Archive for law

Barratry

Posted in Infinite City, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by javedbabar

Because of a no-show, Bobby had managed to get a spot at the Speed Networking event. He was more comfortable at these side events, than being jostled on the main floor of the New Ideas Show. He was given a name badge and asked to sit in the inner circle of thirty chairs.

Each person seated there would have two minutes with each of the thirty participants in the outer circle. They had a minute to expound their professional backgrounds and business goals, and then switch roles, before the outer circle rotated. The first man sitting opposite him looked very serious indeed. He wore a grey suit, affixed with his badge but without completed name.

The host of the event, a bald man in a blue blazer and red cravat, rang a dinner bell and conversations began. The nameless fellow said to Bobby, “Hello, I’m Jonathon Andrew, legal professional. Shall I start?”

“Sure, go ahead,” said Bobby.

“There is a distrust of lawyers among the general public.” The man licked his lips too many times for Bobby’s liking. “It’s a long-term issue, going back to medieval Europe, even Biblical times, accusing us of false and frivolous litigation, false documentation, deception, procrastination, even excessive fees! Can you believe that, men of our learning and talents? In current times this distrust is growing, leading to a significant drop in business.”

He’s very frank, thought Bobby; I wonder if he’s like that in court. Bobby knew what he meant though. When a dispute with his ex-wife had arisen, he had himself bought a legal self-help book rather than consult a lawyer. The dispute cost $7.99+tax to resolve, rather than $300+ each.

Jonathon Andrew continued. “To increase demand I am looking for people who are able to travel at short notice. Ideally single males, with good communication and survival skills.”

“What for?” said Bobby, unconsciously licking his lips.

“I’ll admit I was a sceptic at first. I thought it was just green hogwash, but after seeing so many hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and floods in recent years, I believe in the reality of climate change. There are sure to be more large-scale disasters like these. The poor victims must be helped to recover and rebuild their lives.”

“I’ve always wanted to do be involved in foreign aid work,” said Bobby. “What a great way to promote what you stand for.”

“That’s the spirit, boy! You’ve got the idea exactly.” He gave him a big wink. “And if we make some money in the process, why not? There’s always someone to blame for every disaster, regardless of whether it’s natural or man-made.” He licked his lips again. “The deal would be one-third to me, one-third to you, and one-third to the victim, minus fees of course.”

The bell rang indicating that the lawyer had massively overrun. There was no time for Bobby to talk about himself. He was in truth glad it was time for his next date.

Apple Express

Posted in Alternative Energy, Infinite City, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , on March 7, 2012 by javedbabar

“Bloody apples!” shouted Farmer John. “Falling everywhere! There must be an orchard in the sky.” He was standing in the middle of a field. Where had they come from? He stamped his right foot and held the top of his head with both hands, as blood seeped from a gash beneath his fingers. They really were bloody apples.

Apples had been falling for almost a month now. They were infrequent to begin with, and quite unripe; small, green sour balls. They had become a daily occurrence of late, now bigger and riper, almost ready to eat.

There was a daily hot wind coming up the Valley, ten degrees warmer than the air in Lucerne. It was a strange, localized occurrence. No one minded the temperature, but its power was a problem: it had blown away old barn roofs, caused tall trees to topple, and excessive wear on Lucerne’s wind turbines. It blew hot up the Valley at noon, and returned cold from the glaciers at dusk – and it seemed to be carrying apples.

Farmer John said in the pub one day, “That fruity wind, it should be called the Apple Express, like the one from Hawaii is called the Pineapple Express.” Other people had thought the same, but he was the first person to say it. He was acknowledged to have coined the term. “It’s causing problems. Those apples are landing square on my spuds; almost like they’re aiming for them. Potato plants are bearing apples – or that’s what it looks like when I walk down the rows.”

“How will you harvest them?” said Farmer Tom. “Apples will be mixed in with your spuds.”

“They will be,” said Farmer John. “They will be. What can we do?” No one wanted to think of the extra labour needed to remove the apples. They considered letting them all rot there, fertilizing the ground. But there was no way to avoid some slipping in with spuds. The apples’ moisture would rot the spuds. They’d have to pick the apples out, before or after harvesting – either way it was a massive task.

Walking along the rows one day, Farmer John picked up an apple and examined it closely. It had been transformed by its warm, windy journey. The apple’s skin was gleaming as if it had spent an hour in a bowling ball polisher, and its cheeks were as rosy as a ruddy farmer’s. He took a big bite. “By God!” he exclaimed, syrup pouring out of the corners of his mouth and over his chin. “That’s the juiciest apple I’ve ever eaten.” He felt a warm tingling in his belly like the fire of a light rum shot. “And it’s full of cider!” He ate many more apples, and went to the pub merry already.

Lucerne Valley farmers were happy, they had an extra crop. Gorgeous apples fell on their fields daily. Farmer John called them Mt. Alba Apples, as they seemed somehow linked to Lucerne’s mountain guardian. Holding an apple high in his hand, it seemed a new sun above the mountain, shining blessings down. They sold really well at grocery stores and farmers markets, and were popular with local kids not yet nineteen.

Beyond the City, the 4,800 acre Glaser Valley Farm’s (GVF) owners were not impressed. The Apple Express had become fierce of late, tearing along the Glaser Valley, over mountain passes and across lakes, through to the Lucerne Valley – carrying their best apples. These delicate apples – grown for export to Japan – had very weak stems. Just before they fell, many were picked up by the Apple Express and carried off to Lucerne. GVF was losing a quarter of its crop this way. They initiated legal proceedings against Lucerne Valley farmers, claiming financial compensation for lost revenues, and punitive damages for theft. It was a very short hearing though.

“This case is unprecedented,” said the judge. “And frankly inexplicable. So we will need to discuss it from first principles. I will consult my most learned friends and establish a philosophical framework, based on agricultural ethics and tort law. Please explain the essence of your case in simple terms. Our sponsors require this for our television audience.”

GVF’s attorney said, “My clients are hard working toilers of the earth. They have a decade of agricultural achievement behind them…”

“Objection!” shouted the Lucerne Valley farmer’s attorney. “Seven years is not a decade.” The judge agreed and changed the record to say “many years”.

GVF’s attorney continued, “They invest much time, effort, and money in growing the best apples for export across the world, to improve our nation’s trading balance. The fruits of their labours are being stolen by others. We demand fair-minded justice.”

The Lucerne Valley farmers’ attorney had a bright idea. He suggested that Farmer John make their statement. “My family’s been growing potatoes for a hundred years,” he said, “and it’s…”

“Objection!” shouted GVF’s attorney. “He’s making that up.”

Farmer John provided the names of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, all farmers in the Lucerne Valley. The judge overruled the objection. Farmer John continued. “And now we’ve got fields full of apples. We never asked for them to drop out of the sky. But we know the earth’s cycles. We believe that our brother farmer’s jumbo jet-fuls of exports are directly related to their problem. Climate change is controversial, but here we see it in action. And we are wondering whether to include the two deaths in our community caused by falling apples within the scope of this case, or to file a separate one.”

Glaser Valley Farmers withdrew their case. Despite their 25% annual attrition, they continued to make big profits selling the remainder to Japan. Farmer John continued to have his annual crop of apples for twelve years, but less fell each year. By the time the Apple Express stopped blowing, apple seeds were well established in Lucerne. Mt. Alba Apples became an invaluable companion crop to spuds.