By Mark David Blum, Esq.
For most, Friday the 13th is about as dirty a day as you can get. It is seen as dark and ugly, foreboding and dangerous. For me, I have always considered it a lucky day. Perhaps “lucky” is not the true word. “Theater of the Weird” would probably be more befitting. Contrary to popular thinking, however, I relish an approaching Friday the 13th. Something is going to happen.
Of the many events that have fallen upon me on such a dirty Friday, is the tale of the Lady from Rochester. Tis indeed a true story, lest the good Lord strike me dead.
Back in the previous century, I had my office in the basement of a rather famous building in Manlius. It was beautiful and quaint and the location was perfect. On the floor above me sat a restaurant/bar with which I had a wonderful relationship. Life was good and my practice was building.
Somehow on some bulletin board, public forum type thingie, a woman from Rochester decided she wanted to have a sit down with a lawyer to discuss a possible divorce. Eventually, she made an appointment for … you guessed it … a Friday the 13th.
Some things you should know. The Lady from Rochester was in her mid to late 50’s and had spent her entire time on this planet living a good and honorable Christian life. Her children were grown and … she had met a man in New Mexico on the Internet and she wanted to run away and live happily ever after as his sex slut. Hey whatever; so long as the money is green.
A couple of days before her appointment, I started to get emails from people who knew the Lady from Rochester. They all said the same thing; the Lady from Rochester was coming in hopes also of getting a date. The wife and I were waiting.
So at or about the time the Lady from Rochester was due, I saw a car pull into my parking lot and a woman about the age of the person I was expecting get out. Back I went into my office and the wife took her station at the secretary’s desk. Five minutes go by. Then ten, fifteen and ultimately almost half an hour goes by and nobody comes in. I give up and figure I was wrong and she was not going to show.
Well, you KNOW that is not the end of the story.
Suddenly, the wife comes into my office and tells me I have to come out right away. I follow her into the waiting room and there on my NICE NEW OFFICE CHAIRS, sat this woman, bleeding from head to toe. There was blood running down from just above her hairline down the side of her face. A big slab of skin in the shape of a ‘V’ was hanging off the bridge of her nose and she was holding it in place with her bloodied fingers. Her coke-bottle thick glasses were shattered as a spiderweb. Both of her knees were skinned, her stockings torn, and she was a fucking mess bleeding all over my office.
Five hundred and ninety seven times at least I asked her if she needed a doctor or would she please let me call her an ambulance. Her dead body in my office would not be good for business. She was a total mess. Yet, she refused any assistance whatsoever.
She had driven all the way from Rochester to make an impression on me and to talk to me about her divorce. Nobody knew she was coming. She was an hour and a half from home. Her glasses were broken and I was wondering how much longer she was going to live. There was no way I could let her leave without first seeking medical attention.
So, I brought her back into my office and sat her on my nice comfortable couch. The wife, I sent upstairs to the restaurant to bring me down a couple towels and some ice and to see if they had some Band-Aids or a first aid kit.
And the Lady from Rochester and I began to chat. She told me of her miserable boring life and how she needed to be fucked like a greased pig by some ‘dude’ 19 years her junior she met on the Internet. I kept telling her she needed to find a way home and should come back after she recovers from her injuries. It did not seem ethical to really have this discussion with a severely injured elderly woman. Can you see the headlines if I took her money?
Now imagine this … I am sitting behind my desk trying to maintain a completely lawyerly and professional face while staring into the face of one of Michael Meyer’s victims. This poor woman is sitting there, both listening and talking, and spending the entire time playing with the flap of skin hanging off her nose. She would push it back up into place and then it would slowly fall back off and she would reach up and push it back up into place again. Over and over for almost an hour she did this.
I felt so bad for her. Her anguish was clearly visible. She told me she had fallen outside in the parking lot (and that she had been falling a lot lately). It did not escape my attention how hard she was trying to nonchalantly put herself back into some kind of presentable shape.
Suddenly, into my office bursts my wife, followed in hot pursuit by 3 restaurant employees and two buckets of ice and a laundry basket of towels. It was beautiful; though unnecessary. We did use a couple towels and some ice here and then to ease the pain and clean up the blood. Thank God somebody brought me a Band-Aid so she could finally attach that damn flap of skin.
The Lady from Rochester however, still refused to let me call her family or a doctor or take her to the hospital. I had come to the end of the line of the discussion and normally this is the part where I talk about contracts and money and all the stuff that is none of your damn business. But, I cannot in good conscience let her sign a contract or take her check because Tony Gigliotti would have my ass. But she wouldn’t leave. I offered to give her a contract and she can take it home and return it with a check if she wants at a later time. It had to be “now” and “today”.
The only way to appease her (and get her the hell out of my office) was to agree to let her sign the contract and I would hold it for two weeks and that she had to send me a letter affirming she wanted to go forward. Her shattered glasses made reading a 3-page retainer agreement and other related documents totally impossible and no way I was going to allow her to sign it without knowing its contents. So, with a witness standing in the room, I read aloud every word of the entire contract and all the other related documents and kept asking her if she understood and when I finally finished reading this tome, she affixed her signature and wrote me a check. I reiterated I was just going to hold these things until she gets home and heals and confirms that really wants to do this.
Once again, we are at the end. Nothing more remains to be discussed. We did the small talk, the business talk, and the wind down stuff. I wanted to go upstairs and get shitfaced. It was late in the afternoon. I had had enough and I wanted her out.
Finally it dawned on her she could not drive home, that she was hurt and feeling dizzy, and that she could not call her husband. Now, right next door to my office at the time was the Manlius Medical Center at the “T” intersection in the Village of Manlius. The Manlius Medical Center refused to see her or send anyone to help. All they offered us was to call 911.
Now calling 911 is a serious thing and you really should not call unless it really is an emergency. This woman, whatever her injuries, was not an “emergency”, but she did need medical help. With nowhere to take her and nobody to summon, she finally relented and agreed to let me call 911.
… and you think the story ends here, huh? Nope.
Because within minutes of calling 911, an ambulance arrived. They came in, sat down with her and did their thing. Then a police cruiser arrives, followed by another. Two fire trucks pull into my office parking lot. Another ambulance rolls in with blue light specials coming in from all directions. Everybody meets up inside my waiting room. Two ambulance crews are with the woman in my office.
Apparently, moments after I called 911, two other calls came in and my office became a staging area as crews were swapped and triaged to different locations. All I could do was sit back and enjoy the never-ending wonders of a dirty Friday the 13th.
She gave me the number for her son and I waved “buh bye” as the ambulance pulled out of the parking lot. It was sure fun to make the call and inform the poor boy of his mother’s predicament and where he can find her and her car. About a week later, she called and reported how she had met with her priest and had changed her mind about getting a divorce. I gladly returned her papers and check and promised never to forget that day.
I heard later that the woman’s restroom was buried in a mound of bloodied paper towels. It seems the Lady from Rochester had gone first from her fall into the Ladies’ Room and had tried unsuccessfully to clean up.