Guerilla Warfare

Written By: anonymous - Sep• 10•12

Our Rounders win gets a write- up on the intranet under the heading “Litigation Ladies Pummel Property Team.”  It’s accompanied by a grinning photo of Jane and me with a sulky-looking Fergus in the background.  Almost as soon as it’s published we are bombarded by congratulatory messages from all over the firm. It seems that Fergus, is not a very popular boy.

“Well done for teaching those idiots a lesson,” reads a typical e-mail. “I have long thought the Property Team over-rated.” “The second best Property crash in a decade,” says another. “Once again selling promises they couldn’t keep.” And so it goes on. Bad memories of the Credit Crunch are alive and well at CWS.

But one comment is more sinister than the others.

“I see your talents are physical as well as mental….” oils Philip Carlton on one of his (increasingly) regular visits to our floor.

I ignore him, as I try to ignore any irritating wasps.

“Perhaps you could give me some lessons,” he adds.

“I wouldn’t, if I was you,” Selina is back, and she hasn’t forgiven me. “You might find yourself in A&E.”

“Really?” he smirks. “Is she that competitive?”

“She broke my nose.”

“I did not break your nose!” That’s it, I’ve had enough. “We collided; you were as responsible as me for what happened. And besides, you said it was just badly bruised.”

Her eyes are huge and accusing; she looks set to issue a furious response when The Boss appears.


“Yes!” She immediately switches to simpering mode. “Absolutely.”

“Goodo, come on then.”

The three of them sashay off down the corridor; Selina in the middle; her hips swishing from one to the other. A one-woman pendulum.

I have no idea where they are going until later, when Margaret calls.

“Why were you not at the lunch today?” she asks.

“What lunch?”

“The lunch with Carlton, Selina and your boss.”

I feel my stomach lurch. “I think we can probably guess.”

“They were pitching a new idea,” she goes on. “They want us to have CWS written into our insurance policies, to handle our claims.”

Oh, they do, do they? “What did your boss think?”

“He thinks it’s a marvellous idea; but he would, wouldn’t he? You did a great job with the Risk Assessment and now he’s mesmerised by the Simpering Siren.”

I find myself wishing that I had done more than simply bashed her on the nose.

“But it was your work that convinced him – not hers!” Margaret continues. “You should be getting the credit for this – not her.”

For someone so wise, Margaret has a lot to learn about law firms.

“It’s ok,” I tell her. “Giving me credit would only provoke Carlton.”

“That’s not the attitude!” she fizzes. “You can’t let that overgrown lothario keep you down.”

But he has been keeping me down, for months ever since he thought I’d filed a sexual harassment complaint against him (which I didn’t but I should have done!).  I let her go, vowing to even things up and instructing me to make The Boss aware of my knowledge. He returns from lunch looking very pleased with himself. Selina too; she has her cat-that-got-the-cream face on, which makes me hate her even more.  I bide my time, but when I am summoned in later; I let him know that I know what has been going on.

“Margaret Johnson called today,” I say casually.

“Oh?” he looks up in surprise.

“Yes,” I say, flicking my pen between fingers, “She often calls me. We’re quite well acquainted now. She said you took her and Patrick out for lunch today.”

“Er,” he seems uncomfortatble, which is gratifying, “yes, I did. Well, I say, I, it wasn’t really me as much as Philip.”

He gives me an apologetic look, which is (I guess) supposed to explain my lack of invitation.

“Was it productive?”

He stares at me, not knowing how much I know. “Yes, I think so. There’s a chance that we might be written into some of their insurance policies, to help them defend their claims.”

“How marvellous! That would be great!” I know I am overdoing it now, but I can’t stop myself. “I guess my Risk Assessment work must have been good….”

“The Risk Assessment Scheme seems to have been well, received, yes.”

“Great, I’ll look forward to helping with the claims, when they come in.”

This makes him uncomfortable. He avoids my gaze.

“Well, it’s early days yet,” he tells me. “And, besides, there might only be enough work for one person.”

“Oh, I doubt it!” I laugh. “Knowing how some of their traders do business, they are a claims avalanche just waiting to happen. But, you know that, it’s all there in the Risk Assessment.”

“Yes, well,” he gives a little cough, “that was before the Risk Assessment was implemented. Now that Selina is on the case, I’m sure the claims will start to tail off.”

I doubt it; if she is in charge they will probably double. Then it occurs to me that that might actually be part of his master plan: send someone really incompetent to implement the recommendations, knowing that she will cock them up and create more work for you! Genius. But I am giving him too much credit.

“Well, let me know when I can help, it would be a shame to waste all that knowledge I have acquired.”

“Yes,” he agrees. “Ok.”

I know he has absolutely no intention of involving me, but at least I feel a small thrill of satisfaction at watching him squirm.

I call Margaret to relay the news. She has some of her own.

“I have spoken to my boss,” she tells me. “If Insurers agree, we are going to try to get CWS written into the policies. The secondee (Selina) will co-ordinate the claims here but if there are any which are too big to be managed in-house, I have asked him to send them to your boss with the stipulation that you assist him with them!”

“That’s really kind of you,” I tell her. “Thanks for thinking of me.”

“Least I could do,” she laughs. “The thought of you hospitalising her has truly made my week! I just wish I could do the same to Carlton, for you.”

“One day, I’m sure you will.”

“You’re right,” she agrees. “I’ve narrowed it down to rat poisoning or genital decapitation. I can’t decide which would be more painful.”

“You’ll probably need to use both and then finish him off with a silver bullet,” I remind her. “Like Rasputin.”

“OF course,” she agrees. “It’s hard work battling evil, isn’t it?”

“It is when they have had years of practice in a City law firm.”

“Yes!” she laughs. “Sod the Army, the Government should just send a squadron of equity partners to Afghanistan. The war would have been over long ago.”

“I doubt it,” I tell her. “Not whilst there were lucrative defence contracts to abuse and opium poppies to harvest!”

She laughs. “I hadn’t thought of that! On second thoughts, we should deploy Assistant Solicitors; if any group knows more about fighting guerrilla warfare it’s them!”

And it’s hard to disagree.









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