“So why did you wait so long to get a lawyer?” Jacob said without looking away from his computer screen. He had a slight New York accent and seemed to be in his mid-sixties. The hair clinging to the sides of his head was silver. He squinted over the top of wire glasses that hung with all their might to the tip of his nose.
“I didn’t think it was that big a deal,” Tuck replied. The truth was Tucker had left a message at legal aid four months ago and then forgot about it until a few days ago. Then Tucker procrastinated some more. Finally, after Maddy had yelled at him Googled “best traffic lawyer Baltimore.” And that is how Tucker Cabot found Jacob Rosenstein, “the #1 traffic violation lawyer in Baltimore City.”
“Ah Ha! Here it is.” Jacob said as if he had just found his keys. “Oh. These charges are a complete mess.” He shook his head and started to laugh. Without looking, he snatched a small pad from his desk and started scribbling notes.
Jacob’s office was in the penthouse of a large building in the middle of downtown. Coming off the elevator Tucker had been greeted by a secretary in an expensive dress behind an expensive desk, but Jacob was in an old red sweat stained tee-shirt and khaki shorts.
Suddenly the scribbling stopped and Jacob spun in his large black leather swivel chair to face Tucker. “So what happened?” he asked with a smirk.
With uncertainty, Tucker replied, “Well. I’m not completely sure. At some point, I got a ticket that I paid late. I don’t…”
“Three years ago you were pulled over in Glen Burnie for driving without registration.”
“Oh. Um. I guess? Yeah, that makes sense. I remember that ticket. We were headed out to see my brother-in-law and I had left my registration on the table. It had just come in the mail and the kids were…”
Jacob rolled his eyes and made an impatient circular motion with his hand.
“Oh. Sorry. So I forgot to pay it because we were moving. Well, we had to short sell our house and were moving into a new house about five minutes away…”
Jacob spun to face his computer again. “And you didn’t pay it for over a year during which time the court sent you a summons, which you missed because they don’t forward that kind of mail, then when you didn’t show up to the court date you didn’t know about they suspended your license, and when you paid the ticket a little later they took your money but left your license suspended.” He smiled and paused for Tucker to take back over.
“Then five months ago I was driving down Northern Parkway and this cop pulled up next to my car, looked at me, and then got behind me and pulled me over.”
“They have scanners in their cars that scan your license plate and show them on a little screen all your dirty secrets.” Jacob looked from his computer to shoot Tucker a sly grin.
“So I got a ticket for driving with a suspended license. I went to pay it the next day. My court date is in two weeks. Can you help me?”
Jacob looked at Tucker sizing him up. “How many kids do you have?”
“Three. The oldest is five.”
“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a pastor. I also volunteer at my kids’ public school.”
“What kind of church?”
“You do know that what they’ve charged you with carries a $7,000 fine and up to 3 years in jail?”
“Yes, sir,” Tucker replied helplessly.
Jacob sat for a moment staring at the ceiling. A pit started to form in Tucker’s stomach. Tuck was sure Jacob was going to tell him jail was unavoidable.
After what felt like an eternity to Tucker, Jacob burst into action. “Let me make a phone call,” he said snatching up the phone. “Yeah, Jenny. Get me State Prosecutor Sarah Collins.” Jacob cupped the phone and spun back to face Tucker. “I’m going to fix this and maybe you won’t even have to pay me.” Just as quick, he was staring back at his computer and barking into the phone, “Hey Sarah! Baby! How you do’in? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So listen. I’ve got Pastor Reverend Tucker Cabot, father of three, community organizer, and all around amazing public servant sitting here in my office. Are you looking him up yet? Well, let me talk while you find the file. Listen, I’m not going to mention that your cop
Just as quick, he was staring back at his computer and barking into the phone, “Hey Sarah! Baby! How you do’in? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So listen. I’ve got Pastor Reverend Tucker Cabot, father of three, community organizer, and all around amazing public servant sitting here in my office. Are you looking him up yet? Well, let me talk while you find the file. Listen, I’m not going to mention that your cop mis-charged him. I’m not going to bring up that the paperwork is a complete disaster. I’m not even going to discuss with you the motion for postponement I’m getting ready to file because I can’t make it to court that day. You got it yet?”
Jacob paused for less than a second. Tucker knew he has selected the right guy. He was in the presence of greatness, watching a true master at work. “Good, good, good. So anyway. I’m not going to discuss any of that with you. Instead, I’m going to appeal to your decency as a human being, to your moral and spiritual fiber, and simply give you the chance just to dismiss this thing and let the good pastor off the hook. Dismiss and he promises never again leave his registration sitting on his kitchen table. He also promises not to move. And if you ever send him a summons again he will wait patiently by the mailbox until it arrives. Let’s you and I just dismiss this thing and let Reverend Carey off the hook just this one time. What’d ya say?”
“Good, good, good,” Jacob continued. “So anyway. I’m not going to discuss the cop, the mis-charge, the paperwork, the postponement, none of that stuff. I’m not going to bore you with any of it. Instead, I’m going to appeal to your decency as a human being, to your moral and spiritual fiber, and I’m simply going to give you the chance to just dismiss this thing and let the good pastor off the hook. Dismiss and he promises never again leave his registration sitting on his kitchen table. He also promises not to move. And if you ever send him a summons again, he will wait patiently by the mailbox until it arrives. Let’s you and I just dismiss this thing and let Reverend Cabot off the hook just this one time. What’d ya say?”
He paused long enough to flash Tucker a smile and then he jumped right back into his ranting. “Listen Sarah Baby. Does he even have to show up? I mean come on, this is just…okay, okay, okay. He’ll be there. Yes. I promise he’ll be there. I won’t be there, but he’ll be there. So listen, this was fantastic. I’ll see you in four days in courtroom five. Bring your A-Game, Baby. Because I’m coming for you. Alright now. Bye-bye, Baby.” Jacob hung up the phone in triumph and spun around to face Tucker.
“Wow,” Tucker said. “Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome.” Jacob started scribbling on his pad again. “Here the deal. I’m not going to charge you, but I’m Jewish so when I head upstairs, if this Jesus guy turns out to be Messiah, then I expect you to put in a good word for me.”
“That’s not really how it works,” Tucker said with a smile.
“Whatever. I don’t care. I just know that the way I practice law, I need all the good references I can get. It was great to meet you. Now get out of here so I don’t have to start charging you.”
Tucker reached over Jacob’s desk, shook Jacob’s hand, thanked him again, and left.
“And you remember the deal,” Jacob called down the hall as Tucker got into the elevator.