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ISSUE I – December 13, 2013


Hello. I am The Monocle.      

If I am not mistaken, I believe we have a mutual friend – The Morningside Muckraker. (Small world, isn’t it?)

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Well this is

SPECTACULAR.

‘Cause here’s some

stuff that will really tickle your fancy. (formally called the “Table of Contents”)  

 

How To Read A Poem Slowly -------------------------------- Nemo

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The Plaintiffs’ Complaint ------------------------- Anton Lauriello --------- 5 Adventures of Captain Damos ------------------- Levon Golendukhen ----- 7 Illustrated: Brent Michael -------------------------- Brent Michael -------- 8 My Descent into the Sewer ---------------------- Anton Chaevitch ---------- 10 Poached Eggs & Perspectives ------------------------------- M ---------------- 12

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Illustrated BY: Minji Reem


The Plaintiffs’ Complaint BY: Anton Lauriello

T

he florescent light in the stale conference room flickered from nauseatingly bright to a merely

unhealthy glow. The people in the room made sure to stay away from the light fixture, lest they assume the risk if an accident happened. A semi-circle of chairs surrounded a podium as everyone made small talk. When a nondescript clock hit 7, a man walked to the podium and grabbed it with his only hand. “Hello my name is Farwell and I’ve been a losing plaintiff for 171 years.” The group responded with the customary “Hello Farwell.” Farwell began his prepared remarks. “In my previous life I worked for the Boston & Worcester Railroad. It was an all right job I guess, until I lost my hand being thrown off a train because of the switch operator. Well, guess what I did next? I went to court to recover for my damages.” Snorts and chuckles erupted in the group. “All I wanted was some cash to live on. But guess what happened when my case was weighed on the scales of so-called justice?” Most in the group mouthed the word “nothing” to Farwell’s rhetorical question. However, Ms. Palsgraf, sitting cross-legged in the third row, was still shuddering violently at the mention of scales. “I got nothing. Zero. A big fat goose egg. So what did I do? I took my loss like a man, kept my mouth shut. Maybe Justice Shaw was right; I should have known my job was risky.” Farwell was beginning to tear up. “But then I learned that my case had been included in law school text books. At first I thought this was a good thing that people would finally empathize with my pain. So I went to a first year torts class reading my case, and what did I find? The class was laughing. Making train innuendos. And the professor was encouraging them, asking them ‘hypos’ about me.” Farwell’s voice was getting louder as its speaker began getting more and more upset, pounding his only fist on the podium for emphasis after every point. “‘What if Farwell was drunk? What if Farwell knew the switch operator was drunk? What if Farwell had below average intelligence?’ Can anyone know how that feels? To have your greatest pain treated as a somewhat humorous intellectual abstraction?’”     A hand shot up from the group’s back row. Its thick mane of hair bristled in indignation. Farwell pointed to its owner, and George Hawkins stood up. “I know how it feels Farwell. A doctor lied to me, permanently disfigured me and ruined my life. I tried to move on, but then the casebook editors found out about me. Now, everyone knows me for my flawed appendage. The sum of my human achievement is forever dwarfed by my….” Hawkins was so full of rage he could not finish his sentence. He swallowed his disgust and gathered himself. “… Is forever dwarfed by my hairy hand.” Hawkins sat down, exhausted from the ordeal. Farwell looked at him sympathetically and the group thanked him for sharing. Farwell continued.

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A hand shot up from the group’s back row. Its thick mane of hair bristled in indignation. Farwell pointed to its owner, and George Hawkins stood up. “I know how it feels Farwell. A doctor lied to me, permanently disfigured me and ruined my life. I tried to move on, but then the casebook editors found out about me. Now, everyone knows me for my flawed appendage. The sum of my human achievement is forever dwarfed by my….” Hawkins was so full of rage he could not finish his sentence. He swallowed his disgust and gathered himself. “… Is forever dwarfed by my hairy hand.” Hawkins sat down, exhausted from the ordeal. Farwell looked at him sympathetically and the group thanked him for sharing. Farwell continued. “Yes, the world might not know my pain, but the people in this room do. That’s why we are all here today. We are the losing plaintiffs, immortalized forever in our nation’s legal education system not as examples of law.” An old woman, drinking the conference room’s stale coffee as carefully and meticulously as possible, cleared her throat. Farwell caught his mistake. “Sorry Ms. Liebeck, I forget some of us won our cases yet were still destined for the hell of being a law school case.” Ms. Liebeck accepted the apology with a nod. Farwell continued his speech.  “And so let me finish my story from before. I was in a first year torts class, hearing my case mocked and my personal dignity assailed. I couldn’t handle it anymore so I left the classroom. And then I noticed them. The portraits. The portraits of the judges. Story and Shaw were on one wall. Hand and Stone were on another wall.” Farwell was building into a crescendo. “And hanging in the greatest place of honor, right above the door of the law school were two faces looking down at me. On the right, Cardozo.” Farwell emphasized every syllable of the hated judge. A few people booed. Adams grabbed his wire in anger, Murphy slapped his good knee as if it were all a joke. Farwell was feeding off the crowd’s energy. H e continued. “And next to Cardozo, was the man himself. Looking down at me with his great big mustache. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.” Those in the crowd who still had feet were on them now, jeering loudly at Holmes and all he stood for. Farwell had whipped them into a fervor. “What have the judges done, other than to use confusing legal doctrines to add insults to our injury? We are the ones that had our limbs torn off, our bodies electrocuted, our eyes gouged and our cars exploded. If law schools are to teach our cases, to use us as examples then at the very least we should be the ones honored. Our portraits should hang at the law schools, our disfigured faces should look down at the law students and remind them that we are people, not examples. Our portraits should hang and show the next generation of lawyers that the law’s true consequences affect human beings, not restatements and casebooks. Our portraits should hang!” Pandemonium broke out in the room. People were hollering and cheering. In all of the excitement, a voice, no one knows whose, yelled, “Let’s take them to court, sue the bastards for all they’re worth!” The change in the room was instantaneous. All of the excitement from Farwell’s speech left even sooner than it came. The group sat back down. The room was silent. Everyone looked at each other. Then, an audible noise filled the room, getting louder and louder. It was impossible to tell if it was the sound of laughter or tears.     Illustrated BY: Minji Reem

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Adventures of Captain Damos BY: Levon Golendukhin  

Part I: Introduction Afloat upon the autumn breeze, A piece of parchment charred with age, It rides the wind with greatest ease, And carries inking on the page. Engraved upon the paper old, A warrant for a bandit’s head, A thousand pounds of finest gold, For Captain Damos, live or dead.

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Illustrated: Brent Michael    

Alma Mater

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Midnight Musings                                        

 

Brent Michael is an LLM student and litigation attorney from Sydney, Australia. Years of legal practice have waged a war of attrition on the right side of his brain, but it occasionally makes a comeback.

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BY: Anton Chaevitch  

Seeking rats, snakes, lizards, and other creatures we despise without ever wondering why, I descended into the sewers for the first time. The smell was exactly as expected: a strange mixture of the vapors of bodily waste and the waste of production. Yet it was not dark. Light emanated from a source I did not see. It was unlike sunlight—not nearly as bright. It certainly was not electric light—too genuine. It reminded me slightly of Southern Norway’s early summer nights, when the sun just barely sinks behind the mountains, and the light simply hangs in the air. I want to find the source; but how to find the source of that which is everywhere? I start to walk. There are no rats, no snakes, no lizards. I notice a doorway on my right. The light coming from it seems a little stronger than the light in my tunnel.

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Through the doorway I go. I find myself in a large ballroom. I am not surprised, though. Elegant shapes dance there. I would say that I feel I am in the 18th century, except that I do not feel part of the ball. The shapes are not quite real to me. I would say they are ghosts, but that strange light surrounds them. That strange light from the tunnel. They don’t seem to see me. I look at their faces carefully. Such expressions I have not seen for a long time. In truth, I have never seen such expressions. Is it the peace? The tranquility? The dignity? I cannot name that which I have never seen. I walk around the room, carefully avoiding the dancers. Suddenly, there I see him. On a tall throne sits the King. There is neither more nor less light around him, neither more nor less grace about him. There is greater presence. When I see him, I do not see anyone else. If I see someone else, I cannot see him. It all becomes too much! I came here for rats and vermin, not a King and his ball! I run away. I ram—there is no other word for it—I ram a pair of dancers as I flee. They fall, and for an instant there is no light about them. They rise and resume their steps, without noticing me. I am in my own world again. Subways and cars, rude and anxious faces. Yet something has changed. I cannot move at their pace anymore. I notice things now. A familiar face sits across from me on the subway. A dreary little man. Where have I seen him before? A woman enters the train. The dreary man makes a slight gesture, almost invisible. It is as if he wanted to get up. A slight bit of light surrounds him for an instant. Defeated before he even separates from his seat, he looks even smaller and drearier than before. It hits me. I saw him in the sewer. He was dancing there, dancing a graceful, perfect waltz. Would I even have recognized him now, if it hadn’t been for his unique eyebrows? Bushy but well tended to, they sit right above his eyes. It is the same man, I know it is, but I can hardly believe it. Did the woman even notice that he wanted to give up his seat? She wouldn’t have accepted it. The cab driver makes a slight gesture, too. He wants to give me all my change back. A glimmer of light. But he does not, and claims his tip. He, too, had been dancing in the ballroom. He must be disgusted with himself as he puts the green crumpled bills in his pocket. I cannot go back to my house. I wander the streets. Left I go, right I go. Suddenly, there is singing in the Sacred Tongue of my forefathers. A Star of David is in front of me. It’s shameful how much time has passed since I’ve been inside a synagogue. The rabbi picks up the silver hand and moves it along the Torah scroll as he reads from it. The sound of my childhood. That same, strange light. A familiar face framed by the beard, sidelocks, and hat. I cannot bear it, I flee. Outside there is a homeless man. Wondering whether—no, hoping that—the light might surround me, I decide to offer him money, though he did not ask for it. The man turns around and looks me in the eye. The same presence—it is the King! He refuses my money, and turns away. I flee into the sewer again. Where is the ballroom? There’s the door! There is a sign on it—had it been there before? Red paint on a white sign: “Do not try to be like us.” I stare.  

 

Illustrated BY: Minji Reem

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‘Twas truly a

pleasure meeting you.

I’ll see you again soon.

But in the meantime,

LETS KEEP IN TOUCH. I shall be awaiting your telegram (formally called “email”). My address is: monocle@morningsidemuckraker.com.  

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The Monocle - Issue 1