The Boy in the Bin

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24) BACK ROOM DEALS

Raul did nothing out of the ordinary to raise Sylvia’s suspicions. He kept a regular schedule and came home every night around 6:00 P.M. or earlier. The first Saturday he worked after the board meeting, he arrived home by 4:30 P.M. and the most recent Saturday, he got home by 3:30 P.M.; earlier on both days than usual.

Only one thing stood out as curious. When Sylvia assembled the laundry for Natasha, she found a button missing from the front of one of Raul’s shirts. Being fastidious about his appearance, he would never go out in public like this. She assumed the button pulled off somehow during his busy workday.

Raul informed Sylvia about going to Connecticut on Tuesday to take a deposition and he might be delayed returning. He promised not to be too late getting back. She sniffed his shirt and only detected the faint aroma of Aqua Velva; the aftershave he regularly used.

Almost two weeks went by before Sylvia got a message to call MassEye Investigations and speak to Mr. Lawrence. Today she would make a final judgment, regarding her suspicions. She picked up the phone and Mr. Lawrence came on the line. He asked her if he might speak freely.

“Yes sir,” she replied, “nobody is home except me. Please go ahead.”

“I will read off my log notes,” Lawrence advised, “and fill in the blanks for you later. Initially, I trained your husband on Thursday, two weeks past. And from here, I will read the log entries.”

Thursday afternoon - subject arrived at office and stayed inside until 6:00 P.M.

Thursday afternoon - subject and unidentified co-worker leave and go to Wayland Bar and Grill on Avenue C.

Thursday evening - subject observed having drinks with co-worker and 2 females at bar.

Female number 1 - Short, mid 20′s, black hair

Female number 2 - 5 to 5 ′ in height, mid 20′s, reddish blond hair

Male number 1 - 6′ in height, mid 30′s, dark black hair

Male number 2 - 6′ in height, mid 40′s pepper grey hair

Thursday evening - subject leaves bar alone at 9:00 P.M. and rides cab to his residence

Friday morning - subject arrives at office via bus at 8:30 A.M. and stays until 11:30 A.M.

Friday morning - subject goes to deli on Avenue C and picks up lunch, returns to office

Friday evening - subject returns to his residence via bus and arrives home at 6:00 P.M.

Saturday morning - subject arrives at office at 9:00 A.M. and stays until 11:00 A.M.

Saturday morning - subject goes to Wayland Bar and Grill and is observed meeting short, black haired woman

Saturday afternoon - subject returns to office with above mentioned woman at 12:00 P.M.

Saturday afternoon - short woman leaves office alone at 3:30 P.M.

Saturday afternoon - subject leaves office at 4:10 P.M. and travels by bus to residence

Sunday - all day - no observation of subject

Monday - all day - subject arrives at office at 8:30 A.M. and leaves by bus at 6:00 P.M. for his residence

Tuesday - all day - subject arrives at office at 8:30 A.M., leaves at 9:00 A.M. and is not observed afterward

Wednesday morning - subject arrives at office at 8:30 A.M., goes to lunch with co-worker at 11:30 A.M.

Wednesday afternoon - subject and co-worker dine at Wayland Sports Bar and return to office at 2:30 P.M.

Wednesday afternoon - subject leaves office at 5:15 P.M. and travels by bus to residence

Thursday - all day - same as above entry

Friday - all day - same as above entry

Saturday morning - subject arrives at office at 9:00 A.M. and stays until 11:00 A.M.

Saturday morning - subject goes to Wayland Bar and Grill and is observed meeting short, black haired woman

Saturday afternoon - subject returns to office with above mentioned woman at 12:00 P.M.

Saturday afternoon - short woman leaves office alone at 2:30 P.M.

Saturday afternoon - subject leaves office at 2:45 P.M. and travels by bus to residence

End of Report

Mr. Lawrence said he witnessed no overt acts and could offer no incriminating photographs or other compelling evidence.

“The only thing solid,” he admitted, “is suspicions. I took photographs of him, at various times and places, but nothing dramatic. The records show two people walking down a sidewalk or four people sitting in a bar; this stuff. I will be glad to provide them to you.”

“My husband doesn’t employ any female co-workers,” Sylvia argued. “There’s no reason at all a girl should be going to the office with him on a Saturday afternoon.”

“Mrs. Hernandez,” Lawrence corrected, “I only do the investigating and provide evidence of what I witnessed. I will be glad to give my evidence to you; but it’s your call how to deal with things.”

Sylvia realized striking out against Mr. Lawrence without good reason would be senseless because the fault wasn’t his. She still maintained these creepy-crawly sensations about Raul, and convinced herself he cheated on her. She intended to catch him; somehow. She asked Mr. Lawrence about the possibility he might hand-deliver his findings. Afterward, she would pay him in cash; to which he agreed.

Raphael once again went through the rigors of his classes. He decided he would only use the name Ratso, when with his gang friends; sort of a secret identity. He anticipated going back downtown with Sammy and hanging out. The gang became the only real circle he ever belonged to.

He went through the cafeteria line and loaded up on the offering for the day. Today being Friday, the special turned out to be Fish Sticks, Cole Slaw, and Lemon Meringue Pie. He sat down at a table with Eve sitting down next to him. Raphael asked about Steven and Eve told him he called in sick today.

“He probably wanted a long weekend,” Eve theorized. “His family goes out to the Hampton’s a lot.”

“I don’t know nwhere the Hamptons are,” Raphael remarked.

“The Hamptons,” Eve explained, “are a group of villages on the south fork of Long Island. They are actually two little hamlets named Southampton and East Hampton on the Montauk Highway. Steven’s family is quite rich. You would need to be to live in his neighborhood. Some of the most expensive property is out along the coast. A lot of entertainers like Howard Stern, Billy Joel, and Rachel Ray live in the area; other rich people too.”

“Do you go nthere with him?” Raphael questioned. “He is your nboyfriend isn’t he?”

“STEVEN?” Eve laughed, “Steven isn’t my boyfriend. I haven’t got a boyfriend.”

Raphael felt embarrassment, but also joy. He liked Eve, but he thought Steven and her acted like an item together. Now hope appeared on the horizon. Hope kept Raphael going. He hoped people would accept him for his true nature. He hoped to accelerate his studies and skip a class. For now, he hoped only to work up the nerve to ask Eve for a date.

They talked until the bell rang and went to the afternoon classes. Raphael anticipated Math class with Mr. Borden; a teacher he liked. He usually started out the class with a lecture and afterward the class would work out problems based on the lecture.

“Today,” he started, “we are going to explore Multiplication of numbers. We will work with whole numbers, decimal numbers, and fractions. I also want to go over the papers you turned in the other day when we studied Profit.”

Mr. Borden went through the basics of Multiplication and gave some practical examples. He directed the students to read the chapter on Multiplication in their textbooks. Afterward, they were to write out five examples of each in whole, decimal and fraction numbers.

The class set about to do their studying. Mr. Borden called students up to his desk individually to discuss their profit homework answers. Raphael patiently waited his turn.

“You gave an excellent and interesting answer, Raphael,” he pointed out. “You ended up being the only one in the class who took the time to write out an explanation. I agree with the correctness of your explanation.”

“I ntried to do nmy best,” Raphael beamed.

“Well,” Mr. Borden continued, “because of your excellent answer, you’ve earned a Gold Star.”

“Will I nget nmoney for gold stars?” he proposed.

“When you earn nine more,” Borden told him, “I will give you a shiny fifty cent piece. Do you get an allowance from your parents? ”

“No,” Raphael declared. “My Mommy buys nmy clothes, but I don’t get any money.”

“How would you like to earn some money in this class?”

“How nwould I ndo nthat?” he wondered.”

“I need someone to file my papers everyday after class,” Mr. Borden continued. “I want you to put all the students’ worksheets in my file cabinet, erase the blackboard and straighten the chairs after everyone leaves. Oh, and dump the waste baskets. The tasks should take about fifteen minutes to do and I will pay you $ 2.00 every Friday; plus give you an extra Gold Star.”

This sounded like a fortune for Raphael. He jumped at the idea because his time after school to complete these tasks was unlimited and the extra money would be good. Mr. Borden explained how he needed to keep their agreement secret because some of the other kids might get jealous. Raphael jumped at the opportunity.

Raul cut another type of deal at his office. One of his clients owned an import-export corporation dealing primarily in South America. Raul suspected for a long while, not all his shipments coming into the country to be legal. Having dealt with the CEO, Mr. Rolland Sandez for some time, he knew no shortage of money existed.

“As your lawyer,” Raul confided, “you realize anything you tell me is confidential.”

“I trust you, Raul,” Sandez assured, “and I don’t let anyone else poke into my business contracts.”

“While I do work with contracts,” he mentioned, “I’ve never seen any of the merchandise.”

Mr. Sandez glared at Raul as if he tossed out an insult. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair and paused, trying to formulate an answer.

“So what are you saying, Raul?” Sandez queried.

“I wondered if you might be knowledgeable about illegal substances,” Raul stated. “The kind of substances people like to sniff. The substance packed in coffee beans; like the ones you import.”

“Our coffee beans are the most flavorful in the world,” Sandez boasted. “This is why we get the top price from our customers.”

“I recognize your pride, Mr. Sandez,” Raul agreed, “but did you realize I’m also a coffee lover? I don’t consider myself to be a big user, but I like excellence in small quantities.”

“Let’s quit beating around the bush Raul,” Mr. Sandez growled. “What exactly is it you want?”

“I would like some sample packets for personal use,” he announced. “I’m thinking perhaps an ounce or so every month.”

“And what would you be willing to give in return,” Sandez pressed. “Premium coffee is fairly expensive.”

“I charge your corporation $ 350 per hour for my legal work,” Raul asserted. “I would be willing to trade two hours of legal time for each sample packet.”

“My corporation would be willing to provide a sample pack in exchange for three hours of legal time,” he offered. “And only because I like and trust you. Anyone else would need to pay four hours at a minimum.”

Raul smiled at Mr. Sandez and told him he thought the trade would be agreeable. They talked for a few minutes more. Sandez informed Raul he would stop by next Monday to sign the new contracts being drawn up by the law office. Raul suggested they go grab a drink, but Sandez claimed to be busy and said they could meet at another time. The meeting ended cordially and both seemed happy about the deal struck between them.

Raul smiled because he no longer needed to rely on getting supply from his co-worker Fred anymore. He used Fred as a contact because his division handled all the criminal cases for the firm. Apparently the firm had no shortage of sleazy clients coming into the office. Raul considered his corporate law division to be superior because he mainly dealt with executives.

Another reason he wanted to limit his dealing to he and Fred also existed. Raul developed a relationship with Fred’s daughter, Marcia. He liked casually meeting her, but if Fred somehow found out, all hell would break loose. He presented the image of being a happily married man and wanted to maintain the image.

Mr. Sandez liked the agreement for another reason. He supplied most cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs to a network of dealers for years. Having a lawyer in his clutches would be good for business and who knows; its possible Raul’s usage would increase now, simply by having easy access to the drugs.

He may even become addicted.

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