By John Yager

This is the second chapter of a series.  Please see the introduction to chapter 1 for other information and background.

This work has been copyrighted by the author, who can be contacted at:

- 2 -

Martin and Tim

The doors to Cutler's large corner office were open but I knocked any way.

"Come on in, Sandy," Martin called from behind his huge desk.

"I hear Tim is trying to get a handle on what's going on."
Tim Arnold, one of the younger men in the firm, was standing by one of the large windows, holding a small radio about the size of a Walkman, with a earphone in one ear and a finger in the other to block out extraneous sound. He was turned away from us and seemed to be oblivious to the conversation Cutler and I were having. I supposed he must have found the reception better nearer the window than further back in the room.
"Tim had that little battery operated radio in his desk and he's getting an update now."

"What are they saying?"

"Well, it looks like we'll be without any electricity for at least several hours. The entire northeastern grid is down and nobody seems to know what happened. The blackout stretches from northern New Jersey all the way up into Canada and from the coast as far west as Detroit. Phone  systems are down and all the airports are closed."

"They are saying eight to ten hours, Martin," Tim said, turning from the windows where he'd been standing. "I think you might just as well send everybody home."

"Yeah," Martin said, "without phones and computers we're dead in the water."

Martin Cutler was, like me, a Mississippian. When I'd needed an attorney to represent me with my New York based publishers, he'd been recommended by a mutual friend in Oxford. I had to admit, he and his firm had done an excellent job for me.

Tim Arnold, the younger man, was a bit of a mystery.

"It looks as if we'll have to go down the stairs, Sandy. I hope you've been using a Stairmaster."

"Oh, I think I can manage."

"Are you staying at the Damrosch?"

"Wouldn't stay anyplace else," I said. The Damrosch was like my home in New York. It's a small, very private hotel just behind Lincoln Center on Amsterdam Avenue. It's within easy walking distance of Central Park, as well as some excellent restaurants and by my standards at least, not far from the theaters, either. I love to walk and New York City is one of my favorite places for a good trek or a casual stroll.
"Tim," Martin said, "tell Rita to let everyone know we're closing the office. I want to be sure everyone is safely down to the street before we head out. Get any flashlights we have together. I think it would be best if we went down as a group, at least it would make the ladies feel safer."
"I'll get it organized," Tim said and quickly left the office. I gave him a quick glance as he went out the door. He was a strikingly good looking young man.

"Our car is in the basement garage, Sandy," Martin said as he packed papers into a briefcase. "Tim and I will drop you at your hotel on our way home."

"Oh, you don't need to do that," I said. I'll just get a cab."

"You think so?" he laughed. "You clearly don't know what New York is like when something like this happens. There's no way on earth you'll find a taxi. Besides, it isn't out of our way. Tim and I live further north on Columbus Avenue."

Now I was even more curious about the nature of Tim's role at the law firm and increasingly interested in the relationship between Cutler and the Arnold boy. Cutler was my age, I'd guess, maybe a little older. He was in excellent physical shape and it was a little hard to tell how old he really was.

Arnold, by comparison, was probably twelve or fifteen years younger than me. Whenever I'd seen him around the law offices, he'd been dressed in the customary dark business suit but despite his professional attire, he looked like a college kid, an extremely fit and very handsome college kid.
Carter and Arnold were very alike in coloring and nearly alike in height and weight, both about my height, just a tad over six feet, and they both had light hair and well tanned complexions. Perhaps they're related, cousins, even brothers, I thought. Well, half brothers. They have different last names.

"You two live together?"

"Yeah," Cutler said, looking up, distracted, trying to get papers organized and ready to go.

"I wondered if you were related, cousins, maybe."

"Tim's my partner, Sandy. I thought you knew."

"Partner?" I asked, not knowing in what sense he was using the term.
"Yes, partner, mate, lover, spouse."


"It's no secret and so far as my staff is concerned. They treat Tim just as they'd treat my wife, if I had one, as if he were also an indispensable member of our team."

"He's too young to be an attorney, isn't he?"

"Yes, of course, but he'll be starting his second year at Columbia Law School in a few weeks. When he finishes and passes his bar exams, he'll be working here with me full time."

"How long have the two of you been together?

"Five years."

"Well, Martin, all I can say is that you're one lucky guy."

"I know, I tell myself that several times a day."

To be continued.