As soon as the call ended I went straight to Google. The first result for “ASP” was some weird Microsoft thing, and so were the next few, so I kept scrolling down. At the bottom of the page, I found what I was looking for – at least, it seemed like it.
ASP-Law.com – Advocates for Sociopaths and Psychopaths
Our mission is to prevent unfair discrimination against individuals classified as socio- and psychopaths in matters of divorce, child custody, personal injury, and other civil disputes.
I clicked on the link and it brought me to a pristine-looking homepage. In the center, there was a picture of seven confident-looking lawyers standing in a row with their arms crossed. The paragraph underneath read:
We at ASP are committed to representing individuals of sociopath and psychopath designation. All of our clients are vetted to ensure that they adhere to and endorse a pro-social lifestyle. It is an unfortunate reality that judges and juries often assume that these individuals are more prone to dishonesty, fraud, and other forms of tort-related malfeasance than persons of average psychiatric health.
“Pro-social” seemed like a key concept here; I was vaguely familiar with the term, but I Googled it just to be sure I was well-versed in the subject if it came up during the interview.
Basically, a pro-social psychopath lacks empathy for others but still regulates their behavior to fit inside the laws and morals of society. That made sense, I suppose. Further Googling (and I made sure the sites were legitimate) showed me that pathological individuals’ conditions were predetermined by brain chemistry; in some people it’s hereditary. People can’t choose to be a sociopath or psychopath, just as they can’t choose their race or gender. All they can do is operate within the bounds of socially-acceptable behavior, even though they have no inherent sense of morality – or something like that.
Either way, the ASP seemed like an interesting place to work.
Just then, I got another call. Like Luhrman-Rothstein, it had a 312 area code – probably somewhere Downtown. I picked up my phone.
“Hello, is this Tess VanBrandt?” asked another 20-something female voice.
“Yes, this is she,” I said. The phone-voice I reserve for strangers is both grammatically correct and impersonal.
“Hi, Tess, my name is Chantal Norris. I’m calling on behalf of Mr. Alec Wilhelm at ASP Law Offices to confirm your interview for tomorrow.”
I assumed this Wilhelm guy was the attorney I’d be meeting with. “Of course. Yes, I will be interviewing tomorrow.”
Chantal mostly reviewed the details Zoe had already gone over. She seemed nice enough; personable.
“Right,” I said when she finished. “Then I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.”
The next morning, everything went as planned. I woke up, did my usual floor exercises on my yoga mat, showered, and put on my favorite black pencil skirt and button-down white shirt. My hands paused at the button right below the collar. Should I leave it buttoned or unbuttoned? I decided to go with unbuttoned — the other way made me look like a nun.