The Boy in the Bin

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Lieutenant Sherman alerted his Captain about the assassination plot as he walked into the station with Raphael.

“I’m going to take a statement from this material witness,” he announced. “Meanwhile, I want an All Points Bulletin put out on Sammy Lovelace; along with any of his gang friends. My witness saw him last in a black Subaru sedan. I also want a detail assigned to Village Community School, if he shows up there.”

“What will happen to Sammy,” Raphael inquired.

“He is going to be arrested, “Sherman reported,” whether we find him in possession of a bomb or not. If he does have a bomb, we can charge him with possession of illegal explosives. We intend to question him and all his friends and squeeze all the details out about this plan.”

“What’s going to happen to me,” he worried.

“I’ve contacted your Aunt Maria,” the Lieutenant explained. “She is your only living relative and has been worried sick about your whereabouts. Since you are an orphan, I believe she may want to adopt you. I will call her again when I get some matters taken care of.”

Raphael considered life with his cousin Johnny and Aunt Maria. How wonderful to be in a real home again, even though Johnny might not be there. His last memory of his cousin happened when he pulled his body from the river. The body turned out, not Johnny, but someone who looked like Raphael.

Did he dream the entire episode of the rescue? How about the mysterious vortex of New York City? Then the ugly encounter with the Chunkers and the evil doctor. What about the original vortex, sweeping him into an alternate universe? All this became too much to wrap his mind around at the moment.

The Lieutenant seemed busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger with an itch. He was while putting together a task force, to stop any assassination attempt. He also needed to filter through many criminal reports being dropped off on his desk.

“Raphael,” he quizzed, “didn’t you tell me about a conversation with your father’s ex-partner last weekend?”

“A brief one,” Raphael answered. “He came over to the house to talk to my mother as I left my house. Did you find him?”

“We got a report about finding his body,” the Lieutenant muttered. “Someone shot him to death at his house in the Hampton’s. This is strange because we towed his Corvette from the alley in front of your old house.”

“He came over to visit my mother quite frequently,” Raphael added. “I’m pretty sure he started an affair with her after my father died.”

“To add to all this confusion,” Sherman continued, “his daughter got crushed to death when a scaffold collapsed atop a car on 58th Street. Somehow Marcia, Fred’s daughter, ended up underneath the rubble on the hood. The car belonged to Mark Lawrence. He was a private investigator who died in the accident too. Did your mother ever mention his name?”

Raphael thought for a moment and shook his head ‘No’. This seemed to get more and more confusing all the time. First his father Raul dies, and a known felon is found dead in the same vicinity, with Raul’s wallet. Next, someone throws a firebomb into his house, killing his mother. Now Fred, a partner in the law firm, his daughter and a private investigator all buy it. Raphael figured all these deaths somehow connected to each other.

Maria gushed when Lieutenant Sherman called to inform they found Raphael. She promised she would take a cab to the station within the next hour. She had acted like an emotional wreck since hearing the news about the death of her brother Raul. Both her and her son Johnny lived on the west side of town and discussed taking Raphael in at one point. Even though adopting Raphael would be difficult financially, they were family; the only family for Raphael to call his own.

Upon her arrival at the precinct station, tears filled her eyes as she gazed upon her nephew. She hadn’t seen him in over a year. The last time they saw each other, happened when she and Johnny came to the Brownstone for dinner. That seemed like a lifetime ago. She hugged and kissed Raphael like she would her own son.

“Oh Honey,” she cried, “I’m so sorry about your father and mother. Don’t you worry about a thing; I’m going to take care of you.”

Raphael couldn’t help but be moved by her emotional display. He only met her once, but he liked her and hugged her back with equal feelings.

“Did Johnny get home,” Raphael questioned.

“Get home from where?” She remarked. “He’s been keeping close to home lately because of so many appointments with his psychologist. I don’t even let him go shopping alone.”

“But I was with him,” Raphael shot back. “We got trapped in some strange world with all these people covered with slimy bumps. We even went to a doctor together.”

“No Honey,” Maria insisted, “you probably dreamed about seeing him. He goes to school everyday and returns straight home. The only doctor he sees is our family physician and his shrink.”

Raphael got upset because he knew the experiences he and Johnny shared. He almost dropped his pants in front of her, to show the scars of his surgery. He wanted to prove they both visited the evil Dr. Entfernan. But when he reached down to unzip his fly; he felt his penis within the folds of his pants.

What the hell? He questioned. Did I dream all this?

Lieutenant Sherman came over to the desk where the little reunion progressed. He carried with him, a stack of papers for Maria to sign. They would release Raphael into her custody.

“I can only think of one more issue Maria,” he mentioned. “You need to meet with Social Services to get their approval on custody. I foresee no problem since I will put in a recommendation. Once they approve, you can be a custodian until and if you adopt.”

“I’m worried about my finances, Lieutenant,” she moaned. “My job doesn’t pay much and with limited savings, I may have problems.”

“Social Services can help you in this respect also,” he confirmed. “They offer low-rent programs, food stamps, and volunteer caretakers. I’d apply for everything available; at least until you can get your bearings.”

“Are you ready to get together with your cousin?” Maria beamed. “He will be home from school at 3:00 o’clock.”

“You bet, Aunt Maria,” Raphael acknowledged. “Will we be going to school together again?”

“We need to check things out Raphael,” she confessed. “I’m not sure if we can work things out with the Village Community School. Remember, you got the principal mad at you. Hey, I just noticed something. Something happened to your voice. You don’t seem to talk with a cleft palate anymore. Did your parents arrange surgery for you?”

“It somehow happened,” he reassured. “When I woke up in the storage bin, my voice sounded normal.”

Raphael anticipated seeing Johnny again. He had so many questions he wanted to ask. Johnny was the only person who could help him figure things out. As he and his Aunt left, an officer approached Lieutenant Sherman.

“We got your boy,” he interrupted with a smile. “He and another kid cruised by in the Subaru mentioned in the APB. One of the other punks took a shot at the officer who pulled the car over. The officer returned fire and wounded him. His name is Lenny Drake and check out his rap sheet. That’s saying something since he’s only 15 years old. He took a gun shot to the side of the face. The arresting officer took a few liberties with his night stick. Lenny apparently looks like scrambled eggs. EMS transported him to the hospital and we took Sammy Lovelace into custody. He’s downstairs in a holding cell.”

“I must see him,” Raphael chirped. “I want him to know I’m still alive.”

“You’ll have plenty time for gloating later,” Sherman responded. “For now, you need to get situated in a school. I promise to contact you as soon as we find anything out.”

Raphael and Maria left the station and Paul Sherman headed over to the city hospital. He took his Polaroid camera with him because he wanted pictures of Lenny Drake. After leaving the hospital, his next stop would be the holding cell to visit Sammy. He pondered a million questions to ask him, but one stood out prominently.

Who set him up with the bomb?

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