31) BUSTED ALL TO HELL
Sylvia received no contact from MassEye Investigations since she committed to investing more money into the tracking of her husband. Raphael should be already home and Raul would come home soon. She phoned Mark Lawrence from her work location. The call went through the usual channels was picked up in his office.
“Sylvia,” he said, “I meant to call you later.”
“I’m not home,” she said. “I’m still at work. Did you find out any new evidence?”
“I can’t talk about the case now Sylvia,” Mark said. “Right now I’m with another client. Would another time be available for us to meet and discuss things; perhaps at your house?”
“I can take tomorrow off and tell the nanny not to show up,” she said. “The reason I say then is because tomorrow is the last day of school for my son and he won’t be home until 3 o’clock. Can you tell me if you found something out or not?”
“I’ve got your evidence,” Mark said, “but I want to show you personally. Would 11:00 A.M. be too early for you?”
“No,” she said, “11 o’clock would be perfect. I anticipate seeing you tomorrow.”
Mark put down the phone and smiled. Yes, he possessed evidence of Raul’s cheating but he hoped to console Sylvia in his own special way.
The last day of school arrived and Raphael already decided the only reason he would go, was to visit Eve one more time. He got to school early and waited outside the entrance for her to arrive. She got showed up at about five minutes before the morning bell rung and Raphael greeted her with a big smile.
“I’m going to skip classes today,” he said.” Do nyou want to play hooky nwith me?”
“I’d love to Raphael,” she said, “but I’m still required to take one more final. If you skip school, where are you going to go?”
“I thought I’d go ndowntown and do some nshopping,” he said, “and I thought nyou might like to meet nsome of my nfriends.”
“I can’t,” Eve said again. “The final test is for Algebra and I absolutely need to pass or my overall grade will be affected.”
The school bell rang and Eve said she needed to run. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and she left. Even such a quick kiss felt wonderful to Raphael/Ratso and he dreamily walked off the school grounds to the subway station. He headed for the Park Avenue express and went down to Penn Station.
None of his friends seemed in sight. The station seemed crowded and he moped around for at least fifteen minutes, but none of the gang showed up. He decided he would walk around the area, looking to see if something caught his eye; something looking good in his possession.
Walking up 42nd Street, he suddenly realized he was about to go past the store where he ripped off his leather jacket. He quickly turned around and went the other way. He sure didn’t want the store owner to get a good look at him and maybe call the police.
He walked up Lexington Avenue to 45th Street and in a moment, he stood in front of a store called ‘Midtown Comics’. He smiled at the thought of this being his place. He went into the busy store and couldn’t believe the selection available.
In front of him before his eyes, stood a display of everything and anything a young boy could desire in the way of reading. Tarzan, Ironman, Justice League of America and other famous heroes, all in evidence. At the back of the store, a locked display shelf held many old comic books; each having serious high prices.
Ratso peered through the glass, taking his time to examine each of the items displayed. Above each book, sat a sign with the price and a description of what made the comic so special.
Amazing Spider Man #300 - First appearance of Venom -
Good Condition - $4100
Batman Comics # 1 - First Appearance of Batman -
Poor Quality but Complete - $50000
Detective Comics #33 - Batman’s Origin -
Good Condition - $68,000
Captain America # 1 - First Appearance of the Captain -
Fair Condition $149,000
Action Comics # 1 - The Beginning of Superman -
Never Opened - $ 3,100,000
Ratso couldn’t believe the value of some . He liked his collection at home, but his weren’t in the same shape as these. Some of his covers got ripped or he spilled something on them. He thought he better take more care , because someday, they may command these prices.
He wandered around the store looking at the other things up for sale. All the clerks busied themselves helping other customers. He found an Ironman face mask he liked. This wasn’t a full head cover like Ironman wore but still looked cool. He should be able to fit the mask flat inside his jacket.
He slipped his prize off the wire rack and tucked it inside his coat. He meandered around more, so as not to attract attention. When he got close to the exit, he casually stepped outside.
Immediately an alarm went off and Ratso realized the mask contained a security strip embedded in the price tag. ‘Shit’ he said, as he took off in a dead run up Lexington Avenue. Two employees bolted out of the front door and gave chase to the young thief. Ratso ran quick, but one of the clerks ran quicker. He caught up with him before they ran another block. He grabbed him by the neck and slammed him down to the concrete pavement, putting his knee in the center of his back.
Raul enjoyed his great day at work until his co-worker Fred walked into his office. At first, Raul thought Fred had a heart attack because he appeared all flushed and veins stuck out of his neck. With his tie all askew and sweat pouring off his brow, he brandished a paper bag in his left hand. He charged up to the desk and raised his fist at Raul.
“I found out you’ve been having an affair with my daughter,” he screamed. “What the fuck do you think you are doing; you’re a married man.”
“Where did you hear this rumor,” Raul said with a cool voice. “I sometimes meet her on a social level, but to accuse me of having an affair is a little rash, Fred.”
Fred reached into the bag and threw a video cassette on Raul’s desk. Raul stared down at his desk for a moment and glanced back at Fred.
“That’s a video recording from our office security system,” Fred said. “The time date stamp is from two weeks ago on a Saturday Both of you are on it. I also checked at the Wayland Bar and Grill. The bartender confirmed you both are regulars.”
Raul appeared sullen as he glared at Fred. In his mind, he tried to formulate kind of explanation, but he only came up with an excuse.
“Sylvia and I are having troubles,” he said. “Marcia and I talked quite a bit and she seemed to be such an understanding woman. She came by the office one Saturday and invited me out for a drink. One thing led to another and we ended up here. I swear Fred, we only fooled around once.”
“Raul,” Fred said, “she’s only 24 years old. I know she’s attractive, but in your position as a partner, you’ve got no business having any contact with her. I think you are a total asshole and I will report you to the ethics board.”
With a huff, Fred stormed out of Raul’s office and slammed the door. Raul sat thinking about the situation and trying to figure out how to weasel his way out. If he dumped Marcia, he would lose a valuable addition to his stable of lovely ladies. If he continued to fraternize with her, Fred might try to contact Sylvia and put a bug in her ear.
If he got his friend Mr. Sandez to put a hit out on Fred, the problem would be solved before too much damage would be done. He would absorb Fred’s clients. He reasoned Mr. Sandez, more than likely, employed people on his staff who handled this problem.
He figured no harm would come by asking.
The moment the clock ticked to 11:00 A.M., Mark Lawrence knocked on the home of Raul and Sylvia. Sylvia prepared for their meeting by wearing her most revealing low-cut dress. She also took the time to blow dry her hair and dab a faint touch of Chanel’s Coco perfume behind her ears. She opened the door and invited Mark into the kitchen and they sat down at the table.
“You seemed sort of secretive when I called,” Sylvia said. “What did you find out?”
“I anticipated Raul would meet his lady friend at his favorite local bar,” he said, “like he always did. He showed up a little before 11:00 A.M. and she had been waiting for him. They paid no attention as I sat in the lounge away from the bar area. With my telephoto lens, I snapped two pictures of the two in deep conversation. They left the bar about 11:30 A.M. I thought they would go back to his office, but they hailed a cab. I got the cab behind them and followed.”
“Did they catch sight of you or suspect anything?” Sylvia asked
“No,” Lawrence said, “with 1000′s of Yellow Cabs in the city, they all become the same.”
“They took a commuter train all the way to Greenwich, Connecticut and caught a cab to the Delamar Hotel on the harbor. I followed them all the way in the cab and so I didn’t get to register. I assumed they checked-in already and so I waited in the lobby. Sure enough, they left the hotel a little after 7:00 P.M. the same evening. I figured they would go back to the city. So I went up to the registration desk, flashed my ID and asked for the room register. Raul must be confident because he used his real name and paid with his credit card. I obtained a copy of the receipt too.”
Mr. Lawrence opened up his brief case and brought out a folder of evidence for Sylvia to review. As she flipped through the photos and the photocopies, she acted like someone hit with a rock; as if she tuned in a far off mental image. Mr. Lawrence reached over and gripped her hand.
“Sylvia,” he said, “I’m sorry I showed you this, but you did ask for evidence.”
“Oh Mark,” she said, “I’m not blaming you. I’ve suspected something like this for a long time. It’s suspecting something and having the facts thrown in your face are two different things. I need a drink.”
She got up from the table and pulled out two glasses, filled them with ice and vodka and gave one to Mark. He graciously accepted the drink as they stood, holding his glass up as a toast.
“Now the worst is over,” he said, “you can get on to doing what you need to do.”
“I need to pay you first,” Sylvia said. “What is my bill for the extra time?”
“I did this on my own time, Sylvia,” Mark said, “because I can feel your hurt and couldn’t bring myself to charging you.”
Sylvia stared into Mark’s deep blue eyes for a moment and put her arms around him in a hug. He pressed back against the swell of her firm chest and he smiled, knowing his plan came together.
He turned his head and planted a passionate kiss on her beautiful lips and she responded by pulling him even tighter. As their kiss lingered, he reached up and cupped her right breast lightly in his hand.
Sylvia immediately pulled away from him and moved his hand. She wasn’t so much uninterested, as much as this house belonged to her and Raul; a house she also shared with her son.
“Not now Mark,” she said. “Not in the condition I’m in and not here.”
“But couldn’t we hold a bit longer,” Mark said. “I haven’t enjoyed the touch of a beautiful woman in such a long time, and you are special to me.”
“No Mark,” Sylvia repeated, “I’m not sure I can control my feelings. Before I get into another relationship, I need to deal with this one.”
Mark gently took her left hand, gliding down to the large bulge in his pants as he said, “Are you sure?” Sylvia couldn’t help be impressed by Mark being hung like a horse. The thought of sex with him gave her a shiver and a moment of pause. She deliberately let her hand linger a few seconds before moving it away.
“I’m sorry, Mark,” Sylvia said, “but I can’t. I’m not saying I won’t, but not right now.”
Mark acted crushed. Not only was he locked and loaded, but he never experienced being turned down before. He always prided himself on his smooth approach. As he released his intended victim, a strong knock pounded on the door. Sylvia almost screamed and Mark sat down immediately to conceal the noticeable swelling in his pants.
Sylvia ran down to answer the door and greeted her callers; Lieutenant Sherman and her son Raphael.
“We are here to talk you, Mrs. Hernandez,” the Lieutenant said.
They came into the mud room and made their way up to the kitchen. Mark Lawrence sat at the table and the first thing catching Sherman’s eye when he pondered him; lipstick smeared on his face.
“I must get going, Mrs. Hernandez,” Mark said, “but I will follow up with you on this matter next week.”
“OK,” Sylvia said, “I look forward to your call.”
The door closed and Lieutenant Sherman explained the reason for his presence.
“Out of courtesy,” Mrs. Hernandez, “I stopped by to tell you of Raphael’s arrest.”
“ARREST?” She shrieked, “what for?”
“He got caught shoplifting at a comic book store,” the lieutenant said. “I know the charge is petty, but the owners want to be hard asses and I can’t do anything.”
“So what happens now,” Sylvia asked. “Is he going to jail?”
“No,” he said, “I doubt anything as rash as jail will happen. He must appear in court next week though, and the judge will probably issue a warning and maybe a small fine. The county prosecutor is a real tough cookie and he will probably want Raphael to do twenty years hard labor. But I doubt any real sentence will come about because he hasn’t any priors.”
“And what’s your story about this Raphael,” Sylvia remarked, “didn’t your daddy and I teach you how to act better than stealing?”
“Fuck them all,” Raphael sputtered. “I grabbed a stupid mask.”
“RAPHAEL,” Sylvia shouted. “Don’t you dare use the ‘F’ word in my presence.”
“Why,” he said, “Daddy’s uses the word plenty of times in front of you.”
“But not 10-year-old boys,” she followed.
“I’m almost 11,” Raphael said as he got up and left.
Lieutenant Sherman informed Sylvia her job would be to make sure Raphael appeared in court. If he didn’t, they would issue a bench warrant for him and afterward he would be in jail. Sylvia knew this spelled trouble, but she assured the lieutenant she and Raul would appear with Raphael in court.
The Lieutenant left and Sylvia poured herself another drink while she reflected on the whole situation. Her husband cheated, her son shoplifted and she came within a whisper of being caught in bed with Mark Lawrence. But the third thing never happened because she didn’t feel right about cheating in her own house.
Thank God for small favors.