Eva Braun walked into the waiting area outside Matt Muttley’s office on the top floor, elegantly dressed in a dark tailored suit and black court shoes. “Mr Muttley will see you now. I will show you in.”
James Harrison, confirmed as an associate with the firm only three weeks before, walked into the large darkened office and was invited to sit in a high backed chair facing Muttley’s desk, but set back exactly ten feet away. The chair, inspired by art nouveau concepts, was made of metal with a curious curved back which made it difficult for the person sitting in it to sit comfortably or with any degree of elegance. Harrison decided to perch on the front section of the seat and put up with the discomfort.
“Well, good morning James. Do the names Friedrich Miescher, Francis Crick or James D. Watson mean anything to you? If I was to tell you that polymerases are enzymes that synthesize polynucleotide chains from nucleoside triphosphates, would you find that inordinately fascinating or even know what I was talking about?” Matt Muttley sat back in his chair and put his hands behind his neck, his expression expectant.
“I do not know the people you mention. I am certainly not dealing with their files at present. And I would have to say that I would not find the information you have given me on polymerases of any immediate interest, simply because I have no idea what they are and they are not germane to any of the files I am working on currently.”
“If I was to say….. Deoxyribonucleic acid… would this assist you in your thinking….? thinking in relation to a personal matter which has been drawn to my attention by our covert surveillance unit headed by Dr Erasmus Strangelove, our esteemed Director of Education and Strategic Information.
James Harrison paused before answering, glanced upwards, noticed a discreet cctv camera pointing straight at him and answered “You are talking about DNA, but how is that relevant to my work here?”
“Spot on James. Let me tell you where I am coming from on this, to borrow from the well worn phrase used by James Caan on Dragon’s Den. We routinely monitor the internet traffic of all members of the firm. This is covered in clause 1441 of your employment contract. We chose 1441 as the clause for this as a bad joke to reflect our view that it was our ‘weapon of mass destruction’. We issue iPads to all our employees not because we are philanthropists, but because we want you to work, work and work some more. We want the first thing you reach for in the morning to be your iPad and the last thing you touch at night to be your iPad. I understand that Eversheds have taken a similar policy of issuing iPads to all their fee earners – but I rather suspect that their intentions are honourable, while ours are not. This is covered in Clause 1441(d)(viii) of your contract of employment. Dr Strangelove, during his routine sweep of Facebook accounts, noticed that a woman by the implausible name of Squirrelnutkin 4 wrote on your ‘Wall’. This is what she wrote…”
Muttley flicked his fingers over his goldplated iPad – a gift from a company one of the Dragons had invested in, but not signed, fortunately, by Frank Lampard on the back.
Muttley quoted: “Hello Bigboy Jimmy Babes…. Have I got NEWS for you! You remember that night of erotic passion and entirely random sex we had after you took me to that nightclub? Well…. I am pregnant…. seriously pregnant….and it is yours!! I hope you are earning a lot of money at that crazy law firm you are working at… because Jimmy Babes… you are going to need it. I have engaged the services of JAWS, one of the most famous family lawyers in Britain… and, boy… is he coming after you… big time.!”
The colour drained from Harrison’s face and his forehead went clammy.
“A glass of water, James?” Muttley asked, a dry smile playing on his lips.
“Er… no… not thank you Mr Muttley”
“We look after our staff at Muttley Dastardly. We also look after ex-staff. Clearly, it cannot be acceptable for a firm of our stature and reputation to employ lawyers who randomly impregnate people, and even if you are found ‘not guilty’ as we say in our business, we certainly can’t employ someone who goes around on Facebook calling himself BigBoy Jimmy Babes. Do you watch the Dragon’s Den, James?”
“No… I don’t have time.”
“But you do watch The Apprentice. We know this from your internet traffic records. Well…as SurAlan, now Lord SurAlan, would say… You’re Fired! Eva Braun will give you a black bag with your belongings, your severance pay and the telephone number of Cellmark – the DNA testing specialists. We use them all the time here… for our clients. We didn’t imagine having to use them for one of our staff…. or, indeed, ex-staff.”
Harrison stared at Matt Muttley, puzzlement clear in his eyes… “You mean I’m out?”
Muttley smiled. “Yes… you’re OUT! Goodbye. Oh….do look at the section on the Cellmark website What is the process for DNA testing – a most useful video. The baby, after all, may not be yours. We would, of course, be happy to represent you if you fight. I regret that we do not do discounts for anyone – although Partners get all our services free. ”
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