On any single day, Cleaver Greene is described as many things. Whilst his ex-wife may call him ‘unreliable’, his son will call him ‘a mate’. To his learned friends at the bar table he is ‘a real wag’, to his jurors he is ‘hilarious’, and to most judges he is ‘an outrage’. To the Tax Office, he is ‘a defendant’; to a certain brothel owner ‘a legend’, and to his former cocaine dealer, ‘a tragic loss’.
The clients he loves the most - the cases that thrill him - are those that appear to be utterly hopeless. There’s something about being on the wrong side of conventional wisdom that feels right to him, be it at the bar table or the dinner table.
He will do whatever it takes to defend and save life’s truly lost souls. The big sinners. Its drug lords. Its cannibals. Its bestialites. And at the same time, he will struggle to save himself, to stop himself falling back into the abyss that has characterised most of his self-destructive adult life thus far.
Despite his own hopelessness, his wit and charm have won him hordes of companions over the years. Most nights of the week, there is no shortage of invitations: dinner with a judge at the RMC (His Honour pays), or with some drug dealer in Chinatown (Manos pays), or with some of his copper mates at the Matador (no one pays).
He tends to wake up bruised. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Usually it's a combination thereof.
He spends a nano-second wondering how his life came to this - living in a studio above a cafe in the Cross, without his wife and son, in love with a prostitute, defending hopeless cases. Then he gets up, puts on his dressing gown and a pair of brogues and goes downstairs for a coffee. Then it's out into the world - onto the battleground that is Cleaver Greene's day.
(D) Drugs & Alcohol