talking to the injured, their family members and the onlookers, and his explanation of why he was there seemed to make no sense.
Joel would tell them “There are no accidents. No ifs ands or buttocks about it gentlemen.” Joel was a true believer… in something they couldn’t quite put their finger on.
They would stand together amidst the smoke and twisted metal and the EMT would motion around him and say “This is an accident.”
“No. It isn’t” Joel would reply.
And then Joel would get to work. Walking amongst the bystanders and emergency vehicles he would, without exception, find someone in need of legal counsel completely unrelated to the smoke and twisted metal. Some required a divorce attorney, some bankruptcy advice. Criminal or corporate law, somewhere in the crowd was someone in need of Joel. Every time.
Because he looked the part, sometimes people actually approached him.
One time an ambulance driver grudgingly pulled him aside about a matter about intellectual property. Joel gave him his card and said “Like I’ve told your cohorts before, I didn’t use a police scanner to get here. I followed a different path. A path with a heart.”
Then one day that path led to an intersection and drunk driver.
When he regained consciousness he found himself lying on a stretcher and looking up at a familiar face. Everything hurt. The paramedic took his hand, smiled and said “Relax Joel. You’ve been involved in an accident.”
After a few seconds Joel smiled weakly back and replied “No. No I haven’t.”
The paramedic laughed, a look of relief crossing his face, and said “I guess you’re ok.”
After being loaded into the ambulance Joel felt something poking into his side. It was a business card from a fellow lawyer, no doubt slipped into his pocket as he laid there unconscious. On the back was a handwritten quote from Frank J. Fleming;
“The land was torn apart in a legal dispute. Soon it was so devastated, nothing could live here- not plant or animal. Only lawyers. But eventually the place fell into lawlessness, and lawyers can’t exist in an area of lawlessness, so they went feral. Some say they still roam the land. You’ll suddenly hear someone yell, ‘Objection!’ and then you’ll be torn apart like an improperly witnessed contract.”
With the last of his strength he tore the card in two and threw it to the ground. “Damn cynics” he said as the doors swung shut and the siren started up. Once he was sure he was alone he allowed himself to add “Fuckin’ lawyers.”