The following is an excerpt from The Last Year, a longer work of fiction currently in progress.
The divorce lawyer works in Century City.
It’s a corner office, 25th floor, the highest up I’ve been in L.A., and two wildfires are visible: smoke from the canyons, and, on the other edge of the panorama, a small blaze that I’ve not yet heard about, maybe new. I’m reminded of this summer, in Barnsdall Park for a picnic, when M. and I and a few of our friends spotted a column of smoke close by, in Eagle Rock. Two men, we later learned, had set a homeless camp on fire. One was the son of the president of the local Chamber of Commerce.
The lawyer names her price. The retainer is $3,000, but if her hourly rate keeps burning, I could owe far more. The math is basic: I can’t afford to hire this woman, a tall blonde partner in a corner office. I owe too many thousands of dollars to the bank, and to the IRS (though no more student loans, thank god). I listen as the lawyer explains that, in any event, I’ll need to petition divorce again, as my old filing, made in another county, is lapsed, no longer in the system. That’s $450 gone already, with no effect. She says that after a certain amount of time, that initial paperwork is tossed.
It’s a paywall, but a small one
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