The Legal Definition of Love
Bev Vines-Haines
Winner Hayward Fault Line Contest

My name is Caleb Justice and I'm an attorney in Boston.   As you might guess, my name earns more than a little mockery for me.  

I hate the city.  Not just Boston, of course.  All big cities breed a dense population of malcontents who've gotten the idea lawyers are about as credible as snake salesmen.   In fact, if I hear one more lawyer joke I could go postal.   

I long for a house in the country, something with trees, wildlife to shoot and a woman to keep it all clean.  I know this fellow (I've defended him three or four times) and he's got almost 100 wooded acres south of Boston.  He's also got seven lovely daughters.  At least I suppose they are lovely.  I'm often put off by all the tittering and foolishness.  

Anyway, I have an agreement with Howdy Mayfield (that's his name) that I can take one of those girls in exchange for a lifetime of hunting for me and all the free legal council he needs.  He's been telling those girls I'm rich and plan to build the chosen one a fine home.  Actually I plan to build a cabin and keep her inside it as much as possible.  I'm still up in the air about children.  I suppose if she gets too whiney I'll let her have one to keep her distracted.   

The question for me is two pronged.  How to choose the best daughter and how to make her believe I am one of those silly saps that swoons at a woman's feet.  I've dealt with enough whores and hookers to know the evil soul of a woman inside and out.  I might not find her responsible for all the wrongs I've seen but she'll pay for some of them.  That's for sure.  

Howdy's girls range in age from 18 to 26.  He's been mighty strict and I've heard the girls have only come out of those hills a few times in their lives.  Home schooled by their mama.  But I can tell you this, I've met her and if she was a light bulb she'd only be partially illuminated.  

I'm leaning toward the oldest girl.  She's known a lot of disappointment and her expectations won't be high.  There is a prettier one somewhere in the middle but I swear she has her mama's intellect.  And the youngest one still has dreams.  I can see it by how her face lights up at the mention of city lights.   

So, that's settled.  The oldest one.  I have picked out a ring down at Walmart.  And a sleeve of red roses.  

I think she'll love married life.  

First published: February 2012
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