Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Tough Ride (Conclusion)

V. Judgement
     “OK, Larry, have you managed to bring the court the papers we were seeking?
     “You will hand them over. I will order a brief recess.” The Judge nodded to the  bailiff, and banged his gavel.
    “Court will stand in recess for one half hour. I am going to review the material brought by Attorney Betinsky. You will reconvene here at 11:15.”
    Betinsky walked back to the defense table and handed over a manila folder with a sheaf of documents inside. As he did so, he noticed that the staredown between Tunny and Delgado was almost at flashpoint. He gave a nod to the bailiff.
    The bailiff walked over to Tunny and gave him a stiff poke to the shoulder.”Judge says you can recess now. Come back at the proper time. Delgado smirked. Again the power felt like it was on his terms. But the Bailiff strode up to him and took him by the wrist. “You wait in here in the holding cell, sir.” Now Delgado was separated by stone walls and steel bars. And nobody was listening.”
     Judge Fisk looked over the papers which Betinsky had brought. He didn’t see anything related to risk insurance. Surely a man like Waldfetter ought to have come up with more decent business practices, with all that dough he made off the community. But so far as he looked, there was nothing. Certainly he had the employees covered with decent health plans, (now that the government was enforcing it) but he had not been so willing to go so far as to provide any help for situations such as these. Waldfetter would have to stand trial. So would the kid, but in his case as it was accidental, involuntary manslaughter.
     He decided to offer bail to both of them. The magnate would need to post four million. The kid, he could set that somewhat lower, say, $50,000. And if he tried to run, which he wouldn’t, not with three kids in school, then he could bench-press him.
     At the appointed hour, the bailiff opened the courtroom for the spectators and participants. Tunny decided to sit on the other side of the room, since they were not going to be calling him back. The Judge came in and when all had been seated again, took off his glasses, wiped them with a handerkerchief concealed beneath his robes, and made his announcement.
    “ I have reviewed the documents provided by the defense. The evidence cleary shows to me a history of contemptuous presumption on the part of the Waldfetter company. Therefore I am requiring that Mr. Waldfetter post a bond of four million dollars”…
     Leighton Waldfetter, who for the most part had sat almost disinterested through this entire session, jumped from his chair, his face quite flushed. “I protest this! Our company can’t take that much away at this time! We’re not even into the holidays!” But the bailiff pointed a finger at him, and that prompted a “Sit down!” from Davenport Fisk.
   The judge continued. “Shutup, Mr. Waldfetter, and  don’t give me any of that crap, I know you can afford it. You are going to be charged with the following things. One, corporate malfeasance in not providing risk insurance for customers of your amusement park. Two, gross negligence leading to gross bodily harm on four counts. And Three: conspiracy to defraud the State of California by not providing such insurance and operating an unsafe place of work.   You will be held until bond has been posted. “
    “In the case of Mr Delgado, I recommend he post a bond of $50,000 and will face trial on four counts of involuntary manslaughter. If you attempt to leave the county, Mr Delgado, you will be subject to arrest and detention. As a young father I know I can depend on you to be responsible. Please do what you can to post bail, so you can return to caring for your daughters.”
     “The case will be sent to the Superior Court and clients and attorneys will have time to prepare their cases. We will reconvene on September 17th of this year. This court is now dismissed.”

      Tunny felt a little better, but couldn’t resist the need to upchuck into the wastebasket when he got home. “I don’t see why Waldfetter just didn’t go out and purchase jetpacks for all the people to begin with. Oh- perhaps,  the customers would’ve just… flown away… with them...”
       Leighton Waldfetter posted bail eventually, though he had to sweat it out for a few days. Through an intermediary, Delgado too found some means of gathering his own bail.  Tunny got his workman’s compensation and disability claims approved and extended indefinitely. As the trial was a slam dunk, the Chavez family (Bobby’s mother, at least) received an award of nine million dollars. It really had been one tough ride.

Follow Tunny as he travels to Paris in Bus of Fools at

Monday, December 26, 2011

One Tough Ride (Part Two)

III. Investigation
   Tunny arrived at the NTSB hearing a feeling little better than he had in the morning while at court. He had attemted to soothe his stomach with some Tums he bought from a vending machine in the lobby outside the Civic Auditorium where the investigational hearings were being conducted. These were not exactly working. In fact the acid in his throat and the chunks of Tum were mingling and refusing to cooperate with each other. Every moment he felt a new lump and half-swallow in his throat. This was exceptionally uncomfortable.
    Because he knew they would call on him, he took a seat at the front of the arena facing a table of tired, weary, but professional-looking investigators. He scanned their faces from left to right. There was one whom seemed most interested in him, perhaps he had mistaken Tunny for the kid Frank they were out looking for. Tunny turned his eyes to the far right. A female panel member was filing her nails. She took a sip from a glass of water at  her side (the panel were all equipped with a pitcher and indvidual water glasses) as the man on the far left began to speak.
     “We’re here today to covene an joint official investigation of the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aereonautics Administration into the accident of April 7, 2012, at Waldfetter Amusement Grotto in the city of San Bernardino California. The purpose of this panel is to ascertain the cause of this amusement park fiasco, the end result of which were the fatalities of four California citizens. We are empowered with the ability to request all and any documents held by parties in question which may be applicable to the speedy and satisfactory jugement of fault, if any, and to recommend legal actions, if any should be necessary, against all and any parties involved which manifest gross negligence.”
    A panelist in the center, who appeared older and the most world-weary of the group, now read from a printed page.
    “The Waldfetter Amusement Grotto runs an attraction kown as Fly Your Own Car. This attraction is registered as US Patent # AUG 1284573459 and is a remote controlled air vehicle comprised of two parts- a moveable airframe, which contains a computerized programmed guidance system, and the second part being any automobile which is secured to this airframe. We have ascertained from the blueprint provided by the Patent Office that this plane bears a locking system comprised of screw-type bolts that attach to the fender and side panels of the automobile and a bottom set of clip fasteners which attach to the undercarraige. These fasteners and bolts, in the incident in question, were most obviously left unsecured. It is in the interest of assessing liability that we have subpoenaed a material eyewitness, an employee of the company, and are seeking to contact another employee who was charged with the operation of the ride. This other employee, so far as we can tell, has not made voluntary contact with this panel, and we are requesting that the District Attorney of this county prepare warrants for his posible arrest if he does not show before this panel as it has convened for the time period we are concerned enough to be visiting this fair city.”
    The fourth member mentioned that they were already thoroughly done with comparing the plans and patent designs and blueprints. What would remain would be to call someone in from the contractor who built the ride for Waldfetter. They had been to the site. They had made a preliminary decision- that there had been operator error. And so it came that the obvious would be to call the witness at hand. All eyes were now on Tunny.
He felt the Tums reflux surging again. But he gathered his courage and resolve and somehow through a haze of adrenalin made it to the panel’s witness seat.
    There was the buzz and the pffft and zzzzzr of flashlights again, from the photographers who sat and kneeled around the edges of the gallery. And then he heard the panelists tossing him questions. All he could manage was to begin speaking when he heard their introductory.
    “I’ll tell you what happened, at least to me anyway. I was sweeping. I heard the countdown over the loudspeakers. I looked up and saw the plane going up and when it got up high, all of a sudden it tilted over and the car came flying down. I mean I saw it drop. Because it was gonna blow up I figured I would duck. So I did. And a piece of it stuck in my shoulder or went through mostly and that’s why I am in this thing. Sling.
I got up cause I didn’t even notice it really, and ran to see like all them other people. I got there and the whole thing was mashed up. I already told people this morning at court was it like. A paramedic fixed me up he said there was nothing he could do for them folks in the car but I was gonna be OK, he’d see to it. Then he told me apply for workman’s comp. So I hope I get it. After the doctor dude helped me I turned around and walked over to the control booth looking for Frank. I didn’t see him. I don’t know him too well, I think maybe he barely gave me more than twenty “good mornings” the whole time I been there. I looked into the control room again and nobody else was there either. But there was Frank’s hat and stuff. It seemed he just took off and split.”

IV. Apprehension
The panel took his word for it, and said they would refer to the court testimony overnight.
They dismissed Tunny. Once more he walked his way out through a crowd of flashbulbs and stumbled his way home.
   Overnight he dreamed that the street he lived on had been flooded out by a huge failure at the sewage control plant at the far end of his street. Water two feet high swamped everything. He grabbed his ghetto blaster and whatever clothes he could salvage out of his dressers. As he managed to wade his way out of the house, the alarm clock rang and he woke up. Another day at the courthouse was to happen.
    Same sort of scene, he stood up with everybody else for Judge Fisk. This time however, the Judge was not going to be calling him to take the stand again. Instead, he looked toward the front tables and there was Frank, along with another lawyer, who had joined Waldfetter’s lawyer. Waldfetter picked his nails with a small file and looked both nonchalant and annoyed.
    “We have actually made some progress I see, Bob. You have managed to apprehend the chief suspect in this case.”
   Flynn looked up, a puppydog’s eager smile on his face. “Yes your honor. It wasn’t all that hard. The suspect left so much evidence on the scene that we were able to easily pick out the pieces. It turned out he had a flyer for one of those “DJ rap-rave” events he left on the control panel. It was dated the night of the incident. We went back to the nightclub they held it at and over the surveillance camera tapes from the front door. It was not hard to find out his name, he actually was someone that the owners knew. They identified him as an employee of Waldfetter’s, that he came there often, and so we checked his name and ID photo on Waldfetter’s employee records. There was a match. We picked him up around seven o’clock last night. He’s been a guest of the Sherrif’s office ever since.”
“Do you wish to proceed with qeustioning of Mr Bachlund or the new subject?”
   “I think we will cut to the chase and so, without further ado, the court calls Mr. Frank Delgado.”
    Frank Delgado, smirkng and hearing an audience’s applause going off in his head at the very mention of his name, slowly drew himself up and walked to the witness box. He slumped into the chair and looked toward the judge. “State your name for the ourt, oung man”
    “Frank. Frank Delgado. I work for Waldfetter’s. Ten years almost now. Yeh, I know why I am here. I fucked up…”
    “Young man! I would remind you such language is not permitted in my courtroom.”
     “Right. Well I messed up.”
    “Proceed, Mr Flynn.”
    Flynn took a pen from his portfolio pocket and a yellow notepad, got up, and walked to his usual spot near the center of the courtroom. He drew himself up as tall as possible. There was no such corresponding gesture on the part of Delgado.
    “Mr. Delgado, please do, tell us what you did that afternoon, before the incident we are concerned with?”
  “Let’s see. We had two rides go on in the morning. Those went off like always. I buckles them in and I ships ‘em off. No problems.”
    Tunny grabbed at his pocket for another Tum. He popped it into his mouth, and glared back at Delgado. It was his fault he had his arm in a sling. His fault he was losing pay and working hours. Delgado looked back at Tunny and seemed to chuckle to himself. But the grist was on the grindstone. Flynn had him by a collar and was not going to let off easy.
    “Mr. Delgado, what were you doing when the accident happened?”
     “The truth is, I walked out to get a pack of gum from the vending machine just in back of the control shack. I was peeling off the wrapper when I heard this weird sound and then the explosion. It startled me so much, I just walked off the job and didn’t look back. I’m sorry.”

    “Well you ought to be, son. Four people are dead because you took your mind off of things, apparently. And the good name of your boss-” (he paused for a second with one eye to Waldfetter just to make sure he got the idea…) “is now in jeopardy, perhaps even the future of the company you work for. And at least one other person is suffering for your casual selfishness.” He didn’t have to say who. Delgado and Tunny were now locked into a vicious staredown.
    Now Tunny could swallow his Tums.

     “Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Delgado, that something had not been done correctly?”
     “Well, obviously I guess I left something out when I had them back their car in. I guess I forgot to finish up once I put the bolts on. Usually there’s a strap, and I hook it to the driveshaft. It’s supposed…” (he started choking) “… it’s supposed… to be insurance.”
    “Ah yes, that inconvenient word again. Insurance.” Flynn couldn’t keep himself from shooting another stankeye at Waldfetter. “So now we are, indeed, at the heart of the matter. No further questions your honor.” Delgado got off the witness stand. His lawyer (and the bailiff) made it clear he was going nowhere.
   “As there are no further questions for the witnesses then I wish to ask if counsel for the defence would like to proceed.”
    “Indeed. Please to recall Mr. Tunny Bachlund to the stand.”
    Tunny felt a lot better about himself now. He was beginning even to show the start of a smile. This was rather an irritant to Betinsky. He jabbed right on ahead.
     “Tunny. Tunny. That’s a kind of a funny name, isn’t it. Did your parents get some kind of thrill after naming you for a fish?”
    “You will desist from this line of questioning, Mr. Betinsky! The court is not amused.” Davenport Fisk was turning a subtle shade of lobster.
   Wearily, Betinsky shook it off. “Mr. Bachlund, how well do you know Mr. Delgado?”
    “Hardly at all.”
    “Did you know he is the father of three himself, and divorced, and attempting to put his own life together, working as hard as he can to provide for them?”
   “Nope.Can’t say I know much about him at all.”
   “Yet you seem to have had some kind of prior contacts beyond just what you have told us.”
   “Maybe so. There was one time he got all pompous on me about how I was just the janitor and he was so much more important because he was a Ride Super. I told him buzz off- it was me that made sure the friggin’ johns were swabbed out. A dirty john is the bottom line on decline in park atendance. So I always made sure it was nice for all the customers. The rides will come and go. Looks like maybe this one too.”
   “I object our honor. Witness is speaking above his rank and authority.” Betinsky came up closer to the witness stand. But Davenport Fisk was on the ball himself.
   “Mr. Betinsky, this is a courtroom where I honor the opinions of witnesses. Clerk will note that the defence was baiting witness.”
     “Mr. Bachlund, how are you so aware of the profit margin of the Grotto?”
     “Well I read the business section, Mr… Betinsky. Never know how long I might be working there. Have to keep my eye open on anything better that might come up. I seen how the Grotto and all the  other stuff comes from the genius of the Boss makes a tidy sum. Someday maybe I’ll get a business of my own and leave the custodian stuff behind”
    “Well I wish you luck, Mr .Bachlund. No further questions, Your Honor.”
    Judge Fisk now requested a discussion at the bench with all three attorneys.
   To Be Continued...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Tough Ride (Part One)

I. Incident
     Tunny Bachlund was minding his own business just doing his duty. As one of the service staff of Leighton Waldfetter’s Amusement Grotto- just off Interstate 215 in San Bernardino- he had what he thought was a simple, pleasant job. All it actually required was that he go round about the place sweeping up cigarette butts candy wrappers and the worst of it, maybe swabbing out a bathroom now and then.

     So it was with some horror and chagrin that he should have witnessed what some said was an impossible thing, a terrible accident, no doubt, but for certain, very awful. That was because on this particular day Tunny watched with his own eyes the death of an entire family.

     The Fly Your Own Car ride was perhaps their most popular attraction nowadays. It was somewhat ingenious of Leighton Waldfetter to have come up with it, relying as it did on current technology to provide a wholesome occasion for the whole family. It was quite simple.

     A flying frame- two propeller engines and a stabilizing rear wing, as well as a set of main wings with flaps operated by an automated computer program- held an automobile (of choice) in its belly. The windshield and front seat of the car served as the plane’s cockpit. A partial roller coaster chute (decommissioned from former use) served as a launchramp. Running on wheels attached to the airframe, the entire contraption got an initial ignition at the base of the ramp- and launched itself up into the air to a level of about 600 feet. At that point, the computer program took over, and using vectored points on the ground, brought the car safely down after a short, 25 second fligt experience.

     At least that was how it usually worked or was supposed to. The entire system had been examined and given the apporval both of the NTSD and the FAA and even had passed a Governor’s Safety Commision review. Mr Waldfetter was releived that finally after 15 years, he had a potentially moneymaking amusement on hand. And the public loved it.

    Most especially, perhaps, was it loved by the Bobby Chavez family of Pasadena. On this particular day, they had come- four of them anyway- Bobby, his wife Marie, and their two sons, Oscar and Presto (Davis) - to drive Bobby’s 1973 Camaro up, out, and above the San Berdoo metropolis. They had come at least seven or eight times before, each time,  the boys in the back seat got a little more antsy with their Dad.

    “Make it go higher Dad! Make it go higher!”

    When Bobby tried to eplain to them that he could not that this was the way it just was, they would get deflated and cringe to themselves in the backseat, until the machine had landed them again on the short landing strip beside the freeway.

     But that was seven or eight times before today.

     After settling their car on the airframe and the attendants giving the thumbs up and “ready for takeoff” announcements that were broadcast all about the park on tinny loudspeakers, the ignition button was pressed, and the Contraption headed skyward for what would be its final time.

    Tunny Bachlund looked up just as the car-plane hit its appogee. And then, as it began to descend, he got a terrible cramp in his stomach. He watched as the Camaro achieved gravitational inertia and plunged, devoid of airframe, noiselessly to the ground. Noiselessly except perhaps to the barely audible screams of the Chavez family, trapped inside. He hid beside a restroom wall as the car hit the ground and exploded.

   The next thing he experienced was a ripping sensation in his shoulder as a shrapnel of a car window frame tore through it. He barely paid it any mind, however, his first thoughts were of the Chavez’s and getting to them to see if there was anything he might do. He rushed to the site of the column of smoke that rose just above the nearby treeline near the center of the park.

    Dozens of other visitors that day had the exact thoughts, and soon, there were many gathered around the remains of the car. Everyone was shaking their heads, sadly, it was all too obvious there would have been no survival for the Chavezes. Someone grabbed Tunny by his other shoulder pulled him aside and told him he’d better get that arm looked at. The stranger dragged him to the park’s office- manned now by only one secretary, who had heard the noise, but had continued her typing and sipping a cup of coffee- and the stranger asked her for a first aid kit.

    Tunny’s shoulder was obviously gashed but luckily for him the shrapnel had but passed right through it. The stranger said he needed more bandage, perhaps to get him a splint (the nice secretary pulled a ruler out of her drawer, handed it to them, and continued typing) to immobilize his arm. Obviously if he tried using his arm, he’d only exacerbate the injury. It would be another several weeks before he could use the arm again. Meanwhile, the stranger suggested that he file for Workman’s Comp. And get to a hospital.

     It turned out he didn’t even need the hospital, because within a few minutes paramedics had arrived on the scene to survey the damage and attend to the Chavezes, who were now beyond anyone’s help but the angels. They patched Tunny up but good, and called for the morgue wagons. They searched thorough Bobby’s wallet for phone numbers of relatives. Luckily, Bobby had thought to leave a list of emergency contacts there for just such a situation, and it was a sad paramedic who put through the calls to Bobby’s Mom and Dad in Westlake.

II. Preliminary Hearing
     It was going to be a long day for Tunny. Not only did he have to be at the courthouse that morning for a hearing regarding Mr Waldfetter’s amusement park but he was also scheduled to appear as a material witness at the NTSB investigation to be held across town that afternoon.
     He felt more than a little nervous in the courtroom. A bailiff set the tone for the morning as he called the court to order..
    “All Rise. The Superior Court of the Sate of California for San Bernardino County is now in session, the honorable Davenport Fisk presiding. Please be seated.”

     The judge asked the clerk, a mousy blonde with thick glasses, to read out the docket.
     “This case is the State of California vs. Mr. Leighton Waldfetter, to show cause as to why Waldfetter Entertainment Systems Incorporated should not stand trial in a criminal matter of malfeasance and gross negligence in the death of four California citizens: Mr Bobby Chavez, Mrs. Mirada Chavez, and Timothy and Davis Chavez, minors”.
      Two rows up from Tunny, inside the court arena, sat Mr. Waldfetter, his attorney, and a County Prosecutor. The prosecutor called Mr. Waldfetter to the witness stand.
     “State your name.”
     “Leighton  Landcaster  Waldfetter.”
    “Motion picture director and theme park operator.”
     “Mr. Fetterwald, do you know why this hearing is being held?”
     “Indeed I do. It is a teriible tragedy.”
     “Indeed it was, a terrible tragedy. We have broughtyou here to answer for the fact that apparently your corporation holds no risk insurance regarding incidents of this kind. We have examined the state and county corporate files, and we find absolutely nothing to show such a responsibility was ever considered…”
     “Well you see, we have had an excellent safety record ever since the park began. Something like 4,000,000 visitors have been through the park since we opened in
   “And how long has the ride titled “Fly Your Own Car” been operating?”
    “About six years. We have had an average of fifteen flights per day, out of the three hundred and twenty days of the year we are open. And this is the very first such a time that an accident of this nature has occurred.”
     “Mr Waldfetter, can you tell me a little something about the corporation. What is the net worth, in your estimation, at this time, and how many shareholders do you  have?”
     “I reckon that at this point in time our net worth is on the order of about three billion dollars. Excluding debt liabilities. That includes our subsidiaries such as Waldfetter Pictures, our merchandising lines, and travel concessions.”
    The judge turned his head and asked for the prosecutor and defense attorney to come to the bench.  He spoke in a low whisper.

     “Bob, where are you going with this? I hold twenty five shares of FttW myself. I don’t think there’s a major player in this county who doesn’t in fact have apiece of Waldfetter. I suggest that you take another line of tack.” Indeed, the judge himself had made it a personal point to buy up shares of all and every corporation filing state papers in the county. He enjoyed being able to make influential remarks at stakeholder meetings.

   As the attorneys resumed their questioning, Tunny managed to have a long look at his employer. He had never been less than fiteen feet from him at any one time, now, a distance of five feet less than that separated them. Waldfetter, bristly-mustaschioed, sat in a three piece corduroy suit with his nails well-filed. He was the picture of modern success. He didn’t want to be here, and it showed. Tunny was only too glad to be sitting further back.

    The prosecutor, Bob Flynn, had been an investor of Waldfetter himself at one time. He had actually taken a beating however, when he divested, and had been considering pillorying Waldfetter for it. But he decided, if he needed to, he might just “take Waldfetter outside” to handle that matter. Meanwhile, he resumed on a different angle.

    “We have noted that the corporation does not hold risk insurance. As we are here to determine whether or not your coproration is laible for damages under state law in the untimely deaths of the Chavez family”-

   Bobby’s mother could be heard breaking into deep sobs from the back of the courtroom. She was ushered outside by a friend who had accompanied her.

     The prosecutor barely acknowledged the brief interruption and continued.
    “Because we wish to determine the liability of your corporation, we are asking that you turn over all papers related to the operation of the park as well and in particular that you provide us copies of the plans for the ride itself such as may be warranted as well as material to the concurrent Safety Board investigation.”
   Waldfetter’s attorney, a small man wearing patches on his jacket, jumped up to object.
   “Sit down, Larry” said the judge. I understand why you might object, and I overrule that”.

    Larry Betinsky had had more than his share of bad days in the courtroom of Davenport Fisk. That the judge was on a first name basis with them both was an interesting fact, for Tunny. Betinsky was hoping that he could play for time, because the ability to provide copies of the plans was going to take more than a few days.
    He noted that fact to the judge. The judge then said, “In light of time needed for preparation of these documents then, I want to move forward. Could you please call any relevant witnesses, Mr Flynn? You are excused, Mr Waldfetter”.
    “Yes, your honor we call to the stand Mr. Tunny Bachlund.”

    Tunny felt like a heap of sweat and fur as he made his way past the bar to the witness box. As he passed Waldfetter, he felt the curious burning sensation of a bug beneath a microscope. Waldfetter barely recognized Tunny. Who he might be he could barely guess. His puzzled expression spoke for itself.

   “State your name.”
  “Tunny James Bachlund.”
  “I am a custodian at Waldfetter Amusement Grotto.”
   “Mr Bachlund, how long have you worked for Mr. Waldfetter?”
    “About four years now. I been hoping for a promotion.”
    “As well you might son! Ok, please tell us, what did you see on the day in question? What were you doing, and what happened to you.”
   “I was sweeping up the side of the johns that faces away from the Fly Your Car ride.
I heard the countdown like they always do and so I looked up to watch. I think it’s a beautiful thing, to watch them things take off, fly about, and land all by themselves.”
   “You were standing near the restroom. Then what?”
    “Well, I seen the car drop from the airplane. It was sick. It’s like, I knew whoever was inside was gonna buy the farm, you know? And I don’t know why, but, I ducked behind the wall some so that when it landed maybe nothing would hit me.”
   “But of course, something did hit you.”
    “Yeh. I got stuck with a piece of window when it exploded. I knew it would.”

    “What did you do next?”
     “Well I heard the big boom, and then like everyone else I guess, I went running to go see.  It was sad. They were all a tangle, and the front end of the car had scrunched up so far it appeared Mr and Mrs Chavez had been squeezed like lemons.  And the poor kids. They were hanging out the back window like there never was one there to begin with.
Man, do I…”
    “That’s OK Tunny, I think that’s well enough. What happened then?
    “Well the paramedics came of course and they were shaking their heads, they had never seen nothing so sick, either, and they noticed my shoulder. They made me this splint and told me I was a fuckin’ lucky dude.”

    The judge peered over the edge of his seat. “Young man, you’re in my courtroom..”

    Tunny looked back to the judge and continued- “One lucky dude. I suppose I really was. The one paramedic guy goes to me, “Another seven inches to the right, kid, and you would have been instantly killed”. I guess they tell me now I can draw Workmen’s Comp for a while. They tell me I have to keep it imm- imm-“
    “Yeh, that’s it. So I have to lose work while it heals up, I suppose. Ain’t no good to fly with one wing. I need the other arm for my dustpan…”
   “No indeed it’s not” said Mr. Flynn, who shot a glare in Waldfetter’s direction as he said so. He continued.
    “Now, Mr Bachlund, are you aware of how the Fly Your Own Car attraction works?”
    “Kinda, sorta. They get the people to drive their car up to the ramp and back it into the plane part. Then it goes onto the launching ramp. A guy in the control booth hits the button and the countdown tape plays. At ‘zero’ it takes off. It has I guess a kinda computer program, it flies around by itself a bit and then it comes back down. They unbuckle the car and the people drive off. I guess it’s a pretty popular ride.”
    “You said they “unbuckle” the car. Are you aware that one of the other attendants has to make sure of this?”
    “Oh, yeh. Usually it’s this dude, Frank. I dunno, I don’t know if I saw him around that afternoon.”
    “Are you aware of his last name?”
   “Nah, I never asked.”

    Attorney Flynn turned to the Judge. “Judge Fisk, I request the power to subpoena this “Frank Doe” pending research into his identity and whereabouts.”
    Judge Fisk replied, “Permission granted. This court will stand in recess until ten AM tomorrow. Meanwhile, Attorney Betinsky will provide the court with the requested papers related to the operation of the attraction, and will provide us the identity of the possible absent witness. All are excused.”

    Fisk and Betinsky held a short conversation. Tunny walked out of the courtroom, where he was surrounded at the entrance by a mob of reporters and flashbulb photographers. They shouted questions at him. Meanwhile, behind him, Waldfetter beat a hasty escape, a portfolio shielding his face from the reporters. He dissapeared into a waiting stretch limo.
   Tunny could not stand around being hassled by all these newsmen. He barely could but put two sentences together, for the moment. The sun was hot and blazing. He was sweating even worse than before. He considered going back home to change his t-shirt and take a shower before heading for the Safety Board hearing later.

    As Tunny grumpily beat away reporters and headed back down the street to his apartment,  Flynn and Betinsky emerged from the courthouse together. They played their own way past the reporters, and headed in the opposite direction to a small café where they shared coffee and sandwiches.
    Flynn was the first to take his stance.   
   “Well, Betinsky, you had better best get all the stuff the Judge is asking for. I know he will not stand for any kind of cover up from Waldfetter.”
    “Well, don’t you think maybe he has a conflict of interest being a shareholder?”
    “No. My wife herself still has some stock in Waldfetter’s crap. No, I suppose the judge is right that kicking open that can of worms will only make getting to the bottom of things worse. And you better go catch that material witness, Frank-what-the-fuck’ses-name. If you don’t, I’ll ask Fisk to provide us a warrant for his arrest and sic the Sheriffs on him”.    

    “How is it not a conflict of interest? My client is entitled to impartiality. I know it’s odd for me to be the one to ask it, but if the judge is in any way going to bias himself, don’t you think that my client deserves someone who won’t be anything but fair?”
   “Strange of  you to be the one, indeed. But mind you,  the state is not interested in a witchhunt around shareholders, we want to get the truth about why this happened at all. Four innocent people are dead and someone is responsible and without insurance, your client is a sitting duck. Or a dead one.” Flynn leaned back smirking, took a sip of coffee, and continued.
   “The way I see it, maybe the best thing would be for Waldfetter to cut a deal. Use as the bait this Frank kid, maybe get Waldfetter to sweat it out.  My feeling is it’s all this kid’s fault, maybe,  pinning the blame where it belongs could help Waldfetter out a little. Do you really want to see a pillar of the community pilloried? Your client, I mean. Because the press are already out to have a field day, you know. Maybe he oughta cut a deal and go off on a vacation someplace, lower his profile a little bit.”
     “My client is not going to take blame nor anything lying down. If the fault is due to one of his employees, he will certainly use disciplinary action and support any judgment of the court to prosecute further.  We are going to fight this idea of yours to bring any summary judgment matters about insurance to a foregone conclusion.”
   “Of course not, Betinsky, you have fees to raise. But in the interest of justice…”
   “In the interest of justice I request that we end this discussion right away. I am headed to the Waldfetter offices to look up all that stuff. We will see you in court tomorrow.”

    Betinsky brushed the crumbs from his sandwich off his necktie and left the café. Flynn sat at the table for about ten minutes more, watching the passing sidewalk.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Broken Heart of Dale Holloway

Dale Holloway stood staring at the vast hole in his apartment wall. The hole had been created the night before, when his lover, common-law wife, and roommate Suzanne had flung a large cast iron skillet against it. Unbeknownst to either of them, the cheap fiberboard that was all that separated their apartment from the one next door, was indeed flimsy and cheap. And so, the fifteen inch wide gash (along with the twenty inch long vertical tear that accompanied it) left little to the imagination.

     One could see right into the neighbor’s dwelling. And while Dale didn’t care a fig for his neighbors, nor, any longer, for Suzanne, for that matter, he did care about his standing with the landlord. If he didn’t manage to call her first, it could be certain that Suzanne would, and that the story would have something of a reverse twist to it.

     So it was with great dread that he called the landlady and left a message on her answering machine.

     “Mrs. Plastigo? I am afraid there has been a terrible accident at our apartment. You might want to come see us about it, right away, just as soon as you can. We have been lucky that there has been nothing so far to cause you any bad feelings, but I am hoping once you come see and allow us to explain this you will surely understand. Dale Holloway, Apartment 9B, 791 Judah Street, 415-752-8209.”

     But Dale was not about to get out of this all so easily. Suzanne had preceded him in awaking that morning, had thrown as many of her possessions as she cared to into her suitcase, and fled with the dawn, leaving only a note on the dining table. The dining table where they had shared numerous fine home made dinners, bottles of wine, where they had struggled over their dual bills, student loans, and car payments. Where Dale had begun to write the great novel he thought would one day bring them both fame, acclaim, and steady income.

     The note read:

You stuckup, hopeless, helpless little boy. I have tried for six years now to make this work. When we started off, you seemed to me to be the kind of man I might be happy with forever. All this time I have given you everything of my heart and soul. And now, you have decided, I just have to be thrown under the bus, so you can run off and fuck your dainty new little dollymop. I am sick of this! I wanted so much for us, so much that you will never understand now, so much that we shared that now doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. You go and find your happiness with her. I am sick of giving all I could of myself to your stupid, vain, and self-indulgent fantasy. What am I, a squeeze-doll?
I have had it, Dale. I am taking some of my stuff now and will be back for the rest next week. Don’t you dare try to find me, trace me, stalk me or in any manner annoy me again.
I loved you.
     Dale had read the note, sat down on the couch with a sigh, fixed a cup of coffee, and shrugged. At least he knew that Lydia, his new love, would not have such a hard appraisal of him. For Lydia, he was new as a flower in spring, a fresh May-lamb, a kitten to cuddle. No, Suzanne had had her day. And last night, she had had her night.

     Of course, he could see some of the reasons she had gone ballistic. It never so much happened that he had met Lydia on a pure accident than Suzanne had become jealous of what (at the moment) had been only a beginning of a platonic friendship. But as Suzanne’s suspicions grew, then, so did Dale’s interest in Lydia. The fascination of the Other held him. It would be difficult to restrain himself. Impossible, actually.

     Most of Dale’s buddies understood. Half of them were caught in what he thought were similar situations. Or they were trying to get into them, somehow. Many of them were the sort of pseudo-hipsters who hung around the Zeitgeist bar and rode single-speed fixed gear bikes, and fancied themselves existential anarchists. Dale hung on the fringes with the, but somehow, his secure job with the bank kept most of them at arms length except the occasions he felt flush enough to buy the gang drinks.

     He had left the majority of his better buds behind, back on the east coast in Carolina, before he came west to go to college (how is it that the Academy of Art has the reputation the SF Art Institute once held?) Dave matriculated to the Institute after two years at the Academy- he was hungry for real ideas, real teachers, real collegial profundity. All he had picked up at the Academy was a little bit of pixel animation and drafting. He could have gotten that in high school in Carolina. Once he had graduated, he lucked out when a friend gave him a job lead as a teller at the Wells Fargo up in the Haight. It was a job that allowed him a lot of leeway- the branch managers were usually out at lunch for three of the eight working hours, so Dale got to do a lot of web-surfing, one of the nice perks . The other was the bank’s proximity to the nightclub up the block- where he had met Suzanne, one foggy morning –now another world away.

     So he had to think up something to say that would get him off the hook. Of course he ought to blame all of it on Suzanne, but then, he thought, maybe her wrath would overflow if the landlady, Mrs. Plastigo, decided she’d file charges. Maybe she’d even file charges on him! Perish the thought.
     So he decided to blame the entire thing on Suzanne. We had a fight. She threw that darn thing so fast and nearly killed me. I was lucky enough to duck, first off. And she’s left me. I suppose I should find a new roommate, too. I don’t see how I can do otherwise.
I am very sorry about this…

     But when Mrs. Plastigo arrived, and heard his story, he was almost shocked to see it went over so well. Mrs Plastigo winked at him. “We can get this out of the way in a few hours. I will have the maintenance man come over right away.” She winked. “These things happen!” she said. She said it with such a brevity that Dale realized he had little need to fear her any  longer, but all the more reason to trust. So he could keep the apartment.
     Now, about a roommate… Lydia?  Of course, it was his very first choice, or thought, however, he didn’t know if she’d be all too willing to take him up on cohabiting quite so suddenly. After all they had only met three weeks ago, and had been hanging out at Zeitgeist the entire time, except for one afternoon when Dave had called her up and asked her to meet him- at the place he had met Suzanne, for a lunch. After all, being so closely situated to the bank, well, it was logical.
     It was also another way of unconsciously breaking his bonds with Suzanne, although he barely acknowledged it.

     He could take a little time, however, he was not quite in a hurry to grab another roommate. Perhaps he could for a short time, cherish the quietude of his own digs for once, again. At least today he could play his own guitar, without offending the rock star who lived next door. Dale was probably more one of those sorts of folks who can‘t bear to see others succeed at things he’s not so hot at- he had made a bad name for himself in the building (at least, with Mr. Roxtar) by banging on his door the first night he heard  Roxtar practicing. Roxtar loved to turn it up, around 7 at night, just when he and Suzanne might want to be eating dinner.
 “Turn that music down!”
     Roxtar opened the door, his black shades drawn low over his nose. “Talking to me?”
    “Yeh. Could you turn that music down? If you call that music, that is…”
     “Well, we’ll see, OK? I got a right to play until ten o’clock. I know my rights, jack.”
     “Dale. It’s Dale. Dale Holloway.”
    “Um, sure, dude. Like I’ll be forgetting that anytime soon.”
   Roxtar made sure Dale had scooted back under his own doormat before he closed the door, shaking his head. “Wonder what sort of bug crawled up that cat’s ass this morning. Shee-it.”
     Dale owned a nice, cherry red Gibson 335 he had bought with savings from the bank job. Well, disposable income, lets say. At $1500, plus another $800 for his dual-plex Marshall amp, he had tossed a good two grand into his guitar jones, as well as another thousand into effects. His next problem (the same problem he had had since forever) was to find people who wanted to play with him. If he thought being a banker had anything to do with that, he was probably right.
     And it wasn’t like Dale was a pure beginner, just that, he had never put the time and effort that a more serious musician and performer (like his erstwhile neighbor) might. His one garage band fizzled in his junior ear in high school- his father forbid them use of the garage after Dale’s buddies had been caught huffing solvents one afternoon when his Dad arrived home unexpectedly. Not only was Dale grounded, and his friends forbidden to practice, but the word got round that Dale’s father was just not cool. So by extension, the other band members decided, neither was Dale.
    Yet he had his art to solace him through the next few years. Every now and then, he’d go through his older canvasses, hem and haw and ponder them, and think of another idea he could work on. He was probably a better painter than he was a guitar player. But then, there were things that sound was good for that a canvas brush and paints just couldn’t work through at all.
     That night, Dale dreamed he was having lunch- a big fat turkey sandwich- on the side of a tall financial district building, when a skyhook from a tall construction crane hooked him by the belt and speedily hoisted him two hundred feet above the city streets. He had to yell and shout and scream for a full two minutes before he got the attention of the crane operator. By that time, a crowd of dozens had collected at the street below. The skyhook let him off on the top floor- luckily he could walk through the interior of the building (about eight stories) to get back to the street. And his sandwich, dang it, got left up there on the platform.
     Now he was going to get together with Lydia and discuss her possibly moving in. He decided to meet up with her at the little club where he met her and where he proposed that Suzanne move in with him as well. He figured he’d have good luck.

When Lydia showed up, she was somewhat preoccupied. Long auburn hair and big brown eyes, half curious, half languid. She liked Dale, but was so far, not convinced of much. If he were to begin this attack on her defenses he would need to begin by showing his trustworthiness… to her.
    “I had to take the 72 because there’s no 7 after ten” . She ordered a coffee and brought it back to the table. Dale couldn’t keep his eyes off her, but when he could, he’d stare down at the tiles and consider how much more he liked her than Suzanne, all things considered, anyway. 
   The big brown eyes flickered and blinked. “I’ve been thinking,” she said. Dale steeled himself for whatever was coming next. “I’ve been thinking, maybe, even though I’ve been going out with you a while, and you say things are kind of over with your friend Suzanne-
I’ve been thinking, I kind of what to get some space so I can thin about everything, myself. My family want me to come home – Mom is sick and all, and Dad has been trying to get me to split this City ever since I showed up- and my sister wants me to help her on her little farm, and-“
    Dale cut in. “Lydia, there is something I wanted to say to you for weeks. But now I can. I have this room available… you could move in and we could share the rent and you could see if we could really, you know, work out by being together…”
    “But how can I possibly when-“
    “Look, it’ll be easy. You get one half of the place and I pay all the bills. You can come and go as you like, we just chill, you know? We can hang at The 'Geist or we can go to flicks and shit. And maybe you can help me with my band…”
    “What band?”
   Dale hesitated. Indeed, what band? He’d have to start working on that one soon, too. These days at the bank he had his hands full. There was a lot of time that he would spend staring out the window at Haight Street and the different shades of lazy he could see reflected in the passerby only riled him. He’d show them all, one day, he would.
   “Um, the band that I’m starting. I’m going to call it “Regenerated Unresponsiveness.”
    “Or what about, Unregenerated Responsiveness- seems like all I am getting.”
    Ooops. He could see now that Lydia was going to be a little bit harder nut to crack. And in the meantime, then, he really ought to try to start a band. He would call it, Vegetative Redundancy Slip. Or maybe Albatross and the Heavy Links. “We play sausage-rock.” Or…
     The flashing and blinking of Lydia’s big brown eyes brought him back to earth.
   “Um, sorry, I got distracted for a minute.” He looked at his watch. Was there still time to save this idea before Lydia had completely shot it full of holes? Her own needs of course would take precedence in the situation. But Dale was never the type to take no for an answer. This was probably a big reason Suzanne was now history, too.
     “You should think about it. I think we’d be great.”
     Lydia, however, was good at keeping her inner thoughts to herself. If she liked Dale, it really wasn’t as if she were in love with him just yet, either. He’d have to do a little thinking about things and just what he was getting into. She might not enjoy the fact that he had just been broken off ith someone who’d been totally devoted to him – and didn’t feel that wonderful having been “the other woman” who’d caused it all to happen.
    So there Dale was, hoping he could get her into his life, and his bed, and there she was, on the fence, wondering if he’d ed up costing her more than just the price of a meal here and there…
    That was how it stood, and it was indeed something of a standoff. When they finished their talk and went separate ways, Dale headed downtown. There was  a demonstration going on he wanted to check out.
     Downtown at the Embarcadero he could see little more than a forest of tent canopies. A group of about a hundred people were listening to a speaker, declaiming about how this new movement would shake the bowels of the power structure. As if nothing ever had before, this new hope of the downtrodden, would carry the day by sheer weight of numbers. 
    “Nobody’s happy!” shouted the speaker. “It is time we came forward to Occupy The Status Quo! We're the 99 percent! Right on!” A chorus of ”Yeh!” and “Woohoo!” and “Power to the people!” came from his attentive listeners. Off to the side Dale noticed a pair of men, both holding musical instruments. The man on the left had a guitar and to his right was a guy with a banjo. He inched closer past the edges of the throng, until he stood in front of them. They were passing a joint, rather indiscreetly.
     “Hey man, wanna hit?” asked the guitar.
      “Uh, sure, OK: said Dale .
   Banjo took a hit off his beer and then watched as Dale toked the doobie. 
    “Isn’t this a little dangerous, smoking out here like this?”
    “Hell no, man I gotta card!” said Guitar.
    “What about that beer? You know the cops hate drinking in the parks.”
    “Fuck da po-lice!” said Banjo. “M’fuckers, they don’t give a shit about us today.”
    “No shit man, the Mayor his-self says nobody’s gonna get busted. So we’re just here hangin' out.”
     “You mean you guys aren’t part of this?”
     “Oh man, kinda, but shit, we been down here from Portland for a month now. We were staying out at Golden Gate. But this happened so we said, shit man, let’s go hang at Occupy.”
    “Yeh, brother, Occupy is cool. This is like, this is going to really fuck shit up.”
    “So you guys play music?”
    “Shit yeh. Let’s show him.”
    Guitar and Banjo stuck up a lonesome dirge. They started with Porter Wagoner’s “Satisfied Mind”. When they got to the part about how “money won’t buy back your youth when you’re old, or a heart that’s grown lonely, or a love that’s grown cold,” Dale reached in his pocket and handed them each a five dollar bill.
     “Shit, thanks dude!” Guitar and Banjo stopped, and then, Banjo passed Dale his beer. He took a furtive slug, looking about him every which way. He didn’t see any cops. It was cool.
    In fact it was all so cool that after another half hour of hanging around, listening to the boring speeches, Dale invited them home with him. They needed a shower he said (and it was true); they could use some breakfast they said (which wasn’t); and they dug his Marshall stack sitting there by his living room sofa. He tried playing with them that afternoon tentatively. They were making do.

     Within a week Lydia called him back. She was wondering where he had gone. She came to Zeitgeist every night that week and there was no sign of him. She never felt quite like calling him on  his cell phone- if he were really interested, in her then he’d be calling her every night, to keep it all going. She was getting annoyed. But Dale never knew it. 
    In fact when she called, it was like a fog had lifted off his eyes. He had spent an entire week feeding Guitar and Banjo- not only feeding them but buying them beer, handing them off bus tokens, writing up fake rent receipts for the welfare office, and sending them out in the day time while he went to the bank and worked on stuff.
    Stuff. There was little else Dale could call it. The same thing every day, checking papers, someone’s loan, someone’s mortgage, someone else’s overdraft protection. A steady rain of Occupy dogma hailed forth from the mouths of Guitar and Banjo. They even had Wobbly pins to prove their Socialist-Anarchist bonafides. Dale didn’t really care much about that. All that he wanted to do, once he came home, was light up a bowl with them- because that was the way they made their rent no matter where- they were part time chippy pot dealers,  always looking for the angle, always  talking up the good nug.
As long as they lived there at his place they could get him high, he could buy their beer and groceries, and maybe, maybe, if he got things right with Lydia, he could even get some dough out of them.
     He took the phone call.
     “Yeh, Lydia, hey, how ya doing! Sorry I haven’t called you, No, I am not seeing someone else. I just ran into a couple of cool musicians. They’re from Oregon. Yeh. I know you might dig that. Hey they are staying over here and we are jamming and shit. You want to come over and have a drink with us and have a listen? No? Oh. I’m sorry. Right. Yeh, I really should have. Well, I suppose I can come see you tonight at 'Geist. What? Oh, you have? Shit. Well I’m sorry I don’t mean to put ya off… no, no no. OK. I will. Meet you there in an hour.”
    And he was making excuses to Guitar and Banjo now. He had learned their real names, too. Guitar was actually a Michael, and Banjo was a Pete. Mike and Pete had to hold the fort for him while he went to check out Lydia. It was a good thing he hadn’t lent them his keys, he’d find out later.
     At the Zeitgeist he bought a tamale from the Tamale Lady- two, one for her, one for himself – and a pitcher of Nolsen’s. For some reason he liked the stuff. Everyone in his crowd thought he was a little cheap for not springing for Flat Tire like the rest did, but he hated the taste of Flat Tire.
    Lydia came walking through, looking all about, and finally laid eyes upon him. If looks could kill, Dale was now a pile of ashes. 
    “Dale I wanted so much to get things straight with you and give you a little time to get it together, Instead, what are you doing with yourself? It’s like I don’t even exist. Come on, dude, I am too old for this kinda crap from my boyfriend. You have to man up about life sometime. Maybe Suzanne was right about you anyhow, wasn’t she?”

     His reply was rather offhanded. He didn’t even really quite comprehend her last sentence seriously .
    “Shit yeah Lydia, I mean, we’ve slept together what , seven or eight times?”
    “Nine. And none at all the last three weeks. I think time is running out, if you aren’t going to make a more serious turn here then let me go. I have other things I want to do.”
    “Such as?”
    “Such as maybe meeting somebody who gives a shit about me! That’s right! Do you know what’s been going on in my life this week? The cat has had to go in for swallowing a hairball, they had to scrape him inside out. The apartment is almost up so I am really thinking, Dale said he wanted me to move in, well, can Dale do it? And now you are sharing your house? I guess? With your guitar buddies? Over me?”
     “Give me a little more time, Lydia, I’ll kick them out soon.”
    “You better, I could have some other things to say, but if you’re willing to go that far, then OK, there might still be a little hope for you. And consider US not just yourself OK?
   Dale had to admit she had him hung to rights on that score.
  So it was by that means he was able to gain access to Lydia and her kindnesses, at least, for another evening’s pleasure. After they had downed the pitcher of beer at Zeitgeist they wended their way to her place, where she cast her arms about pointing at all the things she now needed to find a new home for. Dale could only sigh. He sighed even harder when she had pulled him to her bed, and they had cut the light.

     Back at Dale’s apartment, however, the night was taking on a different aspect. Mike and Pete had discovered several of his wage stubs from Wells Fargo laying around where he had carelessly left them. 
    “Shit, Pete look at this! The guy’s a fucking banker!”
    “No shit, really?”
    “Really. Look-“ Mike handed Pete the check stubs. 
    “You think he really gives a shit about Occupy, man?”
    “Well, he was nice enough to us, he brought us home, fed us…”
    “He’s just trying to win favor. Man, he’s one of the 1%.”
     The fact that Dale was not even part of the 2% probably didn’t figure into what they did next.
    “I say let’s rip the motherfucker off. He’s living big. We don’t have shit.”
    “Fuck the rich! Fuck the pigs!” and with that outburst, Mike took from a shelf in the living room an ancient miniature Etruscan statue worth hundreds of dollars, and smashed it on the floor. He walked over to Dale’s Marshall amp and shoved his foot through it. Pete took a spray can out of his backpack, and spray-painted an IWW Black Cat logo on the patched-up hole in the wall. He sprayed a big X over Dale’s favorite original painting in the foyer. He went to the refrigerator and loaded his backpack with dozens of jars, bottles, and articles comestible.
    Mike for his part pulled down all the other paintings looking for a wall-safe. When he didn’t find one, he ransacked Dale’s drawers. He came up with a fistful of dollar bills and small change. That not satisfying him, he packed Dale’s Gibson 335 into its case, and gave a nod to Pete. They were ready to ride. As the exited the apartment and left for the Avenue, to make their way back into Golden Gate Park, they left the front door open and swinging.

     It was a chastened Dale who arrived the next morning and found the apartment robbed. He immediately thought of calling the police, but something stopped him. He decided to call the Department of Social Services, who would have had an idea perhaps, just where Mike and Pete might have been headed next. The social worker told him he sees guys like this all the time. He suggested Dale call the police. Eventually, he did. He surveyed the apartment. That Marshall stack would have been easily repaired- just one speaker, and the grill cover. But- his guitar! And that damn black cat on the wall!

     When Mrs Plastigo came over, herself, to view the vandalism, she was shocked.
     Her own great-grandfather had been a Chicago police officer, and had died in the Haymarket Riots in Chicago, killed dead by a Wobbly bomb. She knew them for what they were or at least, what they meant for her own side of things. So it was with some self-confidence she stood up to Dale and said:
    “You brought these no-goodniks into this place. You can pay this time. You will pay me for these vandalisms and you will be evicted. I will go draw up papers. You will see them tonight on your doorstep. Good day, Mr. Holloway.” She departed with a frozen face that was every bit the antithesis of the mood she had left on her last visit.
Just like that, Dale’s life had become ultra-complicated. For the very first time in his life he faced uncertainty and doubt. Now there would be no Lydia to court and now there would be no means of placating Mrs. Plastigo. The Guitar and Banjo had wreaked their havoc. It was going to be some interesting days ahead for Dale.