No Cognitive Defect - Part IV


No Cognitive Defect - Part IV

By James M. O'Meara, © 2007

Country Club

Wilson met Erica on April 10, 1970, the evening of what she always referred to later as "the big breakup." He was attending a charity dinner-ball thrown by a Boston hospital, one of Garfield & Garfield's biggest clients. Money was needed for a new pediatric wing, and New England's old money was out in force. It was a very formal affair at a very exclusive country club. The men wore tuxedos and the women were decked out in formal evening gowns. The waiters and waitresses were smartly-dressed in black suits with crisp white shirts and powder-blue bow ties.

First-class boors and first-rate food, Wilson thought to himself.

He was with a managing partner, Geoff Somerset, who presented a sizeable donation from Garfield & Garfield to the hospital during the dinner ceremony. Somerset was retiring by year's end and Wilson, one of the firm's rising stars, was already handling the bulk of his client list. Some of Wilson's peers thought him arrogant, but he considered himself simply driven and tenacious. These traits were coupled with an inexhaustible supply of energy and excellent instincts: he knew when to attack obstacles head on, and when it was prudent to simply go around them. His grasp on his specialty…real estate law, not glamorous but very lucrative…was expert, and he billed more hours than any other associate and most of the firm's partners. His work was his life; his career came before all else. He'd willingly sacrificed most of the previous decade laying the foundation for a future he truly believed would be spectacular. This wasn't conceit…he simply believed in the power of big dreams and hard work. He would be a partner himself before he was thirty, a managing partner before he was forty, and start his own firm before he was fifty. He'd set his goals and that was that.

His "date" for the evening was a redheaded secretary from the second floor. She was recruited to accompany him by another of the managing partners. She was strictly an accessory. Other than introducing himself, he never spoke to the young woman again the entire evening. Wilson's mistress was law and his devotion to it total.

During the limousine drive from Boston he and Geoff talked law and strategy. The secretary sipped rum and coke and tried striking up a conversation with Geoff's wife. Louise Somerset was knocking back a series of white wines in her usual effort to anesthetize herself before a social function, and refused to do more than nod or give one word answers to questions. The secretary eventually gave up and spent the rest of the ride sipping her drink quietly and watching the countryside slip by.

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