Michael Hinston sat back in a leather chair which had been a gift from a Congressman from Mississippi who had recently remodeled his office, had no need for the extra furniture piece and “saw no reason for it to go to waste.”
In Michael’s hand was a plain manila envelope–the kind you would buy at a dollar store. There was no writing on the outside, except in the lower right hand corner, in small letters, was the name, Milford Hayes.
It did not take Michael any time at all to recollect who Milford Hayes was. Ever since the visit in his office, when he was given the fifty thousand dollars from Caine Industries, he had recalled the conversation with the stranger many, many times.
He hated himself because he hadn’t kicked the bastard out the door.
He hated himself for being part of a political system that allowed such corruption.
He hated himself because corporations thought they could buy and sell politicians like sides of beef.
He also hated himself because he had already spent some of the money.
And unlike more noble souls who could suddenly possess a fit of conscience and give the money back, he had no such resource.
He was in.
Whatever “in” meant.
And apparently, with the arrival of this envelope, he was about to find out.
He picked up the phone and asked his secretary to hold all calls, though nobody was actually phoning him. This was another troubling part of his journey in Washington. He had been elected by rural hometown folks in Ohio, but nobody in the Capitol even knew he was alive.
He had thought he was going to be invited to dinner with the President, but when it turned out that his vote was not needed for an upcoming piece of legislation, apologies were offered and he ended up eating pepperoni pizza with his family.
So now, sitting in his cast-off chair, in his uncomfortable office, with the knowledge in his mind that his wife and children despised their new home, he slowly opened the envelope.
Pulling out the contents, he found a clump of press clippings held together with a paper clip, and a white business envelope with the words “For the Kids” written on the outside.
He set the white envelope to the side and thumbed through the articles. They had one central theme–they were tiny news announcements, reports, opinions and press releases about his friend, Matthew, taking on the Harts fortune to popularize Jesus.
Included was an 8 X 10 glossy picture of a young man with long hair. Scrawled in magic marker across the photo was the name, Jubal Carlos.
Satisfied that he had discovered the essence of the newspaper clippings, he moved toward the business envelope. He opened it. Inside was a note written on 20-pound typing paper, along with ten one hundred-dollar bills. The note read:
It’s time to do something. It’s time for you to earn your money. Your nosy friend has decided to take on the challenge and we must do what is necessary to stall his efforts. The picture is of Jubal Carlos, a freelance musician from Las Vegas who lives on the street with the homeless and the indigent. Your buddy from college plans on using him. Don’t you think it would be a good idea for you to use your congressional clout to have the local authorities investigate him? It couldn’t hurt, right?
I have enclosed some “pin money” for little Alisa and Bernice. Stay faithful. Milford Hayes.
Michael put the letter down and stared at the picture of Jubal Carlos. He didn’t know what to do. The young man in the photograph certainly seemed likeable–a bright countenance.
Why would he want to trouble someone causing no trouble?
Why would he allow himself to be part of some plot against an old friend?
Why should he care what a dead, old billionaire wanted to do with the rest of his money?
But what truly haunted Michael was the thousand dollars. Just twenty minutes earlier, his wife, Barbara, had called to tell him that the school was launching a field trip to New York City. There would be additional expense. The secretary from the school said it would cost $500 for each daughter. Barbara apologized for laying a thousand-dollar burden on his mind while he was at work.
Michael paused, shaking his head. Now, twenty minutes later, he was staring at a thousand dollars in cash. A coincidence? A miracle? A blessing?
Or did Milford Hayes and Caine Industries know too much about his daughters?
Published by Jonathan Cring