Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and hopefully enjoy my first novel, The Dreamers.

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Scroll down to July of "09" where you will open up the first imported chapters of my novel. Once opened up you can find Chapter 1 and begin your journey.

The work of fiction is about 2 very talented high school athletes about to embark on professional athletic careers. Due to choices each of them make their lives take many twists and turns, some for the better, and some not. As in real life, the choices we make seem right at that moment we make them, and often easily justifiable, but in the end they end up becoming the wrong choices and consequences are to be suffered.

Both of these young men have immense character and view each of their lives with nothing but the greatest of hopes, only to find for one of them that pain and suffering is coming his way. It is in many ways a story in which families are pulled in and suffer right along with our main characters which, ultimately, makes the choices that are made even more problematic.

If you like strong character, and believe that people having great character still matters, you should enjoy this story. If you like baseball and often wonder what happens in peoples' lives after each nine innings is played, this book should be for you.

It is ultimately a story of triumph over tragedy and how a romance can seemingly appear in the least expected places. It is a tale of how love of friends and family can lead to great happiness and joy.

I hope you enjoy The Dreamers, because we all had one at one time or another.

Jim Tavegia

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chapter 47

Chapter 47

The wedding was beautiful. God provided a sunny seventy-degree Indian summer day. The wedding was held outside in the flower garden of the Baptist Church. Becky and Gloria were absolutely stunningly beautiful in their white wedding gowns.

Four of my best friends from Hasting Mills brought their families out for the wedding. I felt sad that I had no immediate family to share this wonderful day with. I did feel lucky to have Gus, Mary, Red Dodge and his wife there. Jon and Chris Tavy were there, of course, as was the entire Madison team.

After the reception, Gloria and I headed off to Hawaii for two wonderful weeks. We sunned ourselves on the beautiful beeches, danced until the wee hours of the morning, falling more in love with every passing day.

We were just sunning ourselves in lunge chairs by the pool one afternoon. We had only two days left before we were scheduled to go home and really start our lives together.

"Fate is sure a funny thing," I said to my beautiful bride. "I mean, how else can you explain my lying on the beach here with you, and, your being my wife."

"Yes, I know,” answered Gloria. "I always thought it would be with Bob. I still can't believe he is gone. I don't think I will ever understand life, really, at least that chapter of my life."

"I know," I said. "He was a great guy and had so much to offer. He seemed to always make the right decisions. He was truly Dudley Do-Right if there ever was one."

"He was that," added Gloria, "even to his own detriment, I think."

"I guess we all think that every decision we make, at the time, is the right one," I add. "We think we look at all the options, understand the possibilities of what may happen, even think we know how things will turn out. I guess the reality is that we move too quickly with our hearts and not enough with our heads. Maybe Bob WAS to take that scholarship. Maybe he would still be alive today if he had. Who knows, I guess."

I took a sip of my lemonade. Gloria just starred out across the crystal blue water beyond the pool fence.

"I just hope he has found his peace, where ever he is," Gloria said, as a small tear rolled down her cheek. "Bill, thank you for marrying me. I do love you so."

"You're very welcome," I reply. "Was the least I could do."

I reach across and brush away the tear.

"I hope Bob has found his peace, too," I add. "I really do. I can't help but think, though, that his business is left unfinished. I have been having some strange dreams lately, almost visions if you could call them that. It’s like I'm supposed to be doing something to help bring closure to all of this. I don't know exactly what, though."

"What do you mean, Bill," asked Gloria. "How could YOU finish what Bob tried to start?"

"That's what I don't know," I reply. "I'm certainly not as religious a person as Bob, but I think that you and I have some serious soul-searching to do to try to figure out what God wants us to do about this. I know that we can't let Bob's murder be in vain. He was too special a person for that."

I take Gloria's hand in mine and look deeply into her eyes.

"I'll help you any way I can," she replied lovingly while leaning over to kiss me softly. "We're in this together, for the rest of our lives. She caresses my face with her soft hands. "God will let us know what he wants us to his own time. Some dreams do come true. Mine truly have."

Chapter 46 The Dreamers

Chapter 46

Gloria, Gus, Mary, and I had a wonderful dinner and went back to my condo. It had two big bedrooms with a sleep sofa in the living room. I slept there giving my guests the two bedrooms.

Saturdays' game was a two-o'clock start so we could have breakfast before I left for the park at 10AM. Gloria called her Mom and told her the news of our engagement.

Gloria and her Mom thought about a wedding date and both decided that, if I didn't mind, they saw no reason to wait very long, unless I wanted to wait until after the season was over. We would talk about it tomorrow. It might be difficult since there were not many days off the rest of the season. They even thought about a double wedding with Becky Lollar and Dave Bolton in October.

Back in Chicago the liberal press was all over the Metro Police about the execution of Motown Matthews and his thugs. The community, as a whole, was not upset at all, much to their surprise. It seemed that the press was less concerned about the real innocent victims than they were about the real hoodlums. There was a rash of talk shows and Sunday Morning community programs centered on this whole ordeal. It became clearer that the community had no sympathy for Motown or his men, period. They felt justice was served.

It certainly didn't bother Mookie or Marvin. They called Sergeant Jenkins and asked if he wanted them to do anything else. He told them not at the moment, but that he would appreciate seeing them about once a month, just to keep in touch with what was going down in the neighborhood. They appreciated that he cared enough to do that for them. All Mookie wanted was a safe place for Dwight to grow up in and be able to safely ride the bike Bob and Sergeant Jenkins had given his son.

They also liked the idea of the basketball league being cleaned up. They felt with Motown gone, so would the drug deals and the pimping. They just had to keep an eye out for someone else trying to take over.

The Monarchs continued to breeze through the league. My record moved to twelve and three and Jack's to 11 and two. Tavy continued his assault with eight more homers and twenty-three RBI's for the month. I also continued to hit over .300 and added another six homers myself. We went into the last week of the season tied with the Orioles for first place. The third place team was nine games out. It was to be between the Orioles and us for the A.L. East Crown.

The City was buzzing. Madison had clinched their pennant over the weekend. They had a twelve game lead, continuing to be the class of the league in spite of loosing three of their best players. Buck did a good job of keeping the team focused and helping the new players fit right in.

For the New York club the last three games were against the Orioles. It was going to come down to head to head play, for sure. We swept our three games with the Brewers while the Orioles took two out of three from the Indians. With a one game lead we would have to loose all of our games with the Orioles to not, at least, force a one game playoff. I was to start Friday night's contest, a 7PM start.

Jack was moved back to Sunday, in case that game proved to be critical. Red thought he could use an extra day off as he seemed to be getting tired having lost about five miles an hour off his fastball the last week or so. It had been a long and emotionally draining season for all of us. An extra day couldn't hurt.

I breezed through the Orioles for four innings not giving up a hit. In the top of the fifth Chris Hoiles, the Oriole catcher took me deep to left giving the Orioles a one to nothing lead. In the Yankee half of the fifth, I led off the inning with a sharp single into right center. Tavy took the count full, but fouled out to third.

Ruben Santos made up for it with a triple into left center with me scoring, tying up the game. The Monarch catcher took care of the rest with a towering homer into the monuments on the first pitch giving us a three to one lead and all the runs I would need for the night.

I pitched eight strong innings giving up four hits, striking out seven and walking only one. Hack Johnson closed out the ninth for his thirty-second save. The Monarch clubhouse was ecstatic with our two game lead. The Orioles had to win tomorrow, but it was not to be.

We came out bombing with four homers in the first four innings and climbed out to a six to nothing lead. All Scott Marsch had to do now was keep the ball in the ball park, which he did. The final score was: Monarchs 8, Orioles 2. It was over.

The Monarchs had come back from being eleven games out. Red Dodge and we new Madison players did it. We played not only like we belongs here, but like true champions. Our workman like attitude rubbed off on the older players. Red did a wonderful job with the older players and by not showing any favoritism to his own boys. The team respected that.

George offered Red a contract extension of two years, which he accepted with the condition that Gus Lollar could join him in some capacity, but only if Gus wanted. George agreed.

George offered Jack and Jon very nice bonuses with their two year contract offers. Jack and Jon signed immediately. I was already signed for 2 more years, which was part of my huge bonus package.

Gloria and I, after talking to Becky and Dave Bolton, decided to have a double ceremony back in Madison after the season was over.

We two couples had grown so close; it just seemed like the natural thing to do. It would even give us more time to plan a honeymoon which we would NOT take with Becky and Dave, no matter how much we liked them. Gloria and I wanted some real time alone. This had been some year for everybody.

We lost in the playoffs to the Oakland A's in a tough seven game series. Jack and I both win one to nothing games, and then I win five to one, and Jack gets a no decision.

It was still a great season and gave the Monarchs great hope for the future. The Monarch bullpen let us down in three of the losses. There would be changes made there in the off-season for sure.

Chapter 45 The Dreamers

Chapter 45

The Monarchs began one of the biggest turn-arounds in their history. The existing players seemed to get the message and Meyers, Tavy, and I were playing as well as we were in Madison. We never missed a beat. By months end I was six and one and was batting .325 with five homers. Jack Meyers was five and one, and Jon Tavy had hit nine homers for the month and named the League Player of the Month. He added twenty-four runs batted in. Collectively, we seemed to raise the level of play for everyone. There was a renewed sense of not wanting to let your teammates down.

The Orioles, in the mean time, had gone on two losing streaks of their own, one of five games, and one of seven games. We had moved within two games with over a month left to go in the regular season. The town and the media had gotten off George’s case, for a while.

The Madison Monarchs were doing just as well. Buck was enjoying managing again and it was like nothing had changed with the team. It made me, Jack, and Jon feel better about our own success. We still had strong affections for our ex teammates.

Gloria, Gus and Mary were coming up for the weekend series with the Red Sox. Gus had gotten someone to fill in for their weekend series. He and Mary needed to get away. The last month had been tough, but they got through it. It was time, they knew, to get on with their lives. Maybe this weekend in New York could be a new beginning. They drove down and parked at my apartment. I had a limo take them to the stadium. Chris Tavy had already moved down here to be with Jon. Everything was going well for them, too.

I met Gloria, Gus, and Mary in the huge visitors' lounge adjacent to the locker room. I gave her the biggest hug of my life, or hers. I had missed her so much. I gave Mary a big hug as well and warmly shook Gus' hand.

"I'm so glad you all could come down," I began. "I missed you all so much."

Gloria was just beaming. "You think YOU missed US," she added? "I got news for you sailor," she added. Everyone started laughing.
"Listen," I said. "I've got to get ready for the game today. It is Jack's turn to pitch. We'll go out for a nice dinner to night."

"Sounds great," said Mary. "Should we meet you back here after the game?"

"That's fine," I replied. "See you then." I reached for Gloria and gave her a warm, passionate kiss. "I'll see YOU later, too," I added with a big smile. She returned it, as well.

Jack pitched a four-hitter for seven innings and the Monarch relievers closed out the game with six strikeouts, and no runs to complete the shutout of the Red Sox.

Both Jon and I hit two-run homers, mine came in the first inning with Moss aboard. Jon hit his in the fourth inning with me on with my second hit, a double into the gap in left center. Rubin Santos hit a three-run homer in the seventh for insurance. We just kept on rolling.

I met my new family as planned and a limo quickly sped us down to Mickey Mantle's Restaurant. It was easy for players to get in, reservations or not. I made them. I was not looking for any special treatment.

We took our seats and I ordered a nice bottle of wine for all of us to share. We sat talking about the game and how all three of us Madison players had brought so much to the team. It was something out of a dream they all thought.

I reached into my pocket and took out a small navy blue hinged box. I sat it by my plate. I was growing nervous. Mary spotted the box and quickly asked Gus to escort her to the ladies room so she wouldn't get lost. Gus didn't understand, but went anyway.

"Gloria," I began, "you know I've grown very fond of you. You are a very remarkable woman. You've been through a lot in your short life. And when I think about all that has transpired, I know that I am truly in love with you. I would love for you to me wife, if you'll have me?"

I opened the small box that had a huge diamond engagement ring inside. I took it out of the box and held it in my left hand. I reached for her left hand with my right.

"Gloria," I said as lovingly as I could, “Will you marry me?"

Gloria sat stunned for a moment. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was the words she had hope to hear for months.

"Oh, Bill, You know I will," she replied. "I love you so much." Her eyes welled up with tears as she leaned across the table to kiss him. She sweetly and gently touched the side of his cheek.

I slipped the beautiful ring on her finger. It fit perfectly.

"How did you do that," she asked?

"Got one of your rings from your Mom and had it sized," I said. "You're Mom has known for two weeks. She is really good at keeping secrets."

"She sure is," said Gloria. "I guess I didn't know how good, myself."

Gus and Mary made their way back to the table. They could sense some good news was about to be announced.

"Gus and Mary," I beamed, “this beautiful, young woman has agreed to become Mrs. Billy Alan." Both Gloria and I were smiling like Cheshire Cats.

"Oh," said Mary, "that is wonderful news. We always hoped this day would come. We love you both so very much." Mary leaned over and gave Gloria a kiss on the cheek.

"Congratulation," said Gus, giving me a pat on the shoulder.

"I know it's soon, but have you thought about a wedding date," asked Mary?

"When ever Gloria wants," I said. "I'll leave that up to her. I just plan to be there."

"We can talk about that the rest of this weekend, if that's O.K. with everyone," said Gloria. "I’ve got to call Mom tonight as well."

The waiter came by the table and asked if we were ready to order. He also asked for a favor.

"Mr. Alan," he asked sheepishly, "could I get your autograph for my son? He is a big fan of yours."

"Sure, what's his name," I ask?

"Martin," replied the waiter.

The waiter placed a clean piece of paper in front of me and handed me his pen. I began writing.

"Keep you eye on the ball and your mind in school," I wrote. "Best wishes, Bill Alan."

"Thanks,” said the waiter.

"Any time," I replied. "Come on everyone, let's eat."

Chapter 44 The Dreamers

Chapter 44

Word of the firing-squad execution of Motown and his boys spread quickly. The Brown Panthers had dropped the bodies at Beaupre Park. They must have figured that it was the appropriate site. Within five minutes of the Panthers anonymous tip the police dispatched the City Morgue to pick up the bodies.

Both Jenkins and DA Johnson had decided to go directly to the courthouse that morning. Sergeant Riccio called him there and told him what had transpired. He and Johnson quickly made their way back to the precinct. Johnson said on the way over with Jenkins in the car that the only winners here were the taxpayers. Literally Millions and millions of dollars were saved in trial costs and nine life sentences. He felt sure that the outcome would have been plea-bargained to life-in-prison with no parole in exchange for guilty pleas.

Even if you count fourty-five thousands dollars for each of forty-plus years of maximum security prison stays, it came to well over a few cool million dollars in incarceration costs for each of them, not counting inflation. Johnson wasn't so sure what had happened was such a bad thing after all. Jenkins wasn't so sure. He hated to see a massive trend of vigilante justice cropping up. He was glad to see the moral outrage within the Black Community, but not like this. Now he had to worry about both sides in this fight. As if he didn't have enough problems already.

The media had moved quickly and had their remote trucks at Beaupre. Captain Moss was at the precinct. The Mayor’s Office called and said the Mayor was on the way, too. They all met in Jenkins office.

"Sergeant Jenkins," said Moss," fill us in, will you?"

Sergeant Riccio was in the room as well. He knew more of what transpired downstairs. He passed along the account he got from statements from the guards and transport personnel.

"Do we know who heads up the Brown Panther group," asked Moss? "We need to bring in someone for questioning, before we look like total idiots," he added sarcastically.

"Total idiots, is that what you think we are," snapped Jenkins? "Where have YOU been during this investigation while the rest of us have been working eighteen to twenty hour a day on this case?"

"Watch it Sergeant," snapped back Moss.

"Watch it," snapped back Jenkins, now seething with anger. "I've had it with your involvement only at photo-op time. The rest of us have been killing ourselves working on this case, all you worry about is your chances to become Police Commissioner. Why don't you do the rest of us a favor and go play some more golf or whatever it is you do. I am tired of your sarcasm and crap. You don't like it, you can take this job and you know what you can do with it."

Moss was taken back. Jenkins never talked to him like this before. He never believed the animosity ran so high. The Mayor stepped in.

"Listen, this can wait," he chimed in. "I want to know what you want to do here Jenkins. What's our next move?"

"We know some of the key players in the Panthers," Jenkins stated. "We will go question them this morning. I don't think we're going to get any confessions. We have no witnesses to the executions. No one seemed to remember the vehicles they drove. We have no license plates, and all the assailants had on brown ski masks. I also believe that eighty percent of the public is not going to be that morally outraged about what happened. Mr. Mayor, what this should be is a wake up call to our Judicial System and Legislators that the public has grown very tired of the judicial systems failing them and bankrupting them at the same time."

"You know we spend over six percent of our state budget just locking these guys up." Jenkins went on. "That doesn't count what we spend on the court systems that put them there, or what we spend on municipal law enforcement. And, another thing, of the fifty-thousand people we arrested last year whose sentences would have been minimum-mandatory three year terms, we had to drop the charges on forty-thousand of those cases because we had no place to lock them up. If we did, prisons would account for over twenty-five percent of our state budget. That would be a crime in it self. Our dysfunction is both killing us and bankrupting us. We need this money for far more important things than prison. Our studies show that eighty-percent of our prisoners cannot past Fourth Grade Mastery Tests on Course Subject Material. Forty-percent have high school diplomas. What's that about?"

"Get the Legislative Leadership in my office sometime this week, even today if you can," said the Mayor firmly to members of his staff who came with him. "I think it is time we had a little heart to heart talk. Jenkins I want you there when they come. Any problem?"

"No, Sir, none at all," replied Jenkins. "I’ve been wanting this kind of meeting for a long time."

"Consider it done," said the Mayor. "I am calling a press conference for one hour from know. Jenkins, come with me and we'll talk about what we SHOULD say at this point."

"Give me five minutes, Sir," asked Jenkins, "I want to give Riccio the names of the Panther' Leadership I know."

"No problem," said the Mayor. Everyone, including Moss left Sergeant Jenkins’s office, except Riccio.

"Ric," said Jenkins, "here's the list. Tell them to be here at 1PM today, on their own, or we will come pick them up at OUR convenience. Tell them it is their choice, this time."

"O.K. Sarge," said Riccio. "I'll take care of it."

"Listen; are all of our men from down stairs all right?"

"Couple of scrapes and bruises, not much else," stated Riccio. "Seems like the Panthers made a strong effort not hurt any of our people. Give um some credit for that, I guess."

Jenkins nodded. He thanks Riccio for all his help and headed down to leave with the Mayor.

Their plan became to make this a legislative, judicial, educational problem. It was high time to really educate the public. They both hoped it could work.

Chapter 43 The Dreamers

Chapter 43

The court room was filled by 8AM. The media was treating this preliminary hearing like it was the trial of the century. That would be coming within a few months, what with possible continuances and all.

Down at the station all necessary arrangements were made with the prisoners about to be transported. The eight shooters were cuffed and escorted single file down to the end of the holding cell area. Two set of motorized bars had to be actuated to let them pass. A final manual set of swing-open bars were key locked with one final guard sitting at a desk just outside. A final locked, steel door went to the outside to the waiting prisoner carriages. Two rifle armed officers were positioned at the opening of the alley that led to the street.

The shooters were escorted, first into their waiting carriage. Motown was escorted out next to his private carriage. He was to be arraigned last and would be kept in a holding cell at the court house while the shooters went through their proceedings.

Little did anyone know trouble was brewing. The Brown Panthers, unrelated to the Black Panthers, had made a decision there was to be no trial. This was a vigilante type organization of black men who had grown tired of the violence in their community, mainly perpetrated by members of their own race. They felt it was time for them to take some action. They had decided to target Motown and his boys and make their first example out of them.

They had positioned two, large Ford Econoline vans just around the corner of the alley entrance. Each van carried ten commando attired men with automatic weapons. They all wore brown ski masks over their heads. Their plan was that no police officers were to be hurt.

Four of their men in normal looking trench coats walked up to the opening of the alley. The police officers were standing no more than five feet back from the sidewalk. Two of the trench coats quickly roll-blocked the guards, football style, while the other two subdued them as they hit the pavement. They were quickly brought under control and put into a large black Cadillac and whisked away. Two look-alike guards quickly assumed their positions.

The ten commandos quickly made their way to the side of the prisoner carriages. They quickly forced the guards to drop their weapons, pulling the drivers from the cockpit and putting their own men in place. They handcuffed the officers and placed duct tape over their mouths, sitting them up against the precinct brick wall. They got the keys to the back doors, climbed in with the prisoners and sped off. They made it look just like a standard prisoner transport, only they headed down to the docks to conclude their business.

It took them only fifteen minutes to arrive at the docks and pulled their carriages into an old, deserted building on the end. They piled out of the carriages pulling out THEIR prisoners, lining them up against on of the walls. They left Motown in his van.

Two black Lincolns pulled inside within minutes with four well dressed black men in expensive suits walked forward with their heals clicking against the cement flooring.

"You're all set," said one of the suits to one hooded man?

"Yes, Sir, we are," he replied.

The suited man moved in front of the eight shooters to address them. He stood and looked each one of them in the eye. They were growing very nervous. It was their turn to squirm. They didn't like it one bit.

"We've grown tired of you killing our neighborhoods," began the suit. "We would like to think the legal system could solve this problem and eliminate your kind, but reality is they are not prepared to do what is right. They aren't prepared to take an eye for an eye, like the Scripture says. Too many of our well meaning politicians think your kind is, somehow, worth saving. We, on the other hand, do not. We have grown so tired of you having no respect for your own race. You use up our children like pack mules. It is coming to an end. May God, somehow, if He sees fit, have mercy on your retched souls."

Eight hooded men with high powered hunting rifles took places in front of each of the shooters. They locked shells in each of their rifle's chambers, holding them firmly across their chest.

"Ready," shouted a voice off to the side.

"Aim," shouted the voice again.

"Fire," he said again.

Eight shots rang out hitting each of the shooters directly in the chest cavity, ripping through the heart of each victim. They all fell quickly to the pavement. One hooded man went over to each of the bodies, felt the each of the victim's neck to insure there was no pulse to be found. There was not.

They quickly placed each of the bodies into body bags and dumped them in the vans they brought and left just outside the door.

Motown was brought out of his carriage and lined up in the same manner.

"I am not even going to waste on once of breath on scum like you," he said angrily. "Move."

The eight hooded men all lined up again, Went through the same sequence. Eight bullets ripped through Motown. There was no doubt he was dead as a door nail.

His body was also bagged and dumped in the same van outside. The van sped away to a predetermined location. The police were given a call fifteen minutes later where the bodies were left.

There would be no trial. It was over.

Chapter 42 The Dreamers

Chapter 42

Jenkins and Johnson had a quiet dinner. Both expressed how disappointed they were in Martin and Mason. They were two of Johnson's best Attorneys. He was going to miss them. He couldn't believe what they did. What could they have been thinking, he thought?

They walked into Judge Menter's office and sat waiting to be announced. Judge McElroy entered the room. He recognized DA Johnson immediately. Johnson introduced Jenkins to the Judge.

Judge Menter came out of his office and asked the men to come inside. They did. They all took seats in the three leather arm chairs in front of the desk.

"What can we do for you," asked Judge Menter? "Seems rather important."

"It is," said Johnson, looking at Judge McElroy. "Judge have you had any personal contact with Motown Matthews," he asked? "We have reason to believe you have."

Judge McElroy looked down at his feet crossed in from of him. He said nothing.

"Judge McElroy," asked Menter? "What's this about?"

"Judge McElroy, you want us to tell what we suspect happened." asked Johnson?

"Go ahead," said Mentor.

Johnson showed Judge Menter the entries in Motown's ledger next to the Judge's name. He also showed him the two prosecutor's names, as well.

"Mark is this true," asked Menter? "Tell me it's not, will you."

"It's true, all of it," he replied in a subdued voice.

"Why," asked Menter? "Why?"

"Motown had his thugs kidnap Marky, my son, over a year ago," the Judge began. "He called about a week after it happened. No leads were forthcoming. I know there was a lot of pressure on the police to do something, but when you had no witnesses to the crime, no evidence, and no leads, what could anybody do. He said if I would cooperate, Marky would not be hurt, and that we could make some deal." stated the Judge.

"He had me meet him with no police down at the docks where he turned Marky over to me, unharmed," the Judge continued. "He said if I would make sure I was available to sit on any cases he was charged with that Marky would never be hurt. I love that kid with all my heart and soul, Jack. You know Martha and I thought we would never have any children, but when he came along late, it was like a gift, you know. I wasn't going to let anyone hurt Marky, no one."

"Go on," said Judge Menter.

"Well, he also said that he would compensate me for my services. It was later that the large manila envelopes began showing up with the cash in hundred dollar bills. Here it all is."

Judge McElroy pulled all seven envelopes out of his briefcase and placed them on Judge Menter's desk. He closed his case and placed it beside his chair.

"I didn't need the money,” continued McElroy. "I just didn't know what to do. I didn't want Motown to get upset and take Marky again. I never asked Bill's office or his prosecutors to take it easy in any of Motown's cases. I never did anything to give him a break. He seemed satisfied with how things always went so I never said anything to anyone, mainly out of fear. I don't need to remind you how these guys work. They can leave bodies. They can make them disappear without a trace. I didn't know what else to do."

"Bill, what does your office want to do here," asked Judge Menter?

"I have no ax to grind with Judge McElroy," DA Johnson responded. "I have no reason to believe he ever contacted our office looking for a favor. I can certainly understand the Judges situation here, especially when your kids are involved. I think that this can stay in this room. We may need the Judge to testify later and bring up Motown on charges of bribery and kidnapping, if we need it, if that is agreeable to the Judge, “asked Johnson.

"Mark, are you agreeable," asked Menter?

"Yes, that is the least I can do, I would think," he replied. "Just let me know when and where, if you need me."

"Judge McElroy," said Jenkins. "I’m sorry we weren't much help to you. I can sense your frustration and fear. We sense it everyday. It is very frustrating, but when it's your own kid, well, that is another matter. I'm not sure if I would have handled your situation any better than you did. It gets tough to know what is right in wrong in cases like that. Just let us know next time, if you would. We probably would have told you to do what you did, anyway. Seems like the only sensible course of action you could take."

"I know, I should have told someone," said Judge McElroy. "I was just so scared for Marky. I wasn't thinking of much else at that point. You need me for anything else?"

"No," said Jenkins. "I think the file on Motown is just about to be closed, for good."

Judge McElroy left the meeting. Judge Menter asked Johnson and Jenkins to stay for a moment.

"I just want to thank you for how you handled this today," said Menter. "Mark is a great Judge, a real caring person. He and his wife Martha are great people. Marky has brought a lot to their lives. Mark was being very sincere, today. Thanks again for your understanding."

"No problem," said Johnson. "Take care, Judge."

"Nice to meet you Sergeant Jenkins," said the Judge. "I owe you one."

Johnson and Jenkins went to their cars and headed home for the night. It was to be a big day tomorrow. They both hoped for a good nights sleep. They would need it.