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

Toffer walked through the door to find a clean house. His eyebrows raised in surprise. The boy had learned something, after all.  As he toured the house, he was amazed to see that dishes had been washed and put back in their place, clothes had been washed, and nothing had been broken.

The boy was improving. Toffer could only hope that the boy could change other habits in the same way. But it would have to be soon. Before it was too late.

Still, learning how to clean up after himself was a major step, and Toffer was proud of him. He was glad the boy had learned now, before he lost all help to the inevitable. Toffer knew it was only a matter of time before he was found guilty of all crimes he’d been accused of and that many of those crimes carried a death penalty. He was willing to accept that.

He just hoped he could get Toby to own up to his crimes as well. He wasn’t holding his breath. The boy was too deep into his ways to hold out much hope for. It was sad, too.

But Toffer knew it could be done.  But would Toby do it? He doubted it. the boy enjoyed committing crime too much. But he knew himself to be to blame. After all, he had taught the boy that the laws didn’t apply to him.

He regretted that now. He regretted everything. Looking back, he had destroyed everything. At least everything that mattered.

He had made the two of them homeless. Penniless. Jobless. Hopeless.

He could think of a million words to describe the new low to which the family, he and the boy, had found themselves. None quite fit. But all pointed back to him. The boy was as he had allowed him to become. Taught him to be.

Sad, really. He had taught him to break the law for personal gain. He had taught him that there would be no penalty for doing so. In doing so, he had taught the boy a lie.

There was always a cost. Everything, every decision, had a cost. Sometimes, the deed wasn’t worth the cost. Especially when it meant breaking the law.

Toffer went to his office and sat down behind the desk. He inspected it. No one had attempted to find the secret compartment. Good.

He felt under the desk and found the button that unlocked the compartment. pushing it, he waited for the small hidden door to spring open. Pulling the drawer out, he removed the file there and began to read. It was his original reason for becoming he monster he had been.

Opening the main drawer, he pulled put a legal pad. Grabbing his pen, he began to write a confession. On each page, he detailed each stage of his plan. The murder of his father. The degradation of the company. The vampire-like way he drained a company, already deep in financial trouble, of all profits. How he ripped off his workers.

He held nothing back. Rape. Extortion. Murder. Theft.

He even bared his soul on how he raised his son. Bad behavior was rewarded, good was ignored. He admitted to allowing the boy to run wild and letting him do whatever he wanted. Nothing was ever punished.

Hell. He even admitted to being guilty of physically abusing his son. Hitting him for no reason. Verbally breaking him down and berating him for doing anything good.

He knew his days were numbered. He was assured of the death penalty for at least half the charges he would receive. He knew that. Or, at the very least, life without parole. Why not go on his own terms and with a clear conscience?

***

Joey Veraggio was the son of Gianni “Johnnie” Veraggio. Johnnie was the boss of the Veraggio syndicate, one of the few left from the old families. The Mafia had changed since the 20’s and 30’s. They no longer bootlegged. Extortion, blackmail, unions, and gambling were still hot items but they no longer killed unless there was no other recourse. At least, that was Gianni’s way.

Money wasn’t enough to make him want anyone dead. In pain, well, that was another matter altogether. But dead, no. A dead man could not repay a debt.

He wasn’t, however, against taking away someone’s livelihood. Just as he had done to Toffer French. Maybe he would recruit the boy for a few jobs. He seemed to hold promise. But not the old man. The old man could only help run the company.

Gianni was willing to allow the old man to go down. Hell. A little prison might do the man good. He sure as hell hadn’t been very good at the business he’d been left.

The elder Mafioso could remember Baltus French. Baltus, though cruel and crooked, hhad been half way decent as a man. His morals weren’t completely lacking. After all, Baltus would never stoop so low as to blackmail or to rape. And killing had been the last resort in any business proposition.

Nor would the elder French ever do business with the likes of Gianni Veraggio, unless it was selling his most quality products and installing them personally. He had been too proud to ask for money unless it was for a sale he’d made. A man worth respecting.

But Toffer would have, and had, shamed his father’s memory. yes, Baltus would be ashamed of his son…and his grandson.  They didn’t deserve to wear the French name. Nor did they deserve to have the company built by Toffer’s grandfather.

Gianni shook his head. It would take Toffer the rest of his life to repay the debt he owed. But the boy. Toby would be easy to turn. He would be easy to teach.

All he had to do was break Toby of a few really bad habits. If he couldn’t be broken, he would have to be dealt with in another way. But how? Being sent to war?

After all, there was another war brewing and by the time it was in full swing, Toby would be of age to be drafted. Perhaps, if the threat of being shipped out was held over his head, the boy would break all his bad habits. It was worth a try.

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