Morning, Noon and Night

Chapter 4

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His idol was Dan Quayle, and he often used the name as his touchstone. @ , ' don't care what you say about Quayle, he's the only politician with real values. Family – that's what it's all about. Without family values, this country would be up the creek even worse than it is. All these young kids are living together without being married, -and having babies. It's shocking. No wonder there's so much crime. If Dan Quayle ever runs for president, he's sure got my vote.' It was a shame, he thought, that he couldn't vote because of a stupid law, but, regardless, he was behind Quayle all the way.. He had four children: Billy, eight, and the girls – Amy, Clarissa, and Susan, ten, twelve, and fourteen.

They were wonderful children, and his greatestjoy was spending what he liked to call quality time with them. His weekends were totally devoted.

to the children. He barbecued for them, played with them, took them to movies and ball games, and helped them with their homework. All the youngsters in the neighborhood adored him. He repaired their bikes and toys, and 31 invited them on picnics with his family. They gave him the nickname of Papa. On a sunny Saturday morning, he was seated in the bleachers, watching the baseball game. it was a picture-perfect day, with warm sunshine and fluffy cumulus clouds dappling the sky. His eight-year-old son, Billy, was at bat, looking very professional and grown up in his Little League uniform. Papa's three girls and his wife were at his side. It doesn't get any better than this, he thought happily. Why can't all fwnifies be like ours? It was the bottom of the eighth inning, the score was tied, with two outs and the bases loaded.

Billy was at the plate, three balls and two strikes against him. Papa called out, encouragingly,'Get'em, Billy! Over the fence!' Billy waited for the pitch. It was fast and low, and Billy swung wildly and missed.

The umpire yelled, ' threel' The inning was over. ' were groans and cheers from the crowd of parents and family friends. Billy stood there disheartened, watching the teams change sides. Papa called out, ''s all right, son. You'll do it next time!' Billy tried to force a smile. John Cotton, the team manager, was waiting for Billy. ''re outta the game!' he said. 32 ut, Mrcotton …' @Go on. Get off the field.' Billy's father watched in hurt amazement as his son the field.

He can't do that, he thought. He has to give pilly another chance. ru have to speak to Mr. Cotton and At that instant, the cellular phone he carried Valig. He let it ring four times before he answered it. Only one person had the number..He knows I hate to

"W be disturbed on weekends, he thought angrily. R I tly, he lifted the antenna, pressed a button, e uctan And spoke into the mouthpiece. ' I line voice at the other end spoke quietly for several minutes. Papa listened, nodding from time to time. Pinally lie said, '. I understand. I'll take care of it.' He put the phone away. ' everything all right, darling?' his wife asked. '. I'm afraid it isn't. They want me to work over the weekend. I was planning a nice barbecue for us tomorrow., His wife took his hand and said lovingly, ''t worry about it. Your work is more important.' Not as important as my family, he thought stubbornly. Dan Quayle would understand His hand began to itch fiercely and he =atched it. Why does it do that? he wondered. r1l have to see a dermatologist one of these days. John Cotton was the assistant manager at the local supermarket. A burly man in his fiffies, he had agreed 33 to manage the Little League team because his son was a ballplayer. His.

team had lost that afternoon because of young Billy. The supermarket had closed, and John Cotton was in the parking lot, walking toward his car, when a stranger approached him, carrying a package. ' me, Mr. Cotton."?" wonder if I could talk to you for a moment?' `1The store is closed.", it's not that. I wanted to talk to you about my son. Billy is very upset that you took him out of the game and told him he couldn't play again." is your son? I'm sorry he was even in the game. He'll never be a ballplayer.'_ Billy's father said earnestly,, "You're not being fair, Mr. Cotton. I know Billy. He's really a fine ballplayer. You'll see. When he plays next Saturday – t ' isn't going to play next Saturday. He's out." … % ' buts. That's it. Now, if there's nothing else … ', there is.'Billy's father had unwrapped the package in his hand, revealing a baseball bat. He said pleadingly, "This is the bat that Billy used. You can see that it's chipped, so it isn't fair to punish him because -", mister, I don't give a damn about the bat. Your son is out!' Billy's father sighed unhappily.

"You're sure you won't change your -mind?' 34 ' chance.' As Cotton reached for the door handle of his car, Billy's father swung the bat against the rear window, gmashing it. Cotton stared at him in shock.

"What … what the bell are you doine.' e ' up,' Papa explained.

He raised the bat swung it again, smashing it against Cotton's pjohn Cotton screamed and fell to the ground, writh- in pain. ''re crazy!" he yelled. '!' s father knelt beside him and said softly, ' more sound, and I'll break your other kneecap.' -Cotton stared up at him in agony, terrified. ' my son isn't in the game next Saturday, I'll kill you and I'll kill your son. Do I make myself cleart Cotton looked into the man's eyes and nodded, , to keep from screaming with -pain.

"Good. Oh, and I wouldn't want this to get out.

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got friends.' He looked at his watch. He had just enough time to catch the next flight to Boston. His hand @6egan to itch again. At seven o'clock Sunday morning, dressed in a vested sint and carrying an expensive leather briefcase, he walked past Vendome, through Copley Square, and on to Stuart Street. A half block past the Park Plaza Castle, he entered the Boston Trust Building and approached the guard. With dozens of tenants in the 35 huge building, them would be no way the guard at the rcception desk could identify him. Good morning,' the man said. ' morning, sir. May I help yout He sighed. ' God can't help me. They think I have nothing to do but spend my Sundays doing the work that someone else should have done.' The guard said, sympathetically, ' know the feeling.' He pushed a log book forward. ' you sign in, pleaset He signed in and walked over to the bank of elevators. The office he was looking for was on the fifth floor. He took the elevator to the sixth floor, walked down a flight, and moved down the corridor. The legend on the door read, RENQuist, RENQuis-r & Fffz- GMALD, ATMRNEYS AT LAw. He looked around to make certain the corridor was deserted, then opened his briefcase and took out a small pick and a tension tool. It took him five seconds to open the locked door. He stepped inside and closed the door behind him.

The reception room was furnished in old-fashioned, conservative taste, as befitted one of Boston's top law firms. The man stood there a moment, orienting himself, then moved toward the back, to a filing room where records were kept. Inside the room was a bank of steel cabinets with alphabetical labels on the front. He tried the cabinet marked R-S. It was locked. From his briefcase, he removed a blank key, a file, and a pair of pliers. He pushed the blank key inside 36 sma cabinet lock, gently turning it from side to side. After a moment, he withdrew it and examined @':jbe black markings on it. Holding the key with the pliers, he carefully filed off the black spots. put the key into the lock again, and repeated the ure. He was humming quietly to himself as he the lock, and he smiled as he suddenly realized he was humming: ' Away.

Places'. I'll take ",;fty family on vacation, he thought happily. A real I'll bet the kidy w6uld love Hawaii. ' cabinet drawer came open, and he pulled it toward him. It took only a moment to find the folder he wanted. He removed a small, Pentax camera from @;,his briefcase and went to work. Ten minutes later he was finished. He took several pieces of Kleenex from the briefcase, walked over to the water cooler, and wet them. He returned to the filing room and wiped up the steel shavings on the floor. He locked the file cabinet, made his way out to the corridor, locked. the front door to the offices, and left the building.

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