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

Director Richard M. Helms stood near the window of his office at the headquarters of the CIA when the phone rang. Picking it up, he recognized the voice of his old friend Tom Goldman. “Hello, Tom. What can I do for you?”

“Find me copies of Eddy’s files on the Morrow family, Rick,” came the answer on the other end.

“And how the hell will I do that?” Rick  demanded half-heartedly.

“Like you do other CIA business, Rick,” Tom replied, “Sneak them out of his office and take secret photos. After that, you can sneak them back in…or make a fake file to replace it, then burn it.”

“Any other files you are interested in making go away, Tom?” Rick furled his brow thoughtfully as he asked.

“Yes, mine and Ken’s,” Tom replied.

“Consider it done,” Rick replied in a sigh, “but I should want you to be a bit more careful. Ed has become a little more paranoid since he has become ill.”

“Thanks for the warning, Rick,” came Tom’s reply.

Rick waited for the click to indicate that Tom had hung up before he hung up himself. Going to his desk, he sat down in the chair and flipped the switch on the com. “Frank Lane, could I see you and Mark Billings?”

Frank was the first to arrive, followed by Mark. “What’s up, Boss?”

Rick looked at both men. “I need you to break into FBI headquarters and retrieve a few files. They really don’t mean a thing to me, but a…friend has asked for a favor and I owe him this much.” He rose from his chair, hands still on his desk. “Once the files are retrieved, they are to be replaced with fake files that look as if Eddy typed and signed them. The originals are to be either sent to my friend by me or be burned. Depends on what I decide.”

“Affirmative,” Mark replied.

Rick looked at the two men. “Take O’Connor and Collins with you. You’ll need them.”

“Right,” came Frank’s response.

The two men left Rick’s office. Rick sat back down. He’d do the damnedest things for friends, especially if it meant taking something held dear by his worst enemy. He smirked. Eddy had a surprise waiting for him.

***

Tom hung up the phone. Eddy Hoover wouldn’t miss three files out of the thousands he kept. Didn’t matter how thick or thin they were, they were insignificant, as were 99% of the rest. There had been no reason for Hoover to keep such files. Not one of those people or families had proven to be the least bit communist. Eddy, on the other hand, was everything he tended to hate.  The little man was ugly inside and out. It was amazing that anyone could ever find him attractive enough to have a relationship with him. but a handful had and had paid the ultimate price.

Tom hoped that Rick burned Ken’s file. Ken needed to be remembered as a hero, not as Eddy’s whipping boy.  Or as the insane operative sent to Vietnam. Or even as the man who murdered Toffer French and made it look like the Mob had done it. He had made sure that Tobias and most of his minions returned in pine boxes.

He had even tried to prevent Trent’s death. Without success. But Natalia had no idea. Both men had died that day at the hands of the Vietcong. Trent had been shot in the back, but Ken had gone down swinging. Ken had been attempting to bust Trent out of a POW camp when they were killed. And their deaths were just moments before troops moved in on a sweep without any warning, freeing those who remained.

The bodies of both men had been sent home shortly after, leaving two widows to mourn and wonder why. But neither had mourned or wondered why alone. Tom had mourned both men as well. It had been 1961 and no one had expected such a catastrophe. From that point on, it had all been downhill for both women. But Tom had remained a stone wall. He had remained strong enough for all three. He’s had to.

He’d had no choice. No matter how much he’d wanted to hide from the world, he couldn’t. so he did what he did best. He worked. From ’61 to ’69, he had worked as a photographer…and as guardian over little Matthew. He had convinced Natalia to allow him to secret Matt out of the communes so that he could play music, even at the young age of four. The boy had been a prodigy and Tom had known that the boy needed to get away from the communes.

Between his own efforts and those of musicians who had met Matt and heard him play, they had convinced Nattie to allow Tom to have temporary guardianship over Matt. That temporary had become permanent when Natalia got involved with Kim. Once Matt reached the age of thirteen, he was given a choice.

And Matt had chosen to remain with Tom. He felt safe there. He had peace. Most of all, he had a business partner who wouldn’t take him for his money.

But then, Tom had never been that way. He had always worked for every bit of money he made. He had earned it, not like those billionaire babies who inherited their daddies’ billions-along with the family businesses-and had no clue how to earn an honest dollar, let alone build their own businesses. Both Matt and Tom knew how hard it was to build from nothing. Hell. Matt was the one with all the talent. Tom just managed things and taught Matt how to run a business. He knew that there would come a time when he, Tom, would be too old to be of much good and Matt would have to take over.

Still, with Matt’s talent, the boy would never see another day of obscurity or poverty again. he had already worked with stars like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Not to mention John Kay and Steppenwolf, just to name a few. Everyone who was anyone in the music industry had worked with Matt. He had even got up onstage at Woodstock and played! The boy was practically a music legend at thirteen!

Tom smiled. Matt was smart, too. Straight ‘A’ smart. He was already two grades ahead of those who were his own age. At this rate, he would graduate two to three years ahead of his peers. This meant that he could go to college at any university he desired…should he want to. But would he? That was the question on Tom’s mind at the moment.

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