Excerpt: Ethan O’Brady- man, lawyer, consumer

To give your blog readers a better insight into my work, I will be releasing short excerpts every once in awhile. I’ve already written one you can find here.

This short piece depicts the home life of lawyer Ethan O’Brady as he defends Sebastian Martinelli in a highly publicized multiple murder trial. O’Brady pleads insane in Sebastian’s stead, but cannot figure out how to prove someone insane or sane.

{WARNING: May contain strong language and adult themes. So if you’re under the age of nine, go play Robot Unicorn Attack.}

September 24, 1993

Miami, Florida

Ethan O’Brady

When Ethan returned from the prison, Margery was sitting on the couch paining her toes with the gaudy shade of Alpine Snow Matte by OPI and popping pills.

 Her feet propped on a leather ottoman, shade: chocolate brown according to the label. The inside of their apartment dark, the only light from the murmuring television set.

 “Something strange happened at the prison today.”  He plopped down beside her on the wrap-around couch that they bought from IKEA and assembled in their own living room.

Over the pink rims of non-prescription clear-lensed Ray Bans, she lazily glanced at him. “The Martinelli case?”

“Martinelli, he flipped. I mean, he just went bat-shit today. First, he was calm but then started ranting about—how he was really guilty. He deserved the punishment.”

“Maybe he really is guilty.”

But no, he’s not.

Ethan burrowed through his attaché case, a Korchmar leather brand in a burgundy shade. Wrenching out the analysis test papers, he peered at Margery with deliberate gravity. “When we brought him in, we psychoanalyzed him. He tested for catastrophic schizophrenia, except that the dementia has come to a stall for some reason. According to the doctor, he has lost some cognitive development, the ability to discern clearly what is right and what is wrong.”

 “Just because he’s insane doesn’t mean he can’t be remorseful.” She yawned and picked up a red and white pill, studied it, and popped it into her mouth. High as hell all day. Blitzed on Oxycontin.

“The upside to pills,” she would often say, “is that they’re just so discreet. Not like heroin—you have bind a belt around your arm or something like that just to shoot up. Pills, not so drastic.” She considered herself to be an aficionado of pills, an uneducated pharmacist: “There’s a lot of science to the purity of a pill. Some drugs are tainted with isomers, which have the same chemical make-up but different geometric structures from the derivatives. Impure pills. That may not sound like a big deal, but that kind of shit kills. Or worse, it lessens the effect of the chemicals.”

Ethan stood up and turned off the television as he entered the kitchen. The shopping channel: a tall, elegant woman modeling a heavy pearl necklace faded to black. As he entered the kitchen, he glanced back over his shoulder at Margery who lolled her head back, staring listlessly at the ceiling. There was an island grill top in the center of the sea of glimmering blue tiles, surrounded by a black granite countertop and a tall, black fridge stocked with white wines and cheeses that Margery purchased from the deli down the street.

Fucking fancy shit—but— she’s a keeper. That’s what dad always said. But what does he know? He married my mother.

Begin prepping dinner by thawing out a package of meat from the freezer in lukewarm sink water. In a few minutes, use a sharp Santoku knife from Pampered Chef with a corrosion-resistant blade and ergonomic handle that Margery purchased from a magazine to slice the meat.

Fastidious urbanite. Heterosexual paragon of style. Shameless consumerist. That’s me.

After he had put the meat on shish kabobs and laid them across the islanded grill, he peeked back into the living room; Margery lay sprawled half-on, half-off the couch unconscious, her mouth open and leaking gossamer strands of drool.

This is who we are. We live this way. And to continue living this way, I need to make a breakthrough tomorrow in court. I’ll present the evidence, come with a big stick. But is it worth—of course it’s worth it. Soon, we’ll be out of this squalid city headed for the country. And Margery and me, well, maybe we’ll get married. And all this stuff from magazines, the shopping channel, and IKEA—we can leave it behind. Or we can get more of it.

I’ll make this right. I’ll make this wrong. I am just a lawyer. I am just a man. I am just Ethan O’Brady, victim to morality and jarring inhibitions.

About derekberry

Derek Berry is a novelist, poet, and student located in Charleston, SC.

Posted on November 29, 2011, in books, novel, writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wow. I like this excerpt a lot. Can’t wait til you get published so I can read the whole thing!

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