April 13th, 2013


The Murky World of Civil Court Action

I wrote this to lilfluff's second prompt, "Taking your characters to court."

The solicitor and the literary agent were consulting about their mutual client. “I’m worried about Icasia,” the literary agent was covering old ground but it made her feel better. “Writer’s block is one thing, but she seems convinced that her characters are refusing to co-operate. That’s…not normal.”

“I know,” he handed her the coffee his personal assistant had brought in for her. “She’s not looking well either. I don’t know if she’s not sleeping or if there’s something else going on.”

The literary agent picked up the cup and sipped the milky liquid. “I wish there was something else going on, it would distract her from this obsession. I suppose it could be worse, she could believe her someone real had turned her characters against her.”

“Ulrica,” he named his law firm partner, “is very good at this sort of law. She says that if we were talking about real people, then Icasia might have a case. As we’re not talking about real people, she and Ulrika may get into trouble for wasting the court’s time.”

“What if we can get her professional medical help in the meantime?” The agent threw out the thought. “Then demonstrate that the filing helped stave off a mental collapse while she got into appropriate treatment?”

“Dodgy at best,” was the solicitor’s opinion. “She might still be declared a vexatious litigant and Ulrica could still get her knuckles rapped.”

“Plus we’d still need to get Icasia in to a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment,” added the agent. “I don’t think she’d go willingly.” She drank some more of her coffee.

“I don’t think matters are so bad that we should talk to her about putting her affairs in someone else’s hands but that would get her attention.” The solicitor leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers. “The problem is, that with Icasia it’s equally likely to drive her away from those of us who want to help her.” There was a knock at the office door and he gave the agent an apologetic look before he raised his voice and called out, “Yes?”

The door opened a little and his personal assistant stuck his head in through the opening, “Excuse me, Mr Tyne, but Mrs Brodhega needs to see you about…”

The door was pushed open from behind him to reveal the firm’s other partner, Ulrica Brodhega. “I’ll tell him all about it, don’t worry Gerald,” she told the personal assistant. “While I’m briefing Mr Tyne, could you please go supervise the new junior? There were some very strange sounds coming from the storeroom as I came past.”

“Yes, Mrs Brodhega.” Gerald quietly closed the office door.

“Now,” said Ulrica Brodhega, “when you persuaded me to take this case for your client, you warned me that she was delusional and that the people she was filing her action against were figments of her professional imagination as an author. Correct?”

“Yes.” Tyne knew his partner was going somewhere with this but had no idea where.

“I haven’t read any of her books. Do they have a contemporary setting or characters drawn from life?” The litigation specialist looked from the other solicitor to the agent and back again.

“She writes science fiction/fantasy,” answered the agent. “Elves, star ship explosions and dragons. Not contemporary or drawn from her real life.”

“That makes this very interesting then,” Ulrica waved the folder in her hand at the other two, “and I think I need to have an unprejudiced chat with our client.” She paused for a moment before adding, “I’ve received a response from the defendants’ solicitors.”