The Final Chance
As Mary made her way-out of the police station chief Stan approached. “Well done, Mary, did you feed the boys a tranquilizer? They quietened down when you went in to talk with them.”
Mary sighed. “It’s a tragic case chief. I’ve known them since they were babies and they’ve always been respectful to our family. I think they can be rehabilitated with a little love and patience.”
The chief nodded doubtfully. “They’re not helping themselves Mary; the town wants them out of here.”
That evening Mary had a long conversation with her husband. At first, he was reluctant but eventually indicated perhaps they could give it a go.
The Judge was surprised to read the letter placed in his hand as he began to review the case of delinquents Tom and Angus Laffy. He motioned the court attendant to ask Mary to come forward and they had a discussion quietly while those present as court observers watched with interest. Finally, he motioned for Mary to resume her seat and faced the two offenders flanked by police.
“You two have caused quite a ruckus in this town and townspeople are demanding you be returned to the correctional center so there is no more thefts or damage to their property. However, I have in front of me your stated reason for leaving the center without permission where you should be because of your past crimes. I will be requesting a commission be set up by government to investigate whether what you say about the safety of that place is really the case.
I also have a letter from the Murphy’s who you’ve known since childhood, and they’re willing to take you into their home on a trial basis as guardians and I’m prepared to see if you can be rehabilitated that way. I’ll review your progress in one month when you’ll come before me again to see if there’s been any sign of you making an effort to become better citizens.
There are conditions. You will not leave the house unless accompanied by Mary Murphy. You will attend school and be delivered there and picked up each day. You will not fight with teachers or students while there. Your teachers will give me a written report on your learning progress. In the home you fill follow instructions and be respectful. Are you boys prepared to accept these restrictions? I’ll have you before me in a month to judge your behavior and you will check in to the police each month after that and they’ll access if you are still a risk to the community over time. Now, are you prepared to follow these conditions? Answer yes or no!”
The boys looked at Mary in surprise and she indicated they should face the judge and answer.
“Yes sir!” They said in unison.
“I’m releasing you into the custody of Mary Murphy. We will notify you of the time for your next appearance before me in a month and I’ll see if you are making any progress in your behavior at that time. You can consider this your last chance to make changes in your life. The alternative would be for you to be returned to youth detention under guard to ensure you’re not a continuing menace to society.”
Mary came forward and accompanied the police guard and boys back to the station to attend to paperwork. Then they were released into Mary’s custody.
There’d been an incident at one of the farms Mick had been called to, so he was not at the station when the boys were released. Mary checked the size of Tom and Angus clothing and made notes then took them to the town department store and selected replacement clothes and shoes to their size. Then they visited a barber and had their long hair cut and moved on to the shopping center where they sat down to lunch. After that they returned home.
On arrival Mary ordered them to discard clothes they were wearing and get into the shower telling them to wash their hair with the shampoo provided. She then inspected their hair to see they had no lice infestation. The boys had been enjoying all this attention up to the time of the next event. Tomorrow they’d be taken to school. There was a chorus of disapproval. Mary stood her ground and addressed the eldest boy, Tom.
“Tom, you heard the judge. Mick and I are giving you an opportunity to change your lives for the better but step out of line in any of the directions the judge gave you and I’m handing you back to the police. Is that understood?”
Tom shrugged. Angus ran to Mary. “Mary I’ll go to school and follow everything you say.”
“Good! Mick and I will treat you well so don’t spoil this opportunity.”
When the boys next appeared before the judge he sat back in his chair in surprise. Were these the same two boys? They were clean and respectful, and Mary was obviously in command. But was this a clean break or would they eventually tire of being managed for their own good and return to type. The judge had seen that happen so many times before. He turned over supervision to the police and hoped for the boys sake not to see them in front of him again.
All went well for the next six months and the townspeople who rebelled against the judge’s decision eventually accepted the boys had been rehabilitated. Then one morning as Mary went to the boy’s room to get them organized for school there was only one boy in bed and that was Angus. She shook him awake.
Angus looked at the other bed in surprise. They called out and there was no answer. They looked around the yard and there was no answer. Finally, it dawned on Mary Tom had absconded. She sighed the Murphy’s had done their best and now it was up to Tom to rehabilitate himself. She hoped he wouldn’t drift into a life of crime to make ends meet but that would have to be his choice now. Mary looked at Angus.
“Angus it looks like Tom doesn’t want to take advantage of the good life we offered to both of you. Are you going to sneak off someday and spoil your life too?”
Angus put his arm around Mary. “You and Mick are my parents now Mary. I’m not going anywhere.”
The towns folk watched in amazement as Angus settled into his new life and slowly their mistrust of the young man evaporated. When Angus applied to the local supermarket for a chance to get work during vacations and earn pocket money the manager decided to give him a chance and by the time vacation was over, he’d worked so diligently, he had a standing invitation to join their work force when he finished school. By this time Angus had the ambition to gain higher education and Mick seeing his dedication to the goal and excellent grades decided to make the necessary sacrifice to finance him through college.
Twenty years later Mick and Mary sat in the graduation hall and watched with pride as their adopted son Angus received his master’s diploma with distinctions. He’d worked hard for this, and they felt the same immense pride in him as if he were the son they’d been unable to produce themselves. His life of juvenile crime was a thing of the distant past no one remembered now, and he was a respected member of the community who now looked up to him as a good citizen and mentor.
At the back of the graduation hall in a dark secluded place where he expected he’d not be noticed Tom Laffy stood with a couple of his criminal associates. He fought the impulse to go to the front where his brother was in conversation with Mick and Mary as he was on the wanted list now and there could be someone present who recognized his face from the pictures hanging in every police station.
His heart swelled with pride at his brother’s achievement. He’d been watching from a distance all these years and regretted his hasty decision to leave the protection of Mick and Mary. There was remorse as he remembered that fateful day when he’d decided the restrictions in the Murphy home were just too much for his wild spirit to tolerate. His life was a mess now but that same spirit still prevailed. He sighed and turned to his criminal associates.
“Let’s get out of here and have some fun!”
© Copyright 2022 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved
4 thoughts on “Mick and Mary to the Rescue Chapter 2”
You can’t always help everyone. We all make our own choices. At least Angus did them proud.
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That is unfortunately true.
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Oh, what a surprising ending, Ian! Mary’s character is commendable and it’s great that Angus appreciated his new home and parents. Too bad Tom didn’t feel the same, but at least he was proud of his brother. Great conclusion!
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Thank you so much for your encouragement