Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 23
Three weeks later, my phone, sitting on my night table, beeped loudly enough that before I could grab it, Nick sat straight up in bed and yelled, “Phone!” But, actually he never really woke up and dropped back down just as quickly without missing a beat.
It was Tom, one of our security people across the street. I grabbed it, slid out of bed and hurried to the hall.
I whispered, “What?”
“Sorry to bother you, Chris, but we just got a call from Andrew. He and Aiden have been arrested and he needs someone to come down there and bail them out.”
I didn’t say anything for a few seconds just inhaled deeply. Then softly, “Fuck! What’d they do?”
“They were fighting, each other. The cop they put on the phone said it’d take a thousand bucks apiece to get em out.”
I thought about a few weeks ago when Nick and I could only scrape together forty-two bucks in actual cash, and said, “Can we charge that or does it have to be cash?”
Tom said, “It probably wouldn’t matter to them but I wouldn’t use a credit card, it’s just one more paper trail. We keep enough cash here.” Then, “You don’t have to go, we can handle it.”
“I’m going with, gimme five minutes.”
As I was getting dressed I wondered about calling my lawyer at this hour of the night and decided that given what he’d be charging me I was pretty sure he wouldn’t mind.
Leo Brown was one half of, Brown & Brown, a very small law firm that my grandfather and father both had recommended as the very best firm to handle these personal jobs, as opposed to business problems which were handled by one of the largest firms in the city. Larry said that when life got messy you didn’t necessarily want a firm with a thousand lawyers knowing all your secrets.
Leo and his brother, Harry, had both been with some of the largest law firms in New York, Washington DC and Chicago, but in the end, Milwaukee was home.
I had to smile because Leo answered on the second ring. He just said, “What happened, Chris?” Apparently, no one called him with good news.
“My brothers were fighting and got arrested. We were just going to go get em out.”
“Define fighting. Street fighting, bar fighting, clubbing to death a little old lady who fought back fighting?”
I sighed. “Fighting each other at their apartment. Nothing else that I know of.”
“Where they got em?”
“I dunno, their apartment is about a mile south of UWM so there, I guess.”
“Okay, do not go near that police station! I will get them and take em wherever you want. Where do you want them?”
“Ah, just back to their apartment. I just need to tell them how I feel about all this.”
He laughed and said, “I can imagine. Okay, go there and they will be brought to you. Not by me, but I got people for that.”
I said, “What about…”
He finished my question. “Publicity? Well, you can’t always guarantee nobody will pick up on it, but I got ways. Let’s not borrow trouble.”
The weather was horrible but not as bad as it had been after the blizzard of three days ago and most of the streets had been cleared of snow. Early February was the Midwest at it’s very worst and the dirty slush and snow made the city feel like a bad hangover with crappy lighting.
We pulled up to the building and I said, “Well, I guess we wait.”
Tom said, “I got a key. You could go upstairs, I’ll send em up. The eighth floor.” He handed me the key. “I’m figuring you want to talk to them alone, right?”
I nodded. “Witnesses will make it worse. Better if I kill em privately.”
Their apartment was a train wreck. Too bad really because when you looked past the chaos you could tell the Eli had done her usual great job of decorating. I went into the kitchen, pushed some broken drinking glasses lying on the floor with my foot and stepped over a microwave oven that was lying on the floor with its door mostly torn off and made a pot of coffee. I had no real idea of how long this was going to take but Tom had told me he’d call when they showed up.
I got the call just as I was finishing my coffee and walked over to the living room window and stared out. The apartment faced the south and looked out over the city. Under the right circumstances it’d be a great view.
I heard the door and then the twins walked slowly into the room and stood there in silence. They were a mess. Both of their shirts were ripped and Aiden’s right pant leg below the knee was almost completely torn off. Andrew’s right eye was swollen and dark. Aiden was shaking with a combination of fatigue and nerves. I guess I should be surprised at how fucked up they looked, but frankly, this has happened before, probably six or eight times.
I looked at them and said softly, “I made coffee.”
Andrew inhaled heavily and said defiantly, “I’m gonna take a shower.”
I shook my head and said, “Not yet. This won’t take long, get some coffee.” Andrew cursed under his breath all the way to and from the kitchen while Aiden stayed silent and kept his head down.
When they got back I looked at Andrew and said, “What happened?”
Andrew glared at me. “Nothin happened.” Inwardly I had to laugh, my brother was nothing but balls forward.
I looked at Aiden and raised an eyebrow. A few seconds later he said softly, “I met a girl.”
I sighed, shook my head and looked at Andrew. “The only way to deal with this is for you to get a different apartment.”
Both of their heads jerked up and Andrew said, “What the fuck?”
I shook my head and pointed at Aiden but talked to Andrew. “For some fucking reason you can’t seem to understand that he’s not gay and until today he didn’t want to push the point. Do you have any fucking idea how much damage shit like this can do to me, not to mention our fathers and grandfathers? And if you don’t understand how much grief our dads can rain down on you then you haven’t been paying attention.”
Aiden put his head in his hands and groaned. Andrew glared at me and almost shouted, “It’s nobody’s fucking business! Everybody needs to just pay attention to their own fucking lives!”
I stared at him and shook my head slowly. “Really? You know how much money this family has invested in this project in the warehouse district? How much will have invested in these medical buildings and the amount of this deal with Burlington Metal Fasteners? Then it hits the papers that maybe the family is not all that it should be, that they’re sometimes violent, or unstable, or whatever. And that’s not to even mention the problems this could cause your wanting to be a doctor. You are who you are and you take the good with the bad. But if you think your business is gonna stay just your business then you’re crazy.”
Aiden sat up and seemed to shake it all off. He took a deep breath and said, “He needs to stay here.” He saw the look on my face and said, “Don’t worry, it’s over, nothing else will happen. I won’t let it, but we need to be together for him to get past this.”
I looked at Andrew who was sitting there with a stunned look on his face. I said, “Is that true?”
After about ten seconds he slowly nodded and sighed. “It’s over. I’ll make it over.”
I waited a few seconds then said, “Okay.” Then, “The other thing is that Oliver is not to know about this. He’s had enough violence in his life and he needs you two to be something that he can count on, not his crazy uncles who beat the shit out of each other. It’s time for both of you to grow the fuck up.”
I slid back into bed exhausted at three-thirty. Nick pulled me over to him and kinda layed on top of me. The warmth and weight of his body felt so good.
He muttered in my ear, “They still alive?”
I nodded against his arm and said, “Mostly.”
He whispered softly, “Sleep.”
Later, after Nick had gone to work, Oliver and Puppy came running in and jumped on the bed.
Oliver plopped down next to me and said, “You gotta get up it’s seven o’clock!”
I barely opened my eyes, checked out the clock and Oliver’s eager face. I could feel Puppy behind me. He had one paw on my shoulder.
I exhaled slowly and said, “You eat?”
He nodded. “Mrs. Palmer left me those brown rolls.” Mrs. Palmer was the lady that cooked for us. Mostly we never saw her and she also made stuff for the security guys.
I said, “Brown rolls?”
“The crunchy kind with stuff in’em.”
I smiled and asked, “Croissants? The curved rolls?”
“I guess. Mine had strawberry jamb in it.”
“Did you shower yet?”
“I gotta do it now. Then I gotta get dressed in the number two clothes.”
Gavin, who had bought most of Oliver’s clothes for us had taken to arranging his clothes by day and then hanging them up with a number for each day. Today was Tuesday so it was number two. It was a genius move on Gavin’s part.
Oliver had already eaten so he just sat there and watched me. When I walked past him he pointed at my boxer briefs and said, “How come I can’t sleep in those?”
I smiled at him. “We already talked about this.”
He sighed. “I know. How old do I gotta be before I can sleep in my underwear?”
“Ten. I read somewhere that that’s the best time. By then you’ll be cranken out a lotta heat and it won’t be a problem.” My answer was totally made up.
I dabbed a bit of butter on the last piece of my croissant, shoved it in my mouth and said, “We gotta go. Jump in the shower and put on number two and when I get dressed I’ll check on you.”
After my shower I dressed in a deep gray suit with a blue shirt and gold tie. Oliver came running in as I was slipping on my suit coat.
He grabbed my arm and said, “Do I look okay?”
I looked at him, turned him around and finally said, “Perfect. If there was an award for how six-year-old boys should look you’d get it.”
He said, “I look nice?”
At work I called Jack from my office and said, “The other day I tried to give Oliver some cash in case there was an emergency, and between Nick and I we had forty-two bucks. Can you have somebody get me a few thousand?” Then I thought of the fact that we wouldn’t have had enough to bail out the twins and changed my request. “Better make that five thousand.”
Before I went to my office I went to see how the charitable trust offices were coming. I was sure that Aiden wouldn’t be there yet because he would still be at the college. There were two carpenters finishing up the walls and crates of desks and file cabinets were piled up. I turned around and walked to my office.
My secretary stopped me and said, “Mr. Stahl called from the farm, he’d like to talk to you. Apparently, the man that owns the farm just north of yours is interested in selling and he wondered what he should do.”
I got Armin on the phone and said, “What’s up with that farm?”
Armin, as usual was all business. “Well, it’s for sale. Mr. Eddington called me because he thought you might be interested. His wife died last year and, basically, she was the one who cared most about the farm. He’s has an accounting firm in the city. He thought because it adjoined our farm on the north that you might want to own it. It’s very large, bigger even than this one.”
I asked, “How many acres?”
“It’s two sections. That’s twelve hundred and eighty acres. It’s big. Of course, you wouldn’t have to farm all of it or even any of it if you didn’t want to, you could rent it out.”
“How are the buildings?”
“A large house, like yours. She and Mrs. Morgan were friends so you can imagine. There are also barns because she was into horses, but the rest of it was a grain operation. They’ve got a lot of grain storage and drying capability.”
I laughed and said, “I guess that’s a good thing.”
He laughed and said, “Yes, if you’re into grain, that’s a good thing.”
“Did he mention price?”
“He didn’t say. The land itself is probably worth six or seven thousand an acre just as farm land and the grain storage, grain dryers and equipment buildings, maybe another two and a half million. If the machinery goes with it, the tractors and combines etc. you could be talking another million or two or even three depending on whether it’s new or not. But you need someone that knows more about it than me to have a look at it.”
I said, “You know someone?”
“Not off hand but I can find out who’d be good.”
“Armin, I’m going to transfer you back to my secretary, give her all the names and phone numbers she’ll need for me to call this guy. Then I’ll get back to you later. Oh, do we have people who can manage all this farm land?”
“Oh yes. David Hamill runs all the traditional farming aspects of the property here. Yes, I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem.”
I transferred him to my secretary and then called my dad. I explained the situation to him.
After telling him all I knew I said, “So whadya think?”
Alex sighed and said, “Well, that land is only a half hour or so from the city. So if the farming aspect didn’t work you could develop that land into a high end housing development with one acre lots. A thousand lots would be probably fifty million bucks, maybe more depending on how you did it. In a way farming is a way to hold that land for the future.”
I said, “So what should I offer?”
“If he’s an accountant he’ll know what it’s worth. Just feel him out. Or, if necessary, trust your judgement. But he’ll expect to give you time, then call Denver. Carlementi has people that’ll know exactly what it’s worth.”