Attorney and screenwriter Hogan debuts in print with the tale of a young lawyer who likes Rembrandt and is caught in a story fit for the storyboard.
Our unnamed narrator thinks of poems in terms of skinniness, and he likes to spin around in secretaries’ chairs, but he (miraculously) made Law Review, passed the bar, and got a job. “I know going out at half past midnight before the first day of work is a stupid thing to do,” says he, but he does it anyway, and the next night, too, so that instead of arriving at any of the forms of spiritual potential dangled here (Wicca, Buddhism, Sufism, etc.), he remains fixed in his law-school ways, with contempt for legal success. We witness the hazing that new associates are subjected to, and our narrator’s jealousy when a colleague’s knowledge of some sub-sub-clause allows him to save a deal and endear himself to a partner. And that leaves our narrator with nothing to do in a New York City where you’re either busy or dead. Eventually, he winds up in an affair with the wrong woman—secretary of another partner—and even though it’s not his fault she fell (miraculously) in love with him at first sight, he knows he’s dead meat. The result is twin towers of work usually reserved for paralegals on his desk. And if that’s not enough to depress him, maybe the second-person remembrances of childhood, and an approaching crisis with Dad, will do the trick. What we get here might be what’d happened if Ben left Elaine at the church, took the Alfa off to law school, and got that job in plastics, for “This is the time of day that belongs to the suits; this is the time of day for white collars, the time of day when men who talk in the language of almost-math, a shorthand of numbers and mean analysis, exert themselves with metaphors of jungles and appetites . . . . ”
Bright lights, long hours.