Hand Me Down World: Chapter Sixteen

Dr. Maltin had called Stanley’s father. Since the knife had been Stanley’s, no charges could really be pressed for anything more than the beating he’d taken. John Fricke sat at his son’s bedside, waiting for him to wake. How’d it come to this? Who had led Stanley to this point? Had it been his own alliance with Toffer French?

Stanley’s eyes opened. Fear showed in them as they found his father. John motioned for him to be still. “You fell on your knife. Tell me, and be truthful for once. Who led you to do such a fool thing as to challenge the 47?”

Stanley laid back. “It was Toby’s idea. Everything I have done was Toby’s idea. We have done things that I’m not proud of. But I’ve been too much of a coward to stand up to him. Too afraid that I would cause you to lose your place with Mr. French.”

John’s hair bristled. “What kinds of things?”

Stanley lowered his eyes. “We raped a few girls. The ones that Mr. French ran out of town. We beat up little kids. Broke into businesses.”

John was appalled. “Dear God! What the heel were you thinking? That you wouldn’t get caught?”

Stanley winced in pain. “No. I knew we would get caught. I wasn’t thinking at all.”

John shook his head. “What am I going to do with you?”

Stanley began to cry. “I don’t know.”

John looked at his son. “You will have to answer for what you have done. I am ashamed of you.” He got up and started for the door. “I am going to go have a talk with the sheriff. Maybe he has some advice about what to do with you.”

Stanley reached out to grasp for his father’s hand. “Papa, please!” His plea fell on deaf ears.

***

Morning found Michael Morrow sitting at his desk, pouring over more of the files Frank and Allan had brought with them. The more he read, the angrier he got. He found it hard to understand how one man could be so evil. Did those allied to Toffer know any of this? Did they have any clue whatsoever?

He doubted it. Toffer had been guilty of nearly every crime known to man. His company paid only slave wages. He treated his employees worse than dirt.

Words like rape, assault, blackmail, larceny, arson, and murder appeared time after time in every file. Frank had kept a very detailed record of Toffer’s infractions. The toad was capable and willing to do anything to get his way. Even worse, he was on the verge of starting a war with the local mafia. If he did that, the whole city would become a war zone.

He looked up as Frank and Allan walked in. “Good morning. You slept well, I suspect?”

Frank smiled. “Yes. I slept better than I had in years.”

Allan merely nodded. Michael looked at him. “I need to know. At one time, you were engaged to be married. What changed?”

Allan tried to smile. “Toffer happened.”

Michael grimaced. “And he kept you close to keep you quiet about what happened, I take it?”

Allan nodded. “Yes. He…raped my fiancée. When I threatened to take him down, he took everything from me. He had her killed to keep her from testifying. He took my business to ruin me, but refused to release me from the chair I held. I have been nothing but a slave to him since.”

Michael nodded. “Sorry for opening old wounds. I had no idea.” He looked at both men. “I would like you both to spend the day organizing these files into a solid case. Allan. Add your deposition to it as well. We are going to take this guy down.

“Go ahead and use this office to do the task. I know we aren’t going to do this in a year, but we need to get things started. This isn’t about Communism. This is about corruption, lawless acts without conscience or care about consequences. We need to teach him that there are consequences for everything you do.” A knock came upon the door. “Excuse me, I believe I have company.”

He walked out to the front door and peeked through the peep hole. On his front porch stood the sheriff with John Fricke. What in the world could they possibly want? He opened the door. “Can I help you?”

Sheriff Wycross smiled. “Mike. Can we come in?”

Michael opened the door and stepped to the side. “Of course. What do you need?”

John looked at Michael. “My son just admitted to things. Crimes against girls and businesses that I have no idea how to deal with. I-I can’t go back to what was, not to Toffer. I detest the man now.

“Wycross suggested that I talk to you about it. But I don’t know what to do with my son now. I don’t even know whether I want to have him around his sister anymore.”

Michael looked down. “That bad, huh?”

John nodded. “Yes. He admitted to rape and theft. He also said that it was at the behest of Toffer’s son, Tobias.”

Michael ushered him and the sheriff into the office where Frank and Allan sat. “I assume you know Frank and Allan? They are currently staying here until Toffer gives up and leaves them alone.”

John nodded. “I know Frank. He was, until yesterday, Toffer’s legal department.” He chuckled. “The old toad wasn’t too happy to go and find Frank’s office cleaned out and all his files gone. There is a lot in those files that would sink his company.” He looked at Allan. “I know Al as well. I am amazed it took him this long to vanish.”

Frank looked at John. “I would recommend you put your boy through corrections. Don’t abandon him just because he allowed Toby to lead him down the wrong path. You need to stand by him now more than ever. Especially when Toby begins betraying the rest of the boys. You will want to try to get their fathers to stand by them as well.

“Mind you, I am not telling you not to punish. Sending them to Juvenile Hall will be punishment enough, unless they are charged as adults. They must be held responsible for their choices and their actions. There is no excuse for that behavior.”

John nodded. “But how can I ever trust him again?”

Frank took a deep breath. “That will come with time.”

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