The Keepers

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Chapter 5

Alex wasn’t the only person who didn’t know much about Anthony Joseph. He was raised as an only child by his mother. He knew his dad, but really didn’t see much of him. The talk around town was that Milton Joseph wasn’t all there. Not that he wasn’t intelligent. In fact, most people that knew him said he was too smart for his own good. He never held jobs for very long and spent most of his time alone, working on various ‘projects’ that never amounted to anything.

Rumors varied from being an escaped mental patient to a cult leader. Anthony’s mom was in no rush to defend her ex-husband either. She sometimes seemed to feel sorry for him, but mostly she was upset that he offered no financial support for Anthony. She never tried to keep him from seeing his father but hoped that he didn’t take after him.

Those hopes were dashed as soon she saw them together when Anthony was barely a teenager. His dad, Milton, was always going on and on about government conspiracies and mind control experiments that were being done in underground labs. When he was drinking, which was quite often, he would even claim that he knew secrets that would get him killed. That there were certain groups of people that were always following him, which was his excuse for not staying in the same place for too long. Of course, she knew it was all nonsense. He was just a guy who was a serial underachiever and created a fantasy world in which he was more important than he really was.

She had to admit that he was charming and eccentric when they first met and his wild stories and imagination were entertaining if nothing else. She made the mistake of getting pregnant with his child though and that changed everything for her. But not for him.

Where she once was amused by his antics, now she was just tired. Anthony needed her and she needed help from his dad. But she soon gave up on that. Luckily Milton’s dad, Anthony’s grandfather, would stop by and leave cash in hidden places around the house. Some months she didn’t know how she’d make it without his help. She wished that Anthony would take after his granddad more than his father, but she didn’t hold out much hope.

If someone told her that Arthur Joseph knew top secret information, she would be more apt to believe it. Whereas Milton was lazy and full of himself, Arthur exuded a quiet confidence. When you talked to him you always got the sense that he knew something you didn’t. Which was probably true.

Throughout the years she began to see more of Milton in her son that Arthur. His grandad always stayed in the picture though. Luckily his dad was as absent as always while he was growing up. It killed her that Anthony still got excited when he did bother to show up. For all of his faults, Anthony, like any kid, wanted to look up to his dad.

When he was in his early twenties, she got the phone call that she had been dreading. Arthur was dying. She called Milton to make sure he knew, but he was so incoherent, that she just gave up and focused on Anthony.

A great sadness swept over her when she heard the news. Not only for the loss of Arthur, but for the loss of the only good man in her son’s life. She wanted him to go see his grandfather one last time, so she called and made arrangements to go see him.

When they arrived at Arthur’s house, the nurse let them in and let them know that he was excited to see his grandson one more time. She and Anthony went to his room and they spent over an hour talking, laughing and crying with him. Sensing that he was getting tired and needed his rest, they got up to go. Before they could leave though, Arthur spoke up.

“Please, I need to speak to Anthony alone. If that’s okay with you.”

Not wanting to deprive either of them of this moment, she said of course it’s okay and left the two of them alone.

She sat in the foyer for about half an hour before Anthony came out of his grandfather’s room. He was holding a large envelope that he clutched to his chest. Assuming it was some type of family heirloom, she didn’t press him to find out what it was.

The only thing she knew was that from that point on, her son was never the same.

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