“Give 'em the old razzle dazzle Razzle Dazzle 'em Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it And the reaction will be passionate, Give 'em the old hocus pocus Bead and feather 'em How can they see with sequins in their eyes?” -Richard Gere
“Said, 'Lil bitch, you can't fuck With me if you wanted to,' These expensive, these is red bottoms, These is blood shoes, Hit the store, I can get 'em both, I don't wanna choose.” - Belcalis “Cardi B” Almanzar
The snap crack of a typewriter booms through Shonn Chapley's office. She smirks as this sound blasts from her cellphone, reminding all who can hear how important each letter she types is. As a top entertainment attorney, she charges $1000 an hour and types at 4 characters per second, so each clack is worth a little more than $4.
Kip sits across from her oval desk, tapping his pen against his knee. He stares, hoping her eyes will catch his contempt. Caden lets out an exasperated sigh.
This is one of Shonn's many power moves. She makes all potential clients sit and wait at least five minutes in her presence.
Kip clears his throat.
“And. Sent!” Shonn’s phone coos the sound of a dozen carrier pigeons bearing her message through the ether.
“Boys, you’ve come to the right place. We are the nation’s only vertically integrated law and management firm. We can bring plaintiffs from tears to trial, from talkshow couch to jury bench, and from deposition to coffee table book.”
Her office computer system responds to this verbal cue and dims the lights. A three-dimensional presentation ignites from the wall. Her firm's logo bobs, waiting for the presentation to begin
“Here at Chapley LLP, we tell stories.” Shonn paces before the holowall. “We move public opinion. We know that there is no such thing as an independent jury.”
The holopowerpoint morphs to show a mockup of her five floor office building.
“Each floor in our building represents physically and metaphorically a different level in your story's journey.
“In the first floor, we have our press conference studio, with multiple backdrops. We've got the patriotic marble facade with American flags. That's popular among disgraced politicians. The somber library is perfect for celebrities, especially those with DUIs. Everything is formulaic, the blonder the actress, the dark the mahogany desks we'll use. The more gruesome the sexual assault--- allegations--- The more crying grandmas and aunties surround the accused. Don't have grandmas? We can provide them. I told you, boys.”
With a wink and a smile. “We got you covered!
“Second floor is our writers' studio. Full of hungry scriptwriters and comedians. Each swears they are on the cusp of fame. And they always threaten to quit. Ha! Not a single one has gotten away in over a decade. But don't tell them that. They craft the perfect zings to pluck heart strings and then burrow deep in your brain. Among our writers is the author of: 'If the glove doesn’t fit; you must acquit.'
“Pure. Legal. Genius! Don't worry boys, any contract with us comes with a minimum of three jingles sure to make the jury tingle.”
“Third floor is our beauty salon. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make each of our clients look the proper mix of genuine, sweet and, well, abused. Most women show up with as much makeup on as possible for a presser. Oh no! This is not a cougar convention in Cancun and no, they shouldn't look like a contestant on MILF Island.”
Shonn shakes her head.
“No, no, no, no, no.
“We gots to reel it back. Bring down the hair. Smooth out those pageant curls. Add slight bags under the eyes. And the outfit, its gotta look like a suburban mom going to a piano recital. Conservative and quaint!
“Fourth floor's our geek dungeon. You may see ping-pong tables and Zumba classes. We see the minds that make the internet move. We lock sorority sisters, catty gays and techies into crafting the perfect social media posts about our cases. In real time! Those memes about the NFL and concussions? We did those. We create new accounts, add a slew of followers and then just start pounding through these online echo chambers until our words wash over traditional media and drench the public.
“Fifth floor is our dance studio and set. Our usual plaintiffs are amateurs. Oh, but not yours. With the normals, we need to prep them on how to look, move, speak, cry, pout, flip their hair and fall apart. We have to crush every basic instinct and replace these with very precise, focus-grouped reactions. And! You won't believe this, we just signed on Jan Posey to teach our litigants! She runs a MasterClass in Oscars crying. She taught Gwyneth Paltrow and Halle Berry ev-er-e-thing! Also we got set materials to build an exact replica of the courtroom. When they walk into the real courtroom, we want them to feel as comfortable as possible and know how to hit their marks.
“Tear to camera one. Grab a tissue and sniffle to the jury box. Take a breath, look up to the ceiling like they're saying a prayer. And ask the defendant's lawyer to repeat the question. Deny and Repeat!”
Chapley mimes these movements. She flourishes her tissue and lets it drop in front of Kip and Caden.
“Now that you know we're the best of the best,”
The light turns up. The holopowerpoint bobs her logo three times and disappears in a puff.
“Why should I take your case?”
Chapley stands at the window, looking through the rows of blinds.
Caden stares at her for a moment and then erupts.
“This will be the trial of the Century. The trial of the Millennium!”
“And who is footing the bill?”
“We will.” Kip promises. “No matter what the outcome, the lawsuit will rise the profile of our clients. Higher profiles mean more work... or at least more people buying our stars' previous work.”
“Disney is a formidable foe.” Chapley paces the room “Their talent have to sue just to get the residuals owed them. They're sharks. Why should I risk getting into a pool with those hammerheads?”
“We’re agents. We'll make it worth your while. We’re geniuses at squeezing dollars from a bleeding rock.” Caden malapropizes.
Kip glowers as he picks up the sloppy slack.
“Win or lose, we’ll make your firm millions. We'll make you a household name. Book deal, free publicity---”
“T-shirts with your company’s logo worn by each star.” Caden interjects.
Kip clears his throat.
“Or--- a Lifetime made-for-TV movie with a producer credit.”
Chapley whirls to face them. The dazzle of fame sparkles in her eye. She smells weakness and pounces.
“I want Executive Producer credits on an E! TV movie. I want Keke Palmer to star as me. A three book deal. And... a Macy’s lifestyle line. Oh, and throw in two tickets to the Oscars after party.”
Kip and Caden huddle. Through their squabble, Chapley dreams of the name of her first lifestyle book. Hmm... “Litigish Kitch” sounds good to her. All about how she balances life as a lawyer with her love for cooking and hosting. For the cover, she'll lay across the marble island in her kitchen, legs crossed with her stilettos tilted to show the red bottoms of her Louboutins.
Kip breaks to report.
“Yes, but we can only offer you a line at K-Mart and tickets to the Golden Globes.”
Internally, Chapley squeals. But for them, she gulps these emotions and lets out a crestfallen sigh.
“FINE. And I want two agents on hand during each meeting with any celeb. From Pysch eval to press conference to deposition. They are all dynamite witnesses, but we gotta make sure they explode only when and how we tell them to.”