MEMORANDUM TO PARTNERS / EYES ONLY
From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner
Date: 25th December 2010
RE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL
I appreciate that we have scheduled four hours on Christmas Day to attend to matters of family but, as you know, our firm is a 24/7/365 operation and I wish to confirm that we have full cover. I did, however, last night, have a rather strange experience which I wish to record for the file.
1. As you know our esteemed co-founding partner, Dastardly, died some time ago. I use the term ‘died’ in the law firm sense of having retired, but I understand that he has in fact died in real life as well.
2. I was working late tonight. It was a dark and cold night. An associate, Tiny Tim, was working late and he rang me, as instructed, to inform me that snow was falling so that I could hedge our power interests while the US markets were still open.
3. At approximately 10.32, I was visited by the ghost of our former Partner. The meeting, unfortunately, can’t be billed as the Ghost of Dastardly told me that his Amex card did not work ‘where he now was’. I reminded the Ghost of Dastardly that we are not big on pro bono and as the legal press had closed down for two weeks I couldn’t get any leverage on releasing a story about doing pro bono work on Christmas Eve. He understood this (old habits die hard even for ghosts of former partners) and briefed me quickly on various episodes from my childhood. Fortunately, I was not that innocent when I was a child and I was not moved by his advocacy and plea that we, as a firm, show more compassion.
4. At approximately 11.04, I was visited for a second time by the Ghost of Dastardly. I misunderstood what he was saying and thought he had returned to give me a present. This was not the case. He told me that he was now a Ghost of Christmas Present. He asked me to accompany him to Waitrose where people were buying food for Christmas Day. I told him that I had an iPad and we could go onto the Waitrose website instead. Time is money. Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present then asked me to look at a blog written by one of our former associates who ‘we had to let go’. You may remember him – Rob Cratchit. It would appear that Rob Cratchit was not able to get a job after we fired him and now lives in ‘diminished circumstances’. I asked Dastardly Ghost of Christmas Present if he would kindly get to the point. He told me that we needed to develop a sense of responsibility for our fellow man. I was able to confirm that we do not take a stance on the political issues of the day, our
amoral apolitical stance, means that we can stand above David Cameron’s notions of ‘Big Society’ and retain the clinical objectivity so prized by our client base.
5. At approximately 12.05 am on Christmas Day, I was visited by the Ghost of Dastardly again. He had a copy of The Guardian. He placed it on my desk and pointed to a story about the dire future which lay ahead of us and a rather curious story about an Australian who has developed a ‘Messiah’ complex and is leaking secrets all over the place. To my astonishment, he then placed a picture on my desk of a grave in a rather badly tended cemetery, and told me that it was my grave. I was able to re-assure Ghost of Dastardly of Christmas Yet To Come, as he was now calling himself, that it was highly improbable that a Partner of our firm would be buried in such a run down place and that he really should not watch so much Sky TV given that the future owners of that television station are Australian. Keeping to an Australian theme, I did say that I had been placing fairly substantial investments with ‘our friends’ in Pakistan on The Ashes and on the evidence of the Third Test in Perth, when England collapsed in a rather improbable way, that we could look forward to additional tax free revenue early in the New Year when England did not simply retain The Ashes, but win them. The Ghost of Dastardly did not seem to be impressed by this statement.
6. Finally, I am pleased to report, when I woke on Christmas morning, I felt no particular desire to spend any time whatsoever with my nephew’s family and had no side effects of feelings of love or affection for our fellow man.
7. We have a Partner’s meeting at 3.00 today to discuss our bonuses. It will, gentlemen, be a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year
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