Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis Chapter 3

Republisher’s Note: This fanfic is told from the perspective of Ben Reade (in this world the natural son of Fletcher and Mauve who did not die young). Ben is about 10 years younger than Michelle and after his father dies, basically of old age, he’s following up on strange notes Fletcher kept about the Santos family with Cardinal Ray Santos.

Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis – Chapter 3

I slept late that Sunday morning. After getting a long soaking shower, I called my girlfriend back in Baltimore to tell her that Dad had expired and gave her some numbers to call that needed to be notified of his death. It seemed so strange and weird to be in this house without the presence and energy of my father. I sensed that his spirit was still in these walls. Any sound that I heard, I half-expected to see him coming around the corner.

The one thing that I could be grateful for was Dad had made all of his own funeral arrangements when my mother died. Some how I felt more comfortable in Dad’s study. If I closed my eyes, I knew that his image would materialize in this room. I sat in his chair and rested the back of my head against the old leather chair. Right next to the desk was that wooden rocker where I always sat on those evenings that Dad and I talked about life. What forces people to leave a place as comfortable as this? As I ran my fingers on the top of his oak desk, my eyes shut again and I saw those long fingers typing on the old Royal typewriter. Now a computer had replaced that typewriter. Even at his age, Dad had stepped into the future.

The smell of the fresh brewed coffee awakened me from the past and called me into the real world. With the hot cup of coffee in one hand, I went to retrieve the Sunday paper off of the front porch. The paper had been carefully placed on the wicker table beside the white wicker swing. This was the place that Dad and Mom always read the paper when weather permitted and every paperboy knew the routine. This was a warm fall day and the perfect place to browse the paper and enjoy the first cup of coffee. The headlines read: CARDINAL SANTOS-HEART ATTACK. Underneath the headlines was a picture of Father Ray Santos, Dr. Michelle Bauer-Santos and Daniel M. Santos from a previous appearance at a Cedars Hospital Charity Event. The picture had to be taken over 30-40 years ago and come from an old newspaper file of pictures. Dr. Bauer-Santos hair was long and curly and she appeared very pregnant. The men in the picture both seemed to be under her spell. The thought appeared to me that these old pictures are usually downright funny and hideous. This picture was anything but that. It was exquisite and revealed three very happy people.

I had half expected that the Springfield Journal would at least given the headlines to the death of its editor. Well, Dad would never want to replace a Cardinal in newspaper fashion. My energy was turned to cleaning out Dad’s study. The endless boxes of papers were Dad’s treasures. As I sorted the boxes, it became clear to me how well organized each box was arranged. The floppies were neatly stacked and for fun I slipped one into the disc drive. A screen came up requiring a user name and password. Why would my father store information like this? His tendency was to be open in all of his business dealings. This was out of character of the man that I knew well. Where were the magic words that I wanted so badly? Questions came racing into my mind. The most pressing question was would I ever gain access to the file? With the limited time that I had; I decided to pack all the floppies and the computer to take back with me to Baltimore. I found the original boxes in the closet. I picked up the computer to place in the box and underneath the computer was a yellow legal size paper with the words that I had believed to be lost in time. User Name: Fletcher- Pass Word- Mob Cardinal In reverse order, I had the computer up and running. The power of correct words never ceases to amaze me. They reaffirmed that fact. The screen opened up, I saw the picture of a young Ray Santos on the screen. The dates under the screen started in November 1998 and ended September 5 2048. This was a recent entry judging from the date on the screen. What was the connecting point from Father Ray to the Mob Cardinal?

While I had grown up in Springfield, the general knowledge of mob activity in the community had been little activity. We were a couple of hours drive from Chicago. Chicago was the place were the dreaded mob existed and not here in Springfield. If I had any memories of Father Ray, they were of a Catholic priest well beloved by all faiths. Why would Dad have chosen such a harsh title? With the phone already in my hand, I made a call to the Catholic Diocese in Chicago. The priest answering the phone said that the Cardinal was recuperating from Open Heart Surgery in Cedars Hospital. After his release, he would be at a Catholic retreat for at least four weeks before resuming his duties. I was informed that a written request for an audience with the Cardinal was required. There could be no guarantee if the audience would be granted. Four weeks was a short time to find out all that I needed to know before I sat in front of the Cardinal.

How was I going to obtain information about this high profile person without creating a cloud of suspicion? This man had once been considered as the top candidate to be the new Pope. The Baltimore Sun had many resources and informants. I needed to be ever so careful. I called an old retired FBI agent that kept his sailboat down several slips from mine in Annapolis. David had all types of inside FBI sources. The FBI brotherhood stayed tight with each other. If you were one of the old boys; anything was always available without any questions asked. David’s wife Vicky answered the phone.

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