“It appears,” said Captain Pantling, the advocates’ clerk, “that the many demands on LeSnide’s time may have clouded his judgement. He was on a routine trip to the Supreme Court debating the recent Sponge-Cake case - the landmark ruling which fell in Mr. Sponge’s favour - after which he made moves to return and indeed travelled a hundred miles in this direction. Then something seems to have prompted him to turn back.
“But rather than return to discuss the undeniably questionable Sponge-Cake ruling with other senior counsel – I personally believe Mr. Cake should have prevailed - he discarded his baggage, dispensed with his socks and shoes and took a canal boat up the Kenneth & Keith. He’s now holed up in an abandoned station-post in deepest Westerchester - an area accessible only by water.”
“Is that in Westerchestershire?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
“How do you know this?”
“It’s common knowledge.”
“I mean, how do you know that’s where he is?”
“We fitted him with a tracking device. It’s best to know the location of The Insufferable One at all times.”
“Besides, we have talent scouts in the region. They tell us he has engaged one of the local tribes as his footsoldiers and that these poor simple people – many of them little more than savages - bow to his every utterance.”
“Hmm,” I said. “Is that so unusual?”
“I admit,” he replied, “a great deal of enforced idolatry exists in the legal profession already. Many unwilling subjects have fallen into subservience at the hands of camel-coat-wearing tyrants simply because resistance can be troublesome. Indeed, many of LeSnide’s new footsoldiers are junior lawyers. But even allowing for this, it’s peculiar behaviour.”
“He’s very motivated.”
“Well, if you’d call single-handedly capturing a tribe of indigenous peoples and forcing them to do your bidding ‘motivated,’ then I agree. There was however, mention of a personality disorder which may compel counsel to tackle situations with far more zeal than your everyday camel-coat.”
“A personality disorder?” I enunciated this after the Captain’s fashion.
“Yes,” he said. “A per-son-al-it-y dis-or-der.” I’m not sure why Pantling felt the need to repeat the phrase as if I had learning difficulties or partial hearing. I was perfectly capable of grasping the syllabic combination, even if I didn’t know what it meant.
“Isn’t that what they say when they know somebody’s mad but don’t have a name for it yet?” I asked.
“Exactly,” he replied.
“In that case, what’s a bor-der-line per-son-al-it-y dis-or-der? Is that when there’s some doubt?”
“There’s no doubt as to the madness,” he said, “the only doubt is how to name a madness that falls between two or more types which are also as yet unnamed. Anyway, in this case there’s no borderline. I would suggest LeSnide is at the epicentre of his disorder, even though it may be some time before they settle on a name.”
“Did you try calling him?” I asked.
“Naturally,” said the Captain.
“Did you actually say ‘this is your captain calling?’”
“Alas, the novelty of that particular greeting wore off around 1980. And anyway, a connection could not be established.”
“Hmm,” I said, failing to see a connection between a mental lawyer and my life. “Why are you telling me?”