Copyright © Kate Kelsen 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Jasem followed the dorm supervisor along the hall, stopping when he stopped outside one of the rooms. The supervisor opened the door and stepped aside to let Jasem in. On the wall nearest the dorm room door was a wardrobe, and then a twin bed, and a desk. On the wall facing the door was a window. The same arrangement was duplicated on the other side of the room, and Jasem could nearly touch his roommate’s bed from his own. There sat his roommate.
‘I’m Hughie. What’s your name?’
‘So, where are you from, Jasem?’
‘New York. You?’
‘Here in LA, actually.’
That night, Jasem crawled into his new bed. He could feel the springs just below the surface of the mattress. The voices of other students could be heard in the hall, laughing, talking and shouting. Hughie was out there amongst them somewhere. On his empty bed sat Jasem’s mother. Jasem closed his eyes, tucking his hand under the thin pillow beneath his head.
‘Goodnight, Mama,’ he whispered.
‘Goodnight, Jasem,’ she whispered back.
Civil Procedures class came to an end, and the thud of textbooks closing and the swish of papers swept across the lecture hall as the students shuffled toward the exit.
‘Jasem, have you got a second?’
Jasem stopped and turned back to his professor.
‘I just wanted to say, great work on your essay. You certainly did your homework on Subject Matter Jurisdiction.’
‘The reason I wanted to speak to you is because an opportunity has come up with the District Attorney’s Office. They have a large caseload at the moment, and are looking at taking first-year law students as interns. I thought this might be something you would be interested in applying for. You’ve certainly got the grades to qualify for one of the spots, and I’d certainly give you a good reference.’
‘Think about it, but don’t take too long.’
Lying on his back, Jasem stared through the dark at the ceiling. He glanced at his alarm clock: 6.18am. He threw off his blanket and stood up out of bed. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, he combed the hair on the right side of his head into place. He set the comb down on the bench next to the sink, regarding his reflection as he buttoned his suit jacket.
The bell pinged, the elevator shuddered to a halt and the doors opened. Jasem stepped out and approached the reception desk.
‘Hello,’ the woman greeted.
‘Hi, my name’s Jasem. I have an interview for the intern program.’
‘Take a seat around the corner and Gordon will come for you.’
‘Thank-you,’ said Jasem, and he sat with six other prospective candidates.
Jasem sat quietly on the other side of the desk as Gordon Blackwell examined his resume, holding the document in front of his face between the two of them, strumming his fingers against the paper. Finally, he lowered the resume and looked at Jasem with a deadpan gaze.
‘You think you’ve got what it takes to qualify for one of these spots?’
‘I’d like to think so. I got into the same law school as the other candidates, and am taking the same classes.’
Gordon nodded once.
‘I’m going to be honest. I’m not much fun to work for.’
‘Well, I’m not here to have fun. I’m here to learn, and to help out wherever I can.’
Gordon gave a wry smile, glancing down at the resume once more.
‘We’ll be in touch.’
Walking through a courtyard in the university grounds, Jasem spotted Hughie sitting on a bench in the sunshine.
‘Hi,’ Hughie greeted as Jasem approached. ‘How was your interview?’
‘It was good.’
‘Good for you for going for it. I can’t imagine doing all this study and an internship. It would be so much work.’
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for another excerpt tomorrow!