The Morrow Family Saga, Book Three: Laughing, Chapter Fifteen

Tom stood witness at Toffer’s deposition. It had become an inquest, really, and the little man’s corroboration  of the evidence was sickening. Never before had he encountered someone so quick to admit their mistakes. It was almost too easy how the case was solidifying.

Ken, too, stood witness. Agent Wells, though, was livid. Tom had never seen his partner and friend so affected by a case. It was unusual for Ken to sink so deep in a case. But this one had somehow gotten to him and Tom had watched it spiral out of control.

Other agents had also noticed. Ken, though, had denied it saying that his lack of sleep was due to other things. Tom knew otherwise. He knew from experience. It had been affecting him as well.

What made the whole case crazy was the fact that it surrounded a man from the Midwest. Tom would have found it easier to handle had the person in question had been from anywhere but Iowa. No one expected an Iowan to be this corrupt.  No one.

But Toffer sat, each day, admitting to doctoring his ledgers, falsifying files on enemies, killing any who refused to sell out to him, raping the wives or girlfriends of some of his employees simply to keep control over them, and trying to run the competition out of business any way he could. Every confession, though now filled with remorse, sickened Tom. How could anyone do so many vile things?

The sooner this case was ruled upon, the better. It couldn’t end soon enough for Tom or Ken. They wished it would end now. They couldn’t stand being involved anymore.

****

Tobias sat in his room eating spaghetti. For a week, he had eaten like a king. He’d alternated between the lasagna and the spaghetti for the past four days. Now, he was eating the last bowl of spaghetti.  He’d not seen any sign of Joey since the Italian had brought him the food he was now finishing up.

Still, he couldn’t help but wonder if Joey was going to bring him something for the next day or two. Or however long Pops was supposed to be gone. Now, he was sorry for not going to DC with the old man. But he couldn’t change the fact that he had hidden from his father. He had hidden and not come out until the old man had gone.

By that time, he couldn’t get into the house to change or even eat. He had been locked out. and for good reason. He had defied his father. He realized, once he had tried the door at noon on Monday, that he’d made a huge mistake.

Lucky for him, Joey’d had a key and promised that he would see to Toby’s meals. The boy was grateful. The Italian had saved his life. But it was still not enough to make him trust the mobster.

He smirked. At least he had learned something this week. For the first time in his life, he found that he actually needed to wash dishes. Not to mention his clothes. Amazing how quickly a person ran out of clothes when they were alone.

Pops would be proud. He had learned quickly how to be self-reliant. He wondered how long it had taken the old man to do the same thing. Had it taken him very long?

***

The week had been one of pure hell for Toffer. Eight hours a day for the past four days, he’d had to sit and answer a myriad of questions. Each Congressman took their time grilling him, then wrote his responses. much to his relief, he had finally reached Friday which meant that he would be headed home tomorrow. God, it had been a long week.

It had gone smoothly so far. Sure it was painful, but he knew he had to do it. He had to come clean. It was only right.

A mixture of relief and peace swept through him. It was almost as if he was being washed clean with each confession. It wasn’t so much like going to the confessional at his church. It wasn’t just a group of empty admissions. His every confession was now filled with remorse. His guilt had held him in silence for so long, turning to bitterness and self-loathing.

Now it was all different. He didn’t expect others to forgive him. God no. But he was finally able to forgive himself.

Whether other forgave him or not was a moot point. He had to be able to live with himself. Perhaps, once he had forgiven himself of all, the ghosts that haunted him would finally be laid to rest. It didn’t matter where he ended up after that.

Now in his hotel room, he laid back on the bed. He would be glad when this stage was over. From here, it was all downhill. This was only to determine whether he would be indicted. He knew that. He was willing to accept whatever consequence they handed him.

Darkness took him momentarily, then he jerked awake. Damn, he was tired. Too tired. He needed rest.

He sat back up. He needed to eat first. He picked up the phone and dialed a number, then waited for someone to pick up. “Yes. Rive Gauche? Yes. I would like to reserve a table for one. Yes. Under the name French. I will be there shortly. Yes, thank you.”

He hung the phone up and got up from the bed. Pulling his suit jacket back on, he started for the door. He stopped long enough to pick up the room key, which was laying on the desk near the door, then opened the door and left the room. Heading down the hall, he sought the front desk.

He waited for the clerk to approach. The man looked at him. “Can I assist you with something?”

Toffer smiled sadly. “Yes. Would you call a cab for me?”

The clerk nodded. “Not a problem, sir. Just a minute.”

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