Authors’ Commentary on “Appellate Angel”

Lawyers in Hell Authors’ Commentary on
»Appellate Angel,«
 a story in Lawyers in Hell

My involvement in Lawyers in Hell came about as do many of my adventures in life, by way of my sense of humor.  I was playing with Facebook one day trying to figure out if this was the biggest waster of human time since Rubik’s Cube or God’s gift to enterprising networkers (it’s both) when I chanced across Tempus Thales, the alter ego of Janet Morris.  Having read a number of her anthologies and other works, I started corresponding by Facebook with her.  Eventually the subject of the Heroes in Hell series came up.  As a joke I told her that this field was not exhausted and that I could see room for many other volumes, especially Lawyers in Hell. 

Lawyers in Hell Three of four rounds of bad lawyer jokes later she suddenly switched gears on me and sent “you’re on.”  Next thing I knew this new anthology was taking off around my ears like the spaceship in “When Worlds Collide.” ectable antiquity, and therefore operates under its own rules.

I’d been in anthologies before and in fact edited two the Sha’Daa series which like the “In Hell” series has common premises and characters.  However I was stunned by the wealth, depth and sheer complexity of the Hell series.  A lot had come before and a lot more was subtext or implicit.

Well now that I had gotten myself into this I had a story to write.   I started thinking of my own hellish experiences of the American legal process.  No I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I have hired and fired my share of them, the latter is fun, sometimes they sob on their Gucci’s.  I’d tell you what I do but then I would have to kill you.  A quote came to me, that despite the wonders of the Internet I could not pin down, “Due Process is not endless process.”  It occurred to me that if that was our goal on earth, in Hell it would be the opposite.  So I came up with the idea of an appellate process in Hell and the appellate angel who served in it.  The rest came fairly easy.  

Edward McKeownYou might think that in hell “Due process would be a bullet” (Green Beret movie – thank you Internet) but I am sure it is a long and unending series of court dates, postponed motions, and indifference, in short much like the current Italian court system.  If you think I am kidding, I was involved in a case of a traffic accident in Italy that was 25 years old when I inherited it, where half the parties had passed on due to to natural causes, and three years later when I left the case, it had no trial date set.   

All kidding aside I have a great deal of respect for the legal profession.  Rule of law beats the alternative, which is clubbing each other.  And as for the lawyers themselves, lawyers don’t sue people, clients sue people, for coffee being too hot, toasters not being safe for bathtubs, and cars accelerating when they claim they are standing on the brake (they’re standing on the gas).  Lawyers are a lot like guns, useful for good or evil, but you can’t blame a gun for shooting straight, or a lawyer for representing a wacky client.  Well at least I don’t.

Have fun in Hell,
Edward McKeown

Appellate Angel, © Edward McKeown; Perseid Publishing, 2011
2011© Lawyers in Hell (Janet Morris), 2011, all rights reserved

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