To the rogue’s gallery of Shitsvilles I’d now like to add Francis Matlock Shitsville. Frankie is my fourth- or fifth- cousin. He is one of the only Shitsvilles in the book who is not dead or in gaol for penury-related crimes, though he’s probably come pretty close. Francis is a lawyer. It’s hard to know whether he is not a very good lawyer or if he just can’t be fucked. He admits it’s a vicious cycle of inability & indifference.
In any case he seems to only represent hopeless people: bored rubes who want to argue over perfectly reasonable speeding fines and other traffic infringements, such as driving drunk or on drugs and parking on a curb outside of a school, on top of a small boy, &c. And so he loses all of the time, which does not endear him to powerful law firms. Consequently his ‘look’ is what I would term shabby-geneteel: he is enough of a lawyer to have that pimpish preference for a silver sheen in suits which are almost-Armani; he has long hair which makes him look a bit like a drug pusher of the 90s; he is well-known in court circles for his wan look and aloof nature. Every now and then he will sleep late and have to run into court up the long centre aisle in front of all the Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury with his gown billowing & face buried in a white silk handkerchief because his nose is bleeding – more often than not a lawyer’s lunch will consist of a selection of fine wines and escargot presaged by five little lines of cocaine cut neatly with an Amex card.
Francis Shitsville also goes by the name of Frank Garland, but please don’t judge him for that because he is trying to get a foot in the door of the world of show biz. Apparently Frank finds it disheartening to lose cases all of the time and so he can’t wait to start auditioning… He told me all about it at the bar on Thursday while we were waiting to hear back from the coroner. We were there after a long day and for the hell of it (I admit) and because it was my birthday. It was a sort of old man bar where old men & the kind of people I rightly despise (dressed universally as cowpokes) sit around having the type of conversations you find in Hemingway: “O hell. Go to hell. Damned Jew. You’re drunk. I’m not drunk, you’re drunk,” etc.
My best advice to Francis, if I dared to give it, would be, “I think you should abandon your acting pursuits. You are 28 now. Too old to dream. Your good looks are becoming akin to a faded sunset.” Instead I said, “I like your shoes Cousin Francis,” and he said, “Thanks cousin.” Then I said, “Something I’ve noticed is that most murderers in films – stranglers especially – will show a preference for stylish loafers.” Francis wiped his nose. Stuffing the kerchief back into his top pocket he said, “Far be it from me to claim to understand the workings of the criminal mind.”