I sighed and slid down into my chair, reluctantly cracking my neck as I settled in for a long night of boring legal paperwork. A colleague who I barely knew sat down at the chair opposite mine, offset by one seat to give us both room to spread out our documents. We exchanged a pleasant smile, then buried ourselves into the thick folders that our immediate superiors had dumped onto us at the eleventh hour.
‘I should have gone into property conveyancing,’ I mumbled to myself, as the clock struck two in the morning.
‘What’s that now?’ my compatriot asked, tearing his bleary-eyes away from the tiny font.
‘Oh, nothing,’ I said, quickly waving the fleeting thought away. ‘Sorry to distract you.’
‘Are you kidding?’ he asked, before bursting into a fit of laughter that was just a hair too manic. ‘I’ll take any distraction I can get. My brain is about to fall out of my head, and I’ll be damned if I miss out on my promotion because I stained something important with my brain-juice.’
I laughed, out of a mixture of politeness and weariness.
‘It was something my dad told me,’ I explained. ‘That the smart lawyers go into property conveyancing, helping people buy homes in their desired areas and smoothing over the paperwork and such. Decent money, liveable hours…’
I trailed off, glancing around the pitch-black building where we were working. Even the security staff had gone home.
‘Nowhere near as much fun though,’ my friend-in-torment grinned at me. ‘You could be some conveyancing lawyer for hire around Richmond, but we’re here! Making a difference!’
‘I’d rather be making my dog frightened,’ I said, glibly. Off his confused look, I laughed out loud. ‘Sorry,’ I said quickly, ‘you’re missing the context – sometimes, when I’m tired enough, I snore loud enough that I wake my dog up. Man, my brain might also be about to fall out…’
He raised an imaginary glass to me, and I matched his movement in the air. Then, distraction over, we went swiftly back to work.