For A Good Cause
Thank you again for all the reviews. A multi-chaptered story was fun, but very time consuming and exhausting. I think I'll stick to one shots.
Be sure to check out author's notes at the end.
"I brought something for everybody." Alan Eppes announced as he reached for a large box on the floor beside the dining room table.
"You didn't have to do that, Dad." Don admonished, as he took the box from his father and set it on the table.
"Of course, I did. When a family member goes away, he brings back souvenirs for everyone. That's just the way it is."
Alan had returned from his trip to St. Louis late Saturday morning: just 23 hours after Don and Charlie had walked out of Mt. Preston. Charlie had slept most of the way home and after a good meal and a hot steamy shower had fallen into his bed and slept for another 12 hours. He woke up just in time to eat the lunch Don had made for them before they left for the airport to pick up Alan.
On the way, Don told Charlie that David had called while he was sleeping with information on Fletcher and Bales. "I know it's hard to believe," he started with a wry grin, " but Glover pissed someone off. Someone with political aspirations who wants someone else in charge at Mt. Preston. Someone he can control. He paid Fletcher and Bales to falsify the records, even forging Glover's name to some of them, then planned to appoint a committee to investigate corruption at the prison. Glover would be fined, at the very least, and lose his job as warden."
Charlie nodded, seeing how it all fit. "And when two federal agents showed up investigating a mixed up prison transfer, they got scared and took off."
"Yep. So, see, something good came out of all this." Don smiled in a way that said he knew nothing good, as far as his brother was concerned, had come from it.
"If I hadn't been put in the library with all of the other men, they might still be there." Charlie's shoulders shook as a small shudder passed through him. Don agreed silently, but wished with all his heart that things hadn't happened the way it did.
They discussed the possibility of not telling Alan what had happened while he was in St. Louis. It's not that Alan didn't appreciate a good old fashion practical joke; it's just that Don didn't think he would be able to explain to his father's satisfaction how he had let something like that happen to Charlie. In the end, they decided honesty was the best policy and they would eventually tell him. They didn't have to worry about it. When they met Alan at the baggage claim, he embraced Charlie first, holding on a little longer than usual, then after he gave Don a quick hug, he said, "Donnie, how could you let something like that happen to your brother?" At their shocked faces, he added. "I called the house yesterday and both your cell phones to make sure someone was going to be here today. When I couldn't reach either of you, I called Amita. Poor girl was so upset, she could hardly talk, but I managed to get the story from her."
Alan had called while they were on their way home from Mt. Preston and in the dead zone for cell phone reception. Merrick had already called Amita and Millie and told them that Charlie had been found safe and relatively sound. She was, at least, able to tell Alan that it was over and Charlie would be home soon.
"Donnie, you know how I feel about practical jokes." he admonished. " And just look what happened this time. I think you owe your brother for everything that he went through."
Don smiled and leaned into his father as Charlie put the luggage in the trunk. "It's already in progress,
They were all gathered now, at the Craftsman, a day later, celebrating both Alan's and Charlie's safe return. As Don set the box of souvenirs on the table in front of Alan, Charlie suddenly looked at his brother and said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you, I received a phone call from Warden Glover this morning."
"What did that asshole want?"
"He wanted to know if I would consider giving a lecture twice a month for the inmates. Seems they liked my style of teaching."
"More likely your choice of topics." Colby added with a crooked grin.
Charlie laughed "Maybe that's it. I'll have to go through some case files and find another set of algorithms to lecture on."
Don's head jerked up, a stunned expression on his face. "Wait, you're not seriously considering it, are you?"
"I don't know." Charlie said. " Even though they were the quintessential captive audience, as it were, it was nice teaching someone who really listened. At least they listened more that you and your team does sometimes." Don opened his mouth but Charlie continued. "And I thought it might be a good idea if you joined me. You know, Pursuit Curves from an actual FBI agent's point of view. We could hold seminars on Game Theory with hands on applications."
Don relaxed, seeing the teasing glint in his brother's eyes and grinned. "Oh, I see how it's going to be. Alright. Give it your best shot, bro."
Charlie shook his head in a dismissive gesture, then he locked eyes with his older brother. "The best practical joke, Don," Charlie said quietly, with just the hint of a threat, "is the one that never comes. The one you're always waiting for, the one that could happen any minute; that's the one you're most afraid of."
Don looked admiringly at his brother. "Bring it on, Charlie. I can take it. And, I know I deserve it."
"Not to worry, bro. And I was just teasing about lecturing at the prison. I don't intend ever going back there."
"Well, I can certainly understand that, Charlie. But you might want to reconsider that. I think they may want you there for the dedication to the new library. Especially since it's being dedicated in your honor."
"Well, between Millie, Gary and I, and the contacts we have between us, and that includes Merrick, some pressure has been put on the appropriations committee for the prison, and the Educational Building is going to be rebuilt this month, with more facilities for adult education and rehabilitation."
Charlie's smile was warm with affection. "Thanks, Don. That means a lot. Education is always a plus. It's the true source of power and freedom."
They all nodded, and Don spoke again. "It's not enough to make up for what happened, but it's a start."
Then Millie spoke up. "Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I want to know what Alan brought back." she said, rubbing her hands together.
"Well, I tried to find something that everyone would like." He said as he opened the flaps on the box. He reached in a pulled out a large, hardback book. "Ah, yes, Don, this is for you"
"A book? You brought me back a book?"
Alan glared at his oldest. "Yes, I brought you back a book. I went to the National Publishers Convention, Don, not a weapons and tactics demonstration. But, having said that, here." He handed Don the book, who look at the title and smiled, his eyes lighting up. "Yea, now that's what I'm talking about." He turned the book around so everyone could see the title. "The Illustrated History of Law Enforcement Weapons and Tactics."
"Illustrated, Don." Charlie teased. "That means it has pictures and everything."
Everyone laughed and Alan reached into the box again. "Larry, I thought maybe you might enjoy this one. It hasn't been released yet. We were able to get advanced copies, and it's even signed by the author."
Larry and Megan, home early from their trip after a call from David the day before, were sitting beside each other at the table and he reached for the book Alan was holding. "Stars In Their Eyes." he read. "Ah, a look into the early cosmologists and their studies of the heavens. Well done, Alan, I shall truly enjoy this."
Alan looked into his box of goodies again and said, "Ah, now this, I got one for each of the lovely ladies in my life." he said with a sly grin. He pulled out four copies and handed one each to Millie, Megan, Amita and Liz. Colby leaned over Megan's shoulder and read the title out loud. "The Role of the Alpha Female in an Alpha Male World." The girls all chortled and laughed. Colby groaned. "Thanks, Alan."
"Not to fear, Agent Granger. I found a book for you and David that just might help you two. Here you are," he handed the books over to them. This time Megan stretched her neck to see the title. She laughed out loud when David turned his around. "Running With The Top Dog. Secrets To Working With the Leader of the Pack."
"Hey, watch it." Don smiled. "Top Dog, here. Don't you forget it."
Alan removed the last book from the box and looked at his youngest son. "Charlie, I already had this book for you before I found out what had happened. I admit, I wasn't sure I wanted to give it to you, but both Larry and Amita assure me that you will only see the positive side of his narrative and it won't fester any bad memories." He handed the hardcover book to Charlie, who accepted it with an apprehensive and curious expression. He looked at the front cover. His eyes sparkled with excitement and he smiled. "Dad, this is great!" he exclaimed. He reached over and gave Alan a quick hug. "And, no, this won't fester any bad memories. Totally different environment and situation. Although, some of the variables may be similar, but I'm sure I could find an equation that would compare the ..."
"Whoa, Chuck. Hold on. What is it?" Don asked.
"The biography of Jakow Trachtenberg, using some of his own journal entries." Charlie was too excited to notice his brother exchanging glances with his team members, all of them obviously unfamiliar with the name.
"Charles. Perhaps you may want to..." Larry prodded.
"Oh, yeah. Jakow Trachtenberg. He was a Jewish mathematician who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. While he was there he developed what we call the Trachtenberg system. Its a method of mental arithmetic and short cuts to calculate quickly. He wrote a book, while he was in prison, and it is still recommended by some coaching classes of competitive exams, to prepare for the Quantitive Tests."
Don nodded, intrigued but not really interested.
"Wow, another mathematician in prison. Small world." David said, smiling.
"Oh, history is full of mathematicians who were either justly or unjustly imprisoned." Charlie was too excited to stop now. "Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was a published mathematician and assistant professor of mathematics at Berkely before he mailed his first bomb. And Andre Weil, known as one of the giants of mathematics, was an intellectual peer of some of the worlds most influential scholars, such as Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer. He developed what we call the Weil conjectures, and the pattern of numbers that he discovered are now applied in writing almost-unbreakable secret codes and in enhancing the accurate transmission of computer data. He was in prison in France for six months for avoiding the French draft and while he was there he formulated and proved a hypotheses that is analogous to the Riemann hypotheses."
"The Riemann, huh?" Don interrupted, in an effort to draw his brother back from his math induced sensory overload.
Charlie nodded but didn't slow down. "I could write a book - maybe I should - about mathematicians over the years who have been persecuted and punished for their works and imprisoned unfairly."
"Yea," Don tried again to calm his brother. "You could write that book and donate a signed copy to all the prison libraries." He loudly emphasized the last two words.
Charlie stopped then, looking at his brother with a suspicious glare. "Don't." he warned.
But Don smiled fearlessly and said, "Yeah. Donating all of those autographed books. It would be quite a generous contribution to the education of all those prisoners. But you can afford it. And a thoughtful, magnanimous donation like that would be. . ."
"Don't." Charlie warned again.
Don smiled, falling easily into the teasing older brother routine he and Charlie had perfected through their childhood. "...it would be for a good cause, Chuck."
A/N; Rather than try to adhere to any specific prison's operational methods, I took the easy way out and created my own. Mt. Preston Correctional Facility exists only in my mind, as well as the policies and procedures in this story that are associated with it.
Thank God for Google and its easily accessible fountain of prison related information. The situation of falsified records concerning the time of new prisoners processing and the actual time they were assigned proper housing and bed was taken from a true story. Some of the facts were twisted to work better here in my story.
The California towns of Rockville, Tyler and Grafton are also figments of my imagination, along with the Grafton Tunnel and Rt. 61 north of Los Angeles.
The titles of the books Alan brought back from St. Louis were also made up. (If they do indeed exist, I was not aware of them).
Jakow Trachtenberg and Andre Weil, however, were real life mathematicians and their stories, as related here, are true. The same for Theodore Kaczynski.
I also took liberty with the rules and regulations of the police department's fund raising program. My husband was actually "arrested" years ago as part of our small town's fund raising drive. He was treated with respect and while "doing his time" was offered coffee and donuts in the same manor Don described. He was recently asked to participate again, and it was that request that prompted him to suggest this storyline to me. I assume many town's might have it's own version of this popular way of making money for various police related charities, so I felt safe in fudging a little on procedures. I meant no offense to any police department who may utilize this fund raiser.
Many thanks again to the ones who took the time to review. Until you write your own story, you'll never know how much they mean.