Chapter Seventeen

Judgment Day

Tuesday Morning 8:30 am

Frances is dressed and ready for her appearance in court, as she walks slowly down the stairs the phone rings. "Hello."

"Mom, it's Frank."

"Frank, oh how nice to hear from you."

"Mom I'm in trouble, serious trouble."

"What sort of trouble?"

"I've been arrested and I need bail money."

"H….How much?"

"Three hundred dollars."

"Well I was to be in court this morning at ten o'clock with your brother but with you being in trouble I…I wouldn't be able to make it through the day knowing that you were in jail. Larry is coming to pick me up for court I'll have him drive me to the jail. Where are you?"

"Crown Heights, 77th Precinct."

"I'll be there within the hour."

The alarm clock sounds; he wakes and rubs his eyes. Hits the button on top and the buzzer stops, he watches as Andy stirs. Normally he would get back under the covers but this morning he gets out of bed and walks straight to the bathroom. He stands in the shower the dream going through his mind repeatedly. Would she, would she do that to me? He shampoos his hair. I mean if he were my kid I'd leave his ass in jail. He laughs to himself.

Frances opens her closet door and stares at the articles of clothing inside. Years ago she wore very fashionable clothes but these days her newest skirt and blouse are over a year old. She removes the black wool skirt from the hanger and decides on a ruffled white blouse. She changes and gazes at her shape in the full-length mirror. She nods at herself, "Not fancy but I'm not going out to a club or dinner," she tries to remember the last time she even went to a movie. "Two years maybe?" She smirks and makes her way to the bathroom, "Jesus even my makeup is old."

Brooklyn County Courthouse

"It is coming upon twelve o'clock and I am going to adjourn this court till one-thirty," says Judge Bruce Mason.

"All rise," Bailiff Henry Stokes announces. The people in the gallery rise. After a very solemn lunch at a local diner, all the interested parties return to the courthouse.

Once again, Henry Stokes announces the judge's arrival, "All rise," Judge Mason nods at his clerk as he takes his position behind the bench. "Be seated," Stokes says.

Mason picks up his gavel. One quick hit on the desk. "Hope you all enjoyed your lunch." He moves forward in his seat. "I spent most of that hour reviewing my notes and I will say that this will not be an easy decision. It is more difficult than I thought. I have listened to all the parties concerned except one." Bobby squirms a bit in his seat. "Henry if you will escort Robert to my chambers."

Henry Stokes waves his hand and Bobby stands. A quick glance around the room, all eyes are on him except one, his mothers. Henry opens the door and directs him to the room, "Right through that open door."

Bobby walks cautiously the next thirty steps. He leans in and peeks through the open door. The judge looks up and waves, "Come in."

He stuffs his hands in his pockets, Great another asshole with a big desk. "Please sit down." Bobby immediately takes a seat. He watches the older gentlemen sorting through papers. He picks up a sheet and glances over it. Bobby watches him intently as he rises and walks before him and then surprisingly sits down next to him. "You look nervous Robert."

He clears his throat, "Bobby."

"Alright Bobby it is." The judge crosses his legs. "As Mister Clark has stated numerous times you are not a small child but on the other hand you are a teenager. I must say, that is what worries me." Bobby stays uncharacteristically quiet, looking straight ahead. "As I have stated I have read through all these reports but I wanted to speak with you because this decision will affect you more than anyone. I will admit to you that when I read about your mother's illness I………I jumped to conclusions, however after speaking with her and her doctors, I realized that much of what I thought were fallacies."

Bobby and the Judge converse for more than an hour, the judge returns to the bench. "I have some major thinking to do. I am going to adjourn this court till 3 PM, at that time I will have made my decision."

Denise and Clark get into a discussion and when they turn to ask Bobby a question, he is gone, "Oh Jesus where did he go?" Clark says as he takes a step forward, Denise grabs his arm, "Don't worry, he'll be back."

Clark turns to meet her eyes, "How can you be sure."

"Trust me."

Outside the Court House

"Drew I hate testifying."

"I know but it's part of the job, you made the arrest." Drew checks the time, "Relax, ok. I have to make a phone call. I'll be right back."

The police officer notices the teenage boy sneaking a smoke and looking very nervous. I know I told the truth, so why do I feel so rotten?

"Are you alright?" The thirty something, light-haired man asks, "Huh?" Bobby replies. His first thought. Flick the cigarette. Where?

"I asked if you're alright?"

"Yeah, I'm alright. I'm….I mean we're waiting for Judge Mason to make his decision about……………." He mumbles. "The rest of my life."

Judge Mason, family court, the officer thinks. He takes another step up, and then looks around the crowd. "Can I bum a smoke off of you?"

Bobby smiles and hands the cop his pack, "Sure, here."

He lights up the cigarette and takes a long drag, "Thanks, I've been a cop over ten years now and every time I have to testify, oh man I hate it."

"You're a cop?" he looks over the man in the dark blue suit. "Since you're not in a uniform are you a Detective?"

"Yes I am. Made Detective last year," he takes another drag then checks his watch. "Good got a few more minutes." He looks out over the crowd. "Oh crap." He drops the cigarette on the ground. Bobby looks around and then notices a woman followed by three small children approaching them. "John, are you smoking?"

"No………" he bows his head. "Yes," he looks at his family. "Sara why aren't the kids in school?"

"The school cafeteria had a fire and they excused the children early." The older girl starts to wander, "Where do you think you're going young lady?" her father asks.

"Are there any murderers on trial today, Dad?"

"No," he checks his watch again. He whispers, so that only Bobby can hear, "I'm not sure if she knows what she's talking about."

Bobby laughs as he glances at the little girl, "I'm sure she does."

"Yeah you're probably right." He holds out his hand, "Thanks for the smoke and good luck to you ah………"

"Bobby," he shakes the man's hand.

"I'm John."

"Thanks John," Bobby points, "You too."

"Who was that young man John?"

"His name is Bobby and I just met him. Why did you come down here?"

"You asked me to remember. Wanted me to come by then we were going to visit your Mom in the hospital."

"Case got delayed and I haven't testified yet, you and the kids can hang out at the diner. I should be called up next, I hope. Damn I just want to get this over with."

Inside the Court Room

All the parties return to the courtroom at two-fifty except one. Clark says sarcastically, "Don't worry he'll be back," he spreads his arms. "Well, where is he?" Denise remains quiet, when the double doors open heads turn. He walks in the room and sits down without a sound. The bailiff announces the judge and Mason once again enters the courtroom. Denise has to smile at her colleague.

"This was not an easy decision for me to make. I have listened to you Mister Clark and you Misses DeMarco. I have read your reports many, many times. You both put a great deal of time and effort into this case. However, the person who convinced me was Bobby. You were right Denise; he is a very level headed, intelligent young man. Prone to bits of anger from time to time, but he's a teenager." The judge pours a glass of water; Frances and Bobby do the same.

"I have to agree with you both," he points to Denise and Clark. "He is able to take care of himself. However he is not supposed to." He catches Frances' eye and points. "That's your job, Misses Goren and from some of the things Bobby told me, you haven't been doing that. The main issue is of course your illness. Unfortunately, there is no cure at this moment but medication is available to you and you have a habit of stopping your meds, without consulting your doctor. You can not continue to do that."

Frances turns her head to look at her son, Bobby is neither looking at the judge nor anyone else in the room, his head is down, wishing silently that he could just disappear.

The judge continues, "He is your responsibility, not the other way around. Your main focus in your life is your son………..and I know that you know that." He sits back in the large chair and rubs his eyes. "I asked Bobby where he wanted to live and he hesitated for a moment. He informed me that he liked living with the Reilly's but he didn't like the fact that you were alone, Misses Goren." He shuffles through some papers. "You all heard what the Reilly's had to say that they have no regret in the fact that Bobby has come to live with them. They like him very much and he is welcomed to stay." He leans forward and clasps his hands, "However I don't want to break up this family anymore, it has been torn apart enough. That is why I have decided………Bobby….you can go home." The gallery gets noisy. Mason picks up his gavel, "Order, quiet."

The room gets silent. "Frances you have to work harder at taking care of not only yourself but your son………to assist you in that I am assigning you a social worker, until Bobby is either removed from the home or until he turns eighteen. He's a good kid, don't ruin that. This court is adjourned, good luck to you all."

Frances stands first and walks gingerly toward her son who has his head down, "Bobby."

"Yeah," he lifts his head slowly.

"I will try, honest I will."

October 2005

Brooklyn New York

Social Services Office

"Yes Denise DeMarco is handling that case, please follow me."

The tall redhead knocks on the office door of Denise DeMarco, as she slowly opens it, "Denise there are two Detectives to see you concerning Nicholas Bach."

Denise looks up from the paper she is reading, "Sure, send them in." As the detectives walk into the office, the phone rings. Denise lifts up her finger, "I'll be right with you," she says as she slowly glances up. She smiles, "Janie," she calls to the redhead.

"Yes Denise."

"Could you please pick up that call for me, whoever it is tell them I will call them back."

"Sure," the phone stops ringing.

Alex is just about to do her introductions when Bobby says, "Gees aren't you ever going to retire?"

She smiles broadly, "I keep trying and they keep pulling me back."

He laughs as she walks around the desk. Alex is watching and is a little bewildered, her partner opens his arms and the older woman wraps her arms around him. He breaks the hug then places his arm around her shoulder, "Denise this is my partner Alex Eames."

Denise holds out her hand, "It's nice to meet you," Denise steps back around the desk, "Please," she motions with her arms, "Sit."

"Thank you," Alex says.

"Actually, I am retiring next week. I'm gonna miss it but I just don't have the energy anymore."

"Unfortunately there are a lot of kids who won't get the benefit of," he leans forward. "Your interference," he smiles, she laughs. "So what can you tell you tell us about Nicholas?"

Half Hour Later

They embrace once more, "Hey Bobby, I would really love it if you would come to my retirement party. I realize we just met Detective Eames but I want to extend an invitation to you as well. It's next Friday at McDougals, 7 o'clock."

"I would love too," he pauses. "Should I bring my Mom?"

Denise smiles and takes his hand, "How is your Mom?"

Bobby laughs heartily, "Some things never change." He leans down and kisses her cheek. "I'll see you Friday."

"It was nice to meet you Misses DeMarco." Alex says, she extends her hand, "And if Bobby will escort me I would love to join you on Friday."

"It was nice to meet you Alex and call me Denise."

He holds the door for her and Alex walks slowly through, she stays silent until they get onto the sidewalk. "Bobby, you know after hearing you speak of your parents all these years it never dawned on me that people from the outside world were….………"

"Did you actually think that growing up in my family with my parents that child services were never involved."

"Bobby………I never even thought……"

"It's alright." He smiles.

"She seems to be a very dedicated."

"That's for sure and she never took any shit that I was handing out. Mom didn't like her at all." They get back into their vehicle, "She listened to me, she was the first adult I ever met that listened to what I had to say. I tell ya as the years went on I didn't meet too many more."

THE END

Thank you all; you know who you are, for reading and your comments.

I enjoy writing about him as a child; can you tell? Coming soon will be 'Chaos'

It will chronicle Bobby from his sixteenth birthday until he joins the army.