"I'd had a few run-ins with other "clients" (as the attorneys called them) before I'd perfected my unflappable work poker face and steely composure. One small scrawny woman in her thirties had insisted she had to see a lawyer immediately, but I knew that office protocol demanded she and the rest of the customers be seen in the order in which they'd signed in. Her agitation escalated to rage, with plenty of shrieking and cussing. For a second, I thought she might come over the counter at me. And it was just a waist-high wooden counter--no bulletproof glass extending to the ceiling. There was nothing but air between me and the criminal element. Luckily (really luckily, as it turned out), when I raised my voice for the first and last time on that job and told her in no uncertain terms she needed to Sit Down And Wait Her Turn, she suddenly and inexplicably caved and meekly complied. Who knows why... When I covertly checked her paperwork later, I saw that she was out on bail for allegedly murdering her common law husband in his sleep. With a claw hammer.
Ye Gods. And I'd told her (more or less) to shut up and sit down. I never again lost my temper with a client. And I made sure the counter top was always free of sharp objects. Blunt ones too.
Good times at the Public Defender."
© Amy Briant 2013