For me, it started out like every other late night, cautious and tense. I’d found my way to the bar, to what “they” call their nightly CAFA Chill. It was typical of most of their little parties, lawyer guys and gals dancing and disco balls spinning against a background of dark red strobe light. The usual classys (that’s what these CAFA junkies called themselves) were huddled in the barely visible corner tables, getting their fix on free Westlaw passwords, searching public records of their friends without a file number, callously tearing pages out of old Sheppard’s citation books. They disgusted me, and my working for them disgusted me. 

I hit the door and headed straight for the bar. The place was so hot I would swear that the walls were sweating. I wasn’t at the bar good before the boss-man’s boy B-TAG (Big Tall Army Guy) leaned his knobby elbows on the bar next to me, before I could even ask for a drink. Something was definitely up because the classy schlepping drinks just turned his back and walked away when he saw B-TAG. He, the Army guy, looked down at me, glasses fogged, and asked if I had a minute to speak with the boss-man, the “G” (Generalissimo), in that nasal, proper English way.  No one says no to the “G,” so what do you think I said?

The “G” was in his spot, in his corner at the CAFA Chill. I didn’t even get in the seat good when he started in on me.

“G”: You got it, right?  

ME: Yeah, I got what you asked for. You got mine, right?

“G”: We ain’t talking bout you yet, remember? You already lost your Westlaw privileges.

ME: Then why’d I do all this? For your damn cocktail?

“G” blank stare, uncrosses his legs, leans forward, pauses, stares me down, then leans back again.

“G”: You see, Butch, it ain’t about no cocktail. It’s about vision, staying on top. This Blog is top notch, the best Blog on the net. We drop CAFA knowledge like the Feds drop indictments on Barry Bonds. My aim … crush the competition. That takes innovation, and that’s why I want this cocktail, understand. I want us to be the only Blog with a drink. And I want it to be this drink.

ME: Yeah, I understand, but I went through hell and back to get you this information and I expect a little appreciation in return.

“G”: Appreciation Butch? You still here, right? You gettin’ your Westlaw password back, right? You know what I had to do to get the rest of this information?

Me, blank stare at “G,” nods negatively.

“G”: Your boys Vincent and Jules had to “persuade” some young plaintiff’s lawyer and his staff to give up the 3/4 ounce Amaretto and 3/4 ounce Frangelico. I even had to call in the Wolf to help them with their public domain citations. You know what that cost me Butch?

Me, same blank stare, nod in disbelief.

“G”: Your partner Chigurh had to win a coin toss with the Texas gent before he’d give up the 1-3/4 ounce Cognac. He even had to conduct transaction searches on Westlaw and I know you know how much that costs.

Me, same blank stare, same nod.

“G”: So you see Butch, it ain’t about you. If my offer ain’t good enough for you, I’ll find someone who will appreciate my generosity. Needless to say, that leaves you thumbing through paper versions of the FRDs, FSupps, and Fed Thirds to get your thing on, understand?

ME: Yeah, I understand.

“G”: So? What’s it gonna be Butch?

ME: 1/4 ounce Absinthe.

“G”: Humph. Where’d you get it?

Me, looking away, lighting a cigarette, and shooting a cocked glance to the “G,” wondering to myself “just why is B-TAG doing the moonwalk?”

ME: Old Storyville District, Orleans.

* * *

The classys kept dancing and screaming. The red strobe kept burning, and the “G” had his CAFA cocktail. I have to admit, it packed a strong punch. I had one shot and that’s all it took. Next think I knew, I woke up to reams of Westlaw paper strewn all over the room, and it looked like someone had sprayed the words “Amount in Controversy” across my living room wall. I pulled myself up to the bathroom where someone had wrote “removal” repeatedly on the mirror. I thought to myself, what or who did this? Was it that drink? Is this why the “G” had to have this cocktail. The next moment answered my question. I straggled to the edge of my bed, sunk my head between my hands, the red neon from the sign outside my window blinking, blinking like that strobe at the classy party. Uncontrollably my head jerked back, and my lungs exploded, and I found myself screaming uncontrollably “Local Controversy Exception, Local Controversy Exception.” I collapsed to the floor, twitched like a lab rat, and woke to find myself at the keyboard … typing … typing …

The CAFA Cocktail, Shameless Self-Promotion at its Finest!

3/4 ounce Amaretto

3/4 ounce Frangelico

1-3/4 ounce Cognac

1/4 ounce Absinthe

Make sure you have a chair to prop yourself up!