A story about my protagonist that takes place outside the novel.
John Casper stared out the window of the twenty-fifth floor corner office. The Hollywood sign could barely be made out in the distance through a haze of smog. Anyone who thought Los Angeles was a glamorous city clearly wasn’t talking about the air quality.
The office itself was a Philippe Starck original design, with furnishings and art that easily cost more than he made in a year. And he made a lot. He was admiring a framed Time Magazine cover with a personal message scrawled across it in black Sharpie.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” Andrea Drake said, entering the office and extending a hand as she approached Casper. “It’s been one of those days.”
“Not a problem,” Casper responded.
Casper seated himself on the sofa in the spacious office; Andrea took the adjacent club chair.
“You come very highly recommended by the DA’s office, Mr. Casper.”
“I wasn’t aware the District Attorney worked so closely with criminal defense firms.”
“This isn’t exactly a professional engagement,” Andrea replied, fidgeting in her seat.
Casper placed a reassuring hand on top of hers.
“Your email mentioned something about your daughter?”
“Yes. Cecelia. She’s a freshman at Crossroads.”
“And another girl’s giving her a hard time?”
“I just don’t understand,” Andrea said. “Kaitlin and Cecelia were best friends last year. Then, when classes started up again this Fall, Kaitlin started hanging out with a new group of friends, stopped talking to Cece, and even started harassing her.”
“Have you talked to the administration, called the police?”
“Mr. Casper, I’m hardly some defenseless homemaker. I’ve called, I’ve written, I’ve threatened ... but you know how these things work. The more adults try to force a resolution, the worse the bullying is when the kids are alone again. No, I need someone who can take care of this ... outside the normal channels. Someone who will do whatever it takes to make it stop.”
Casper looks around. “Normally this is the part where I’d ask if you’re familiar with my fee structure, but something tells me that’s not going to be a problem.”
Andrea smiles. “We have an agreement then?”
She and Casper shake hands.
“I’ll be in touch.”
“Mr. Casper,” Andrea said into her office speakerphone two days later. “I don’t know what you did or how you did it, but my friend in the DA’s office wasn’t kidding. You’re worth every penny.”
“I aim to please.”
“Kaitlin even called Cece and apologized for treating her so poorly.”
“Well, I think it’s safe to say that she’s realized the error of her ways and will probably be staying off social media for the foreseeable future. And there’s no need to worry about backlash; I’ve removed all traces of my involvement and connection to you.”
“Thank you, Mr. Casper. If you ever need the services of a twelve-hundred-dollar-an-hour defense attorney, do give me a call.”
“Thank you, Ms. Drake. That’s very kind. And please feel free to give me a call if you experience a recurrence with Kaitlin or require solutions to any other problems.”
“You’re just like my own personal--”
“Good day, Ms. Drake. Take care.”