A Nightmare before Christmas Part 1

Written By: anonymous - Dec• 22•08

Lawyers traditionally possess characteristics which help them in their profession: combativeness, aggression, ruthlessness and guile.  All very useful skills for dealing with wiley opponents but not so useful when dealing with each other………

“When did you last take to the ice?” Miranda (clutching her own states) asks Jane.

“I can’t remember,” Jane grumbles, struggling to tie up her boots. “Ages ago.”

“Really?  How long?”


“Me too.   I haven’t really skated since I lived in Geneva.”

Jane lets out an exasperated sigh – I’m not sure whether from dealing with her ice skates or listening to Miranda, who nudges in between us and begins to lace up her shiny white boots, with expert precision.

“Geneva?”  I say, trying to show an interest. “When was that?”

“When I was trying out for the British Ski Team.”

Jane makes a noise which sounds a like “bull” and “shit.”    Miranda offers her a tissue.  She shakes her head and continues to struggle on with her boots.

“Nice skates,” I remark. “You seem quite the expert.”

“Oh, not really,” Miranda twinkles. “I haven’t skated properly for years!  Not since I was a teenager.”

“Three centuries ago,” Jane hisses.

As if it weren’t bad enough having Sonje Henie in our midst, Simon struts round the corner in full ice-hockey kit.

“What is this? The Winter Olympics?” Jane fumes.  “Are Melinda and Danielle going to turn out to be secret Curling champions!?”

If they are, they’re hiding it well.

As we speak, they’re each clinging pathetically to an “ice warden” who is guiding them around the rink.

“Ooooh, I think I’m falling!” swoons Danielles, as the burly professional scoops her back to her feet.

“It’s soooooo slippy!” echoes Melinda,  “I don’t think I can stay up!”

Another marshall swoops down to rescue her.

“I don’t think they will be doing much marshalling,” Liz remarks. “Don’t expect anyone to rescue us if we fall over.”

Secretly, I’m quite pleased to hear this.  A small fracture of my left ankle could let me off fee earning duties for several months.

As usual the Boss is one step ahead as he appears clutching armfuls of disclaimer forms.

“You must all sign these before you set foot on the ice,” he orders. “CWS is not taking responsiblity for any nasty accidents which might befall you.   You’re all expected at your desks first thing tomorrow morning.  Any failure to show up by dint of injury will be deemed a disciplinary offence.”

“But this is a firm event!” Liz protests.  “None of us wants to be here.”

He smiles his pantomime villian smile. “Sadly, not entering into the spirit of the evening will also be entered on your record.  Merry Xmas!”

He stalks off to summon Melinda and Danielle who are slipping and sliding their way around the rink with the watchful ice wardens in tow.

We read the forms, which include denials of responsibilty for terrorism, espionage and nuclear invasian as well as plain old accidental injury.

“The firm has higher expectations of this evening than we have,” Jane grumbles.  “I’d almost welcome a nuclear invasion.”

We sign the forms, hand them to Dee and make our way, begrudgingly to the rink.  Miranda puts one foot on the frozen surface, pulls on a pair of designer ear muffs, flashes us a knowing look and speeds off elegantly towards the centre.   Simon follows in hot pursuit as Jane, Liz and I grapple with the railings.  We’re making slow but steady progress when the boys (Dan, Simon and Jack) swerve past and carve us up.   We flail in different directions, I manage to catch Liz as she totters towards the ice.

“Ooooooooooh!” she squeals, clinging to me for dear life.

“I’m going to report you to the marshalls!” Jane fumes.   Dan gives her a backward wave and skates on.   “If he thinks he can wipe out the competition by incapacitating us, he can think again!”

“Perhaps he’s hoping for the office to himself for a while,” I joke.

She takes this literally.

“You’re right, he’s clearly out to disable me!”

With a determined look on her face, she zooms off to give him a piece of her mind, leaving Liz and me floundering on our own.

We are joined by a vision in red: Alex (in matching red bobble hat and scarf) glides over and comes to a careful T-stop at our side.

“Who made you Robin Cousins?” Liz gawps.

“My mother.  She sent me to figure skating lessons in the hope I would be the next Christopher Dean.”

Are we the only people on the rink who are not semi-professional? As if in answer to this question Malcolm exectutes a spectacular collision with the side wall.


Reading my thoughts, Liz observes. “You can always rely on Malcolm to be more rubbish than everyone else.”

“It’s comforting to know that no matter how bad we are at something he will always be worse,” I agree.

“So, do you know any good moves?” Liz addresses Alex.

“Not really.  I kept being paired with mini prima donnas who just wanted me to throw them into the air.”

“Did you do lifts?”

“Yeah, well, until my partner got too heavy…….”

“Did you drop her?”

He looks sheepish.  “On her head.”

“Was she ok?”

“Yeah, after the rhinoplasty……..”

“Speaking of which,” I change the subject, “Have you seen Miranda?”

“She’s over there.”

We turn and watch as she weaves her way around the rink, intermittently changing speed and skating backwards.  We see her spot the Boss, Tarquin and Victor glugging gluhwein in the cafe; they see her and flash an admiring wave.    I can’t be sure what happens next but Jane catches up with Dan just as Miranda launches into a pirouette; he lurches forward nicking the base of her skate as she leaps into the air and with an anguished cry, she catapults upwards twists ninety degrees, knocks Malcolm flying (again), unbalances Clive and lands with a loud crack on her perky backside in the middle of the rink.

Loud applause echoes from the grandstand as Miranda screams angrily at Dan, whose lady-killer charm evades him as he tries to pull her to her feet.

Jane melts away before anyone can suspect she is involved.

“Nice work,” Alex whispers as she reappears.

“Four for the price of one,” she smirks.

After a  few more laps of despair, we give up and head for the bar.

Victor and Tarquin are already well established.

“How did you get out of skating?” Liz asks them.

“I have plantar fascitis,” Tarquin informs us.

“What’s that?”

“Gutlessness,” Jane replies.

“It most certainly is not!  It is a very painful medical condition of the plantar ligament in the foot.”

“What about you?” Liz asks Victor.

“I’m from a hot climate.  We only have ice in our drinks.”

The Boss is languishing idly in the corner with a glass of champagne. “Bravo,” he calls to Dan, as he staggers off the rink. “You’ve acheived in one evening what Jane has been trying to do for years.”

“What’s that?” he asks, puzzled.

“Bringing down the partnership!”

Little does he know.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.