The Morrow Family Saga, Book Three: Laughing, Chapter Twenty-One

Toffer answered the door to find the sheriff. “Can I help you?”

Sheriff Hargrove looked at Toffer. “I’m here to take you in, Toff. You’re under arrest. don’t worry, we’ll release you if you promise not to be a flight risk and have enough for bail.”

Toffer turned around and placed his hands where they could be cuffed. “I’m not going to flee. No use. It’s too late for that now.” He paused. “Joey or Mikey will be in to deliver bail. I think.”

Hargrove snapped the cuffs on and led Toffer to the car. Toffer waited for the sheriff to open the back door to the cruiser. after the door was open, he allowed the sheriff to gently force him into the backseat. He looked out the window to see Toby peeking out of his bedroom window fearfully.

For the first time, it wasn’t Toby. Toffer bowed his head in shame. It was his own fault, after all.  He had brought this upon himself.

The sheriff pulled away from the manse. Toffer sunk down in the seat, ashamed. He didn’t want people to see him as he was taken in. He didn’t want to give them a spectacle. Not yet. That was for another time.

In a matter of minutes, they pulled up outside the sheriff’s department. He knew he would be booked here, then he would be transferred to the closest precinct to be held until he made bail. But would Mikey or Joey bail him out? That was the question.

***

Mikey was livid. Unlike his brother, he was not as easy to get along with. Brutish, his favorite way of taking care of problems was to take a baseball bat to them. He didn’t believe like his father or brother. He didn’t believe in throwing money at a problem. Especially one that had already drained enough money from the family. But he had to acquiesce to the desires of his brother and father.

He supposed that was why Joey had been put over this problem with Toffer French. His father needed the little toad alive so he could repay his debt. Mikey would rather kill the little toad. He knew that Toffer would likely not live long enough to repay it all back. Hell. At the moment, he wanted to kill Toffer’s kid.

That Toby French had been nothing but trouble. He had been lucky that Papa Johnny had sent Joey every time he’d ended up in a jail cell. Mikey would have killed him that second time and there wouldn’t be any need to bail the boy out from that point on.

But then, it was probably a good thing that Mikey had never married. He didn’t have the temperament for it. He was too violent. Too hard.

He was just really good at running businesses. Especially those the family had to take over to repay debts. He could take a virtual failure and turn it into a huge success. He was only a diplomat when he was in the boardroom, not out in the public.

Unfortunately, with an IRS case against Toffer, and all the company files missing, he wasn’t sure he could turn French Industries around. There were too many cards stacked against him and not enough time to turn things around. as it was, he could only be expected to get the company back  in the black. He just didn’t know whether he could pull it out of debt where the IRS was concerned.

His first order of business was to shift focus from substandard materials to the best he could afford without using all of the investment money his father had given him to turn things around. After that, he restructured the assembly lines so that there was a quality control officer on each line to see that only the best quality products were allowed to be put out for market sale.

Once he had corrected these two weak links, he began fixing worker morale through incentives. It paid to be involved in the unions. And he believed that French Industries was now the first union business in Iowa. It was a template. All other businesses were non-union.

To add to the morale, he raised employee wages. This helped boost productivity and quality. Higher productivity and quality boosted sales. These raised profits, which slowly began to pay off the back taxes.

He would have to talk to George Gill to see what could be done. He hated to see so many jobs vanish, but with current conditions and the back taxes, he wasn’t sure he would be able to save French Industries. George would have a better idea of what could be done.

If he didn’t, he would find out. He didn’t have to know that  Mikey was a member of the Mafia. All he needed to know was that he was a temporary CEO set up by a creditor who took possession of the company in order to liquidate a debt. Beyond that, the details didn’t matter.

***

George Gill had handed the Tax Commission’s findings in to the Iowa Department of Justice. His Commission’s part in the case against French Industries was over. They had found probable cause for a case and had voted for several cases of fraud and embezzlement against Toffer. The state Attorney General had indicted Toffer on multiple charges of murder, extortion, rape, racketeering, and corruption. Word had emerged that the federal government had also leveled just as many counts against the little man. The state could call for the death penalty. So could the Federal court.

Hell. why couldn’t they both combine their cases and just give one verdict? It wasn’t like they could both hang the man. Nor would Toffer be able to actually serve any more than maybe a good sixty years of multiple judgments.

He sighed. No matter how skillfully a crime was committed, no matter how well it had been hidden, it would be punished at some point. That was an undeniable fact. No matter who committed the crime, rich or poor, justice would prevail.

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