Kendrick Wells’ stomach turned as he read the files now passing to his desk from Tom’s. They contained everything you’d find in a good suspense novel. Hell. One could write a blockbuster movie from the contents of these files…but only if there wasn’t so much censorship. Half the violence and even the mentions of rape would be removed to make the censors happy. Unless Polanski did it as an independent film and shared it with the Cannes Film Festival crowd.
But Polanski wasn’t privy to these files. No one beyond government was. the DOJ was working hard on bringing the subjects of the files to justice, but needed a little help from the FBI. Hell. The IRS was already beginning to move. They had already seized the accounts of French Industries as well as The French family’s personal accounts. The family was caught without any way to fight free.
Tom had left on a fact-finding errand and wouldn’t be back for a while. What made it nice was that no one seemed to care about watching Kendrick, even though these files were deemed confidential. He could do almost anything. Well, anything legal.
He didn’t have any way to make copies, so he made extensive notes. much more extensive than what tom had done. Of course, he made a second set of notes for the case, but the extensive notes were his. If the courts could do nothing to stop this monster, he would. In his own way. And he had his ways.
No one had the right to get away with this much crime. No one. But the French family had. It was too late to prosecute those who preceded Toffer, But it was not too late to stop Toffer.
Maybe he would write a novel based off this case. Once the bitterness had dissipated from his mouth. Still, it was tempting. Who would guess that it would be based on a true crime? All he had to do was change names. Yes. He had decided. He would write the book. But later…much later.
Tom had to take a break. The files made him sick. How had a family been able to do so much evil without getting caught? How had they gotten away with so much crime? It made no sense.
The more he dug into this family, the sicker it made him. Not only had the current members been guilty of crimes, so had the elder generations. The crimes went back to when the French family broke ties with the Morrows and began their own business. From that point on, the family broke every law and ignored every rule in business.
Their quality was horrible, their working conditions were below government standards, and they spent more than they made. Privately, they found investors who seemed to turn up dead. Not only this, but there was a long line of assault and rape accusations that ended up with the accusers being found dead.
Beyond this, competitors ended up dead and their companies absorbed into French Industries. Seemed that half the city of Des Moines was owned by this family, along with half of the state’s government. It would be amazing if Toffer even got indicted. Toby, the boy, on the other hand, was a different story. Toby could and would be indicted, and soon.
He took another puff off his cigarette. What he needed now was a fifth of whiskey to wash away the bitter taste. He let a little smoke curl out of his nose a bit before he released the rest. Frowning, he sighed in frustration.
Why did these errands always take so long? And why did he have to question each congressman from Iowa in the House and the Senate? Were they suspected of allowing Toffer’s money influence them? He hoped not.
Bourke Hickenlooper entered the room and looked at Tom. “What do you need, Agent Goldman?”
Tom looked him over. “Hick” Hickenlooper had a reputation of being a hero, but wasn’t much to look at. “Have a seat. It’ll be more comfortable that way, since this’ll take a while. I got a bunch of questions.”
“Hick” shrugged. “Alright. Don’t know what good I could be, but I’ll answer what I can.”
Tom smiled. “Fair enough.”
Toffer sat, arms hanging loosely at his sides, at what used to be his desk. Perhaps, if he turned himself in to the FBI, he could get away from all this. Ah, hell. What was the use? The Mob would just find him, no matter where he went.
He’d lost pretty close to twenty pounds over the past year, maybe two. Stress, a cut in salary, being forced to work on the line instead of where he had been used to remaining–even the realization that his whole life had been one big mess, a mess he had created, was eating away at him.
He’d lost count of the days since he’d last seen his boy. Toby had disappeared onto the streets. The school had called to inquire about the boy over the school year, but what could he tell them? He’d never taught the boy how to follow the rules, just how to take.
It wasn’t as if he had anything left to give the boy. that had all been taken. The house, the car, the business–it all belonged to Joey’s boss. He belonged to Joey’s boss. But only until there was no more need for him. Then, the Mob would do away with him.
The hell of it was, he would deserve it. Whatever they chose to do to him, he had earned it all. He knew that now. He only prayed that they would be merciful. and quick.
But he doubted they would be. They weren’t known for their mercy. Nor were they known for their being quick and painless. But, then, it depended on just what mood they were in. And he doubted they would be in a very good mood with him. he owed way too much and they had gotten way too little in return.