It wasn’t long after I started that a fellow at work caught my attention. He was immediately out of place because of his attire. He wore a black turtleneck, emo glasses, and had a bit of a goatee. Even if he wasn’t well in to his forties (and he was), that kind of look sticks out in semi-rural Deseret. He looked like he really wanted to be in a northwestern metropolis, sipping coffee. To be blunt, he struck me as a poseur. Someone that didn’t realize that he was in the exerb of a suburb of the nation’s most conservative urban area. Or wanted to pretent that he was above it. I somewhat derisively referred to him as The Coffee Shop Dude.
Not long after I got there he ditched the black and picked up a belt-buckle. The pacific northwest was out and the rugged west was in. The goatee was replaced by stubble that didn’t quite match his meticulous hair. A carefully constrewed cowboy. So in a merger of the two, I took to calling him The Coffee Shop Cowboy.
Despite the fact that legal contracts are one of our primary sources of income, three of our five lawyers were let go. This decision may not be quite as bad as it sounds as only two were intended to be laid off. It was not a calculated decision to layoff a majority of our legal staff.
Harry Graves was somewhat recently hired, so it was not surprising that he got the axe.
Edmund Collier, our chief council, was initially told that they would start paying him hourly. Then they told him to go ahead and move his base of operations to his private office (he did side work). After he did that, he was told that his services would no longer be required.
Before Edmund went, he was the co-hatchetman in the letting go of one Eric Forrester, the Coffee Shop Cowboy.
Eric, as it had turned out, had undergone a pretty busy year apart from his change in fashion genre. He had apparently gotten an amicable divorce and had taken with a gay lover. I had noticed that the wedding ring had disappeared, but that was about it. All things considered, I wasn’t terribly surprised about the whole gay thing, the only throw-off being the wife and kids, of whom he maintained a picture of in his office. It was apparently not a well-kept secret, if it was intended to be one. True to stereotype, the women were much more aware of it all and were much closer to him than the men were.
Apparently Don Fallon found out and Eric was fired for being gay.
Here’s the part where you ask, “What reason did they give for firing him?”
“They fired him because he was gay.”
“I know that, but what did they tell him?”
They told him, not necessarily yelling but loud enough that people outside could hear (Fallon has that kind of voice), “We will not be represented by an abomination of the lord.”
It doesn’t get much more clear than that. We questioned the wisdom of such blatant discrimination against a lawyer, but I think our ideals got the better of us. We figured something so wrong had to be illegal. If I’d been thinking about it I would have realized that this subject is actually being debated across the country now, but right now it’s not illegal (save ten states and two cities, Deseret definitely not among them). Besides that, this all happened in the midst of mass layoffs. Unless he had a recorder, there would be no way to prove that he was let go for anything but what Harry Graves was.