Levelling the Score
After work next day Frank paid a visit to his daughter’s home. Sal was wearing a coat covering her bruises as she opened the door. She ushered him into the lounge and sat down.
“You shouldn’t have done that Dad! He is so angry over you hitting him and while he isn’t hitting me any more he’s up to something and I fear for your future more than mine. I’m used to it! Something has changed Jack for the worse since our marriage and I can’t put my finger on it. While he’s hitting me he at least leaves the children alone so that’s OK.”
Sal reached across the chairs they were sitting on and took Frank’s hand. “I love you Dad I don’t want you getting involved in our problems. You and Mom are reaching the age where you need to be happy and safe so I don’t want you inflaming Jack to your hurt. I know you’re strong, but there are various ways to get even and Jack has turned into that kind of person.
Frank looked at his daughter and shook his head. “I’d die for you Sal if that were necessary!”
Sal smiled and squeezed his hand.
“Where is Jack and the kids anyway Sal?”
“He took them to the park as soon as he came home and said he’d be back before supper. You better go before he comes back, OK?”
The next day at work Frank went to the group of men at the mill and joined them waiting for doors to open. He had keys but it had been a long standing tradition for the owner to come and open up and Frank enjoyed catching up with his workmates before their hard day’s work.
But it was different this morning. He sensed a very cold reception from the group. One of them, a long standing rival for his job eventually spoke.
“Frank likes playing with little children don’t you Frank? A few malcontents snickered while the rest looked at him disapprovingly.
“What was that all about? Frank turned to his long-time friend Paul for an answer as they walked through the opened doors. Paul looked uncomfortable and glanced at the rest of the group filing in who mouthed insults at him.
They say the police are investigating you for doing inappropriate things with your grandchildren. Paul sped off to his assigned work place to avoid further contact.
Frank was furious. He’d have to have a little talk with Jack again it seemed. He calmed himself and headed for the office to get his instructions for the day. As he reached the top of the administrative section overlooking the workshop the secretary beckoned to him. “The boss wants to talk with you.”
Frank walked into Jed the owner’s office and wished him a pleasant morning. Jed motioned him to sit.
“Frank I had a visit from the police last evening and they were asking a lot of questions about you. Is there something you need to tell me?”
Strong and brave as he was Frank had a sudden feeling of foreboding.
Jed continued. “They were asking if you had any habits I knew of that may help them with their investigations. Apparently the men have heard this too and there has been a suggestion it may be inappropriate for you to be in charge until this has been resolved. I think that’s probably wise, don’t you? Of course you can continue to work here while the investigation is on but you will have to work under someone else I appoint in the interval. Otherwise you will have to take leave without pay. What is your preference Frank? I’m sorry but I have to run a business with happy people and that would not be possible with you in charge.”
Frank nodded, “I understand Jed. I’ll take leave without pay for now, but when I’m proved to be innocent I expect you would want to be fair about this leave and reimburse me for lost time. I know you’re an honourable man Jeb and want to continue our long history together.”
“I agree to that!” Jed motioned to the secretary to bring in Frank’s leering rival for the job.
As Frank left the building he was tapped on the shoulder by a waiting suited up man. “Are you Frank?”
“Yes.” Said Frank in surprise.
The man handed him and envelope and turned to walk to his car.
Frank looked at the envelope in his hands and opened it in curiosity. He gasped in surprise!
The document was a court order preventing Frank or Carolyn from visiting their daughter or grandchildren. Sal had warned him, Jack was a dangerous individual and there was nothing Frank could do but wait to plead his innocence when the time came. He rushed home to share the surprising news with Carolyn.
As he turned into his home street he noticed a police car parked outside so he parked and entered the house. There seated talking with Carolyn were two police officers, a man and a woman. They motioned him to sit.
In rapid fire, first one then another these officers probed for answers. They pointed to a search warrant in Carolyn’s hand. Carolyn was in shock. Then another voice from within the house shouted. “We’ve only found one computer Sarge.” Two other police appeared with the laptop.
“Is this your computer?” The one in charge facing Frank demanded an answer.
“No, that’s Carolyn’s.”
“I don’t have one, don’t know how to use one either.” Frank was reeling from the confusion of it all.
“Don’t give me that! We have it on good authority you have a computer and use it. You’ll have to accompany us down to the station and we’ll be taking this computer with us for examination. Give the lady a receipt for the computer! Jill you stay with the lady and the rest of us will take Frank to the station for interview. We’ll pick you up later.”
Carolyn sobbed as she hugged her husband. “Frank what’s happening, why are they doing this?”
“It’s Jack’s work, he’s doing this for revenge”
At the station Frank was taken to the interview room where he was questioned over and over again. This was a new experience for Frank and he was exhausted. Just when the police were getting ready for a new onslaught a man was bought into the room.
“Frank, what’s all this about?” It was his lawyer golfing friend Alex and Frank breathed a sigh of relief.
“I wish to talk with my client privately for a while to get his side of the story.”
The interrogators nodded reluctantly and went to the observation room where they could watch proceedings, but they were also listening through hidden microphones to the conversation as Frank poured the story out in a torrent of relief at this friend’s sudden appearance. Carolyn had phoned as soon as he’d left the home in company with police officers.
Alex had been busy before being ushered into the interview room. He outlined the charges against Frank and said his grandchildren were witnesses against him in the charge.
“Frank was aghast! “My grandkids would never make such a charge against me. I’d never touch them inappropriately.”
“But it’s in the police file.” Alex looked at his client. “Frank if any of this is true then you need to tell me as your lawyer so I know how to advise you and defend you.”
“None of it is true, this is Jack’s revenge for me punishing him for beating my daughter. And it appears what I found out on that day was not the first time. Sal tells me he beats her constantly now and he now has a restraint order on me so I can’t come to her aid. He’s evil! He was not that way when he married Sal.”
The one in charge of interrogation turned to his assistant. “Release him and have the house watched to see what he gets up to. Send the computer results up to the Chief. I’m getting a warrant to search this fellow Jack’s home, I have a hunch he has something he wants to hide. Have a psychologist take the children involved and try and fathom what made them make those charges against their grandfather and if they really are true. We need to get to the bottom of this riddle and follow it through to the end with an open mind. No point clogging up the judicial system with something that will be a waste of effort and time.
An agitated Jack watched his personal computer, his wife’s and children’s IPads taken away for examination. As the officers were about to leave Sal came from the kitchen without the jacket she’d been wearing to cover her wounds. The officers stopped in their tracks and sat her down.
“Who did this to you?” The woman officer demanded.
Sue turned to Jack calmly. “Do you have something to say about the innocence of my Father in these charges supposedly bought by our children Jack?”
“Don’t do this Sal, we’re a family. We don’t need Frank and Carolyn in our lives. They’ve always been a thorn in our sides and they’re trying to drive a wedge between us.”
“So the charges against my father stand?”
“Yes they do!” Jack made a threatening advance toward his wife and was immediately restrained by police.
“OK, I think you’d better do a thorough search of our garage. There’s something there I discovered today you may be interested in.”
Jack turned ashen. “You’ve destroyed me you evil woman.”
One of the police officers stayed by Sal’s side to protect her and Jack made a bolt for the door and freedom just as the other officers returned carrying bags of white powder. Jack was later found hitching a ride with an interstate truck and charged with possession. As investigations continued Frank’s replacement at the mill was found to be the cocaine distributor for the town. He along with two others from the mill were implicated and arrested along with Jack.
Jed phoned the next day to offer his apologies and beg Frank to return which he graciously did. Jack was charged not only for possession and distribution of a dangerous drug, but also for making false charges wasting police time, for wife abuse and to cap it all, for possession of inappropriate children’s images on his personal computer. It was also revealed the grandchildren had been beaten to force them to sign off on the complaint made against Frank.
As Jack was to be put away for a long time Sal decided to sell the home as she couldn’t keep up payments with her limited earnings now Jack was out of the picture. Frank and Carolyn moved into the granny flat at the back to let Sal and her brood have the full run of the home. They were sad about their daughter’s failed marriage but happy they could be there as support helping their grandchildren deal with life without a father.
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2016 All rights reserved”