Date: February 8th, 2018 7:42 PM
If you mean what I think you mean, I witnessed this last week. No one has said anything to the authorities, again. No one is acknowledging what happened, again. People are afraid. He was a third-year associate, Thomas O'Shay--blonde shock of hair, wan in the face, deeply set eyes holding two steely blue marbles that didn't so much see you as gather you in, everpool lookers darting to and fro in team meetings or at lunch over middling sushi in the Grand Arps Cafetorium. He spoke often of the Old Country and of wanting to visit his family who there still resided. I was in his subfloor office the week before last and he had pictures of the entire clan scattered in frames around the workstation--even in passing, you could tell how much family, history, blood meant to him. We'd talk over beers at firm events and he'd speak of his dreams: to become an of counsel in the tax controversy group so that he could "make something of himself," the twining middle years of his life to be spent in brutal defense of the financial overhangs of those great captains of the American capitalist state, he their readyballast against the jostling waves of an unjust IRS enforcement regime, then to retire to a quiet farm in his later years to wind out his days in peace and contemplation.
It was a simple mistake. He cited to F.2d rather than F.3d in a live meeting. Prominent partners were there, yes. But it wasn't client-facing; there was none of the ominousness pressures of business or relationship that infused those carnivale sessions of acting and docility. This was meant to be open and transparent and honest as we teammapped a strategy for an upcoming MDL. He misspoke. The room fell silent but only for a second, only long enough to allow everyone to take in without acknowledgment what had just transpired and what dire consequence he had just impressed upon his beautiful head. Then, as suddenly as we'd stopped we resumed the conversation, outlining our bold initiatives and plans of attack against the tormenting plaintiff tides. Inside I screamed because I knew we were going to lose him; but I did not act.
It was right after the meeting as the assembly was departing that it happened, the stage set against a sunset backdrop of conference room infused with the orange and red hue light of a late winter sky. Delicate flurries filled the air and traced downward paths to the street ninety-two stories below, God's white pointillism. McTavish, a member of the firm committee, sidled up to him. Thinking the encounter friendly, ever the mistaken intention of men untimely dead and buried down the ages, O'Shay smiled that toothy smile of his and extended his hand as if to shake, man to man, a congratulation for a job well done. McTavish locked gaze; a quick flick of the wrist and the razor was in the boy's belly. Those steely blue marbles vast and frightened, taking it in, McTavish smoothly sweeping his arm through the fleshy stuff to cut him wide, carrying the motion all the way up over his shoulder like a morbid matador waving his capote through the air. "You fucked up." His guts spilled onto the floor. He stumbled, fell to knees, screaming for his mother, tears and gagging, trying to scoop himself up, put things back in place. That lasted for a full minute before the loss of blood let him die.
So, yeah, I've seen someone stealthed. I've seen it too many fucking times. And I am frightened. Frightened that I'll slip up and that it'll be me there in Conference Room 92B in the dying light of another biglaw day screaming for my near and dear as I scoop up my own innards because I miscited or failed to merge the column or didn't set the right template. We can't let this keep happening.