The Boy in the Bin

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Sylvia made no visit to her son until the middle of the afternoon. This hit her hard, being the first time she saw him behind bars. When she and Raul came to call on Raphael at Lakeview, they all sat together at a table. At this location, she could only view him behind a window and talk through a mouthpiece.

They took away his civilian clothes and he dressed him in a drab green, over-sized jump suit. He resembled a criminal. Sylvia balanced nearly at going into hysterics but carefully controlled her emotions.

“You’ve really done messed up now Honey,” she said gently. “I thought being in Lakeview would show you how bad things can get. Those former actions are nothing compared to these new charges. What is wrong with you?”

“Mommy,” Raphael pleaded, “I nwant to ngo home.”

“I know,” she confessed, “and I’d like to take you home. Unfortunately, we can’t argue with the law. They want to send you to jail this time; A real jail.”

“I nwas just hanging out, Mommy,” he continued. “I didn’t ndo nwhat nthat lady nsaid.”

“Raphael STOP!” Sylvia shouted. “You got caught on tape. Your lawyer told me the cost would be over $100,000 to defend you and we haven’t got that money.”

Raphael became quiet now. He realized he would not be able to talk his way out of these problems and his mother couldn’t save him either.

“What’s going to nhappen now?” he questioned.

“Fred thinks the best thing we can do is plea to a lesser offense,” she confided. “If you get charged with a felony, it will stay on your record until you are 18 years old and ruin your life.”

“What does a lesser offense nmean?”

“I guess we will find out tomorrow,” Sylvia sighed. “We’re scheduled to be in court again at 10 A.M.”

Arnold Lovelace walked out of the precinct jail with his son Sammy and got into Daddy’s white Cadillac limousine parked around the corner. Arnold made millions in his business and real estate investments and liked to live a life of luxury. Unfortunately for Sammy, his money didn’t extend to bailing his son out of jail.

Once the back door of the limo closed, Arnold balled up his fist and punched his 15-year-old juvenile delinquent in the face.

“You stupid son of a bitch,” he roared. “I can’t believe you made me come down and drag your ass out of jail. How often have I told you; everything is legal, as long as you don’t get caught? YOU GOT CAUGHT ASSHOLE.”

Sammy knew about being slapped around by his old man, but today became the first time Daddy dearest hit him. On first impulse, he wanted to swing back, but he figured he’d be fighting the limo driver also. He kept a wary eye on his father, just-in-case he popped him again.

“Listen Pops,” Sammy explained. “The whole situation started with this little puke that used to go to my school. His name is Raphael and he’s the one who set the building on fire. We all got picked up, but he ratted on everybody to the Coppers. I didn’t shit except be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“This crap is going to cost me a fortune,” Arnold complained. “It’s a damned good thing I secured a good lawyer. He can at least keep you out of jail. What happened with this Raphael kid?”

“The last I heard,” Sammy answered, “the Prosecutor wanted to send him to Tryon reform school instead of Riker’s. I guess because he’s only 12 years old.”

“Well I want you to steer clear of him,” Arnold demanded. “For Christ’s sake, I work too hard to simply shell out money for your bail. If you fuck up again, I’ll leave you in jail to rot.”

The bailiff picked up Raphael for court on the next morning. Several other criminal cases came to the forefront before Raphael, including Flash and Zipper. In a rare incidence of mercy, the Prosecutor recommended both be given probation instead of being sent to jail. The primary reason for her mercy turned out to be their young ages and no police records for either. Finally, the bailiff called Raphael’s name.

“I understand an agreement has been reached with counsel for the Defendant,” the Judge began.

“Your honor,” Cindy Downes affirmed, “we are willing to drop all charges except the arson. In return, the Defendant will serve a term at the Tryon School for Boys in Fulton County, New York. The term of sentence will be for not less than nine months and not over three years. Since the Defendant is a minor, being only 12 years old, all records will be purged on his 18th birthday, PROVIDING no future charges accumulate.”

“This is agreeable to you?” Judge Williams asked Fred.

“Yes Your Honor,” he replied. “I conferred with Mrs. Hernandez and she agrees also.”

“What about nme?” Raphael screamed. “Don’t I nhave anything to nsay about my life?”

“No you don’t,” the Judge confirmed. “I might add I think this is a generous offer based on the severity of these charges. Just the sexual misconduct charge alone would brand you as a predator for life.”

“Well Fuck You All.”

“This court orders you, Raphael Franklin Hernandez, to serve the stated term of between 9 months and 3 years at the correctional facility known as Tryon School for Boys. Remember, if you get into trouble while you are incarcerated or after you get out, I will be happy to extend your sentence. Keep your nose clean and you can be free in under a year. Screw up and this court will act accordingly.”

Judge Williams slapped his gavel and made the ruling final. A bailiff immediately came over to collect Raphael for his transport. Sylvia wrapped her arms around him as if to shield his body from the waiting guard, but Fred moved in to separate the two .

“Mommy,” Raphael cried, “Please don’t let them take me. PLEASE.”

Sylvia broke down and shook as she sobbed into Raphael’s shoulder. She peered at Fred with her tear filled eyes, as if to beg him to make the pain stop. Fred couldn’t do a thing except lead Raphael away to his chosen destiny.

The bailiff knelt to put leg shackles on Raphael; mainly to stave off any attempt to run. As they left the courtroom, Raphael turned and looked back at Fred and Sylvia. The tears he had been shedding disappeared and his eyes filled with something else.

They were filled with hate.

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