Duncan! Assemble!

by jkatejohnston

24 July 2013

Dear Max,

Enzo: “Is it okay if I do a demonstration with your boobs?”

Me: “How?”

Enzo: “This is the breast [touching my cleavage], this is the boob itself [pointing] and at the end there’s the nipple.”


“I can smell a Skittle half a mile away.” This remark brought on by a new brand of shampoo that he says smells like Skittles, and I don’t doubt him.


“I was just born with a certain fear of monsters. I wonder why.” He’s into those Goosebumps books, and since he can’t read, so are we. They scare him and thrill him, and a couple of times he’s wanted me to go with him into his room—in the middle of the day—because he’s scared to go in there alone. And he’s armed himself before bed with shin-guards, a wooden sword, a Frisbee, and a stick. (I talked him out of the shin-guards.) We said if the books scare him that much, we’re not going to read them anymore. So now he’s trying to convince us that it’s not the books, it’s just the way he was made.


“Duncan! Assemble!” (I hope I’ve mentioned before that Duncan is the cat.)


What I like about being a lawyer is the way, sometimes, it brings your whole self to attention, so that yesterday at lunchtime I didn’t want to read or eat. I just walked and walked around the neighborhoods near work thinking. Thinking isn’t quite right. It’s more like Enzo’s solitary play. Your whole self engaged in a series of vivid scenes. It draws on everything you know from books and people. And there’s a problem to solve. I was afraid Social Services wouldn’t be like that. But it turns out that taking away someone’s livelihood is a serious business. And getting what you want from a large organization is a puzzling business.

In criminal defense, your duties are simple: absolute loyalty to the client within the rules. In government, you’re supposed to do the right thing, and people have different ideas about what that is.