Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis Chapter 5

Republisher’s Note: Ben Reade is tracing his father’s story about Cardinal Ray Santos by interviewing him.

Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis – Chapter 5

I braced myself to take the anticipated onslaught. The attack never came to my astonishment. Rather the saga of a family unfolded as I was transported to another moment in Springfield lore. The memoirs of the family were full of tradition and allegiance to each other. Loyalty was expected and respected. The family functioned under a blood oath. The oath was a lifetime commitment and never negotiable. Each family unit was part of a larger community. The family, business, and church were the guiding lines of all operations. The family with the most power was the family that demanded and got the most respect. “Our family had come from Spain. After our arrival in this country, our families found that to survive the old ways of doing business had to be used. My family became the one with the most power. The blood that ran in the streets had paid for the power.”

The cardinal adjusted his position in the high back chair, placing one of his hands on the cross in front of his red robe. Rubbing the cross as if to determine the path he wanted to travel. His words were carefully chosen as started the story. “Mr. Reade, your father’s story is about the Santos family, but the slant of his story isn’t what you may have assumed. I dare say that your first hunch about your father was dead on. He had kept silent for a long time. I think the reason will become evident when you have heard it all. Are you aware that the Santos name means a family of saints in Spanish? During my lifetime, I have had to battle the La Familia and the call of God. I chose God to survive my own family’s way of life. It wasn’t as easy for others in my family.”

As the Cardinal talked, you could visualize a tape of his life and others was being cycled in his mind.

“Father Ray”, I said,” This isn’t a story that will ever see the light of day in my newspaper. I am aware that it is a story of some importance if my father kept a file for over 40 years. He must have seen or been drawn into some compelling story. My father never printed a word about the Springfield mob. The question in my mind is why did he keep silent?”

“Do you believe in the power of love, Mr. Reade?  That is where your answer lies. Perhaps that is what your father saw and kept quiet to protect the future of the innocent. Let me tell you the story, as I know it from my own eyes. It’s a long story and still ongoing as we speak. I can’t give you that much time today but let me set up a time on my schedule with my secretary. Let me think about where I should start.”

I thanked him for his time and watched as he leaned back into his chair. I could sense that he was traveling back to the days of his youth. A smile appeared on his face.

*****

He recalled well the day the light was introduced to the Santos family again. It was warm summer night and he was meeting his cousin Danny Santos for dinner at a new club called the Y2K. “The club catered to the college crowd. My cousin wanted to check the club out and invited me to have some dinner there. As usual, I had gotten to the club a little early. I remember meeting the owner, a very young woman. I requested a table for two and waited for Danny to arrive. Danny had been a little late arriving at the club that night. Danny walked over to the table and began his usual casing of the room with his eyes. We ordered drinks and made general conversation about the atmosphere of the club. Danny seemed distracted by a beautiful petite girl with honey blonde hair standing at the bar talking with several other people that she obviously knew. My first impression of her was one of being very relaxed and confident as she interacted with those in her presence. My cousin ‘s eyes followed her movements about the club. I sat there and watched Danny and I thought to myself that I needed to get out of here and let the man make his move on her. Finally, I said, ‘Danny Boy the club looks good to me but I get that feeling that some lady in black with honey blonde hair has a lot of your attention.Do I sense some interest here?'”

“He sheepishly smiled and said, ‘I met her outside in the parking lot when she and I got out of our cars at the same time. She had crawled out the passenger’s side as he got out of his side.’ He had first noticed her legs and the revealing black thigh stockings. His eyes had traveled up her body to those captivating large brown eyes.”

After getting both feet on the ground she quickly adjusted the bottom of her black velvet dress. Then she pulled up the top of the strapless dress that previously had revealed her deep cleavage. She blushed as she realized that Danny had watched her making the dress adjustments. She started to fasten the top of her convertible down on his side of her car. Their first engagement in conversation had involved her asking him if he intended to help her or just stare at her. Danny smiled back at the petite blonde and said, “I think you have everything under control but I’ll be glad to buy you a drink inside the club for all the energy that you have had to expend.”

She turned around and said, “I don’t think so” as she leaned into his face. He looked down at her shoulder and his eyes came to rest on her breasts. He guessed that her bra size was a 34-c, dress size 5 and would be a man’s delight to explore in bed. She was well aware that he was looking her body over good. This guy was as handsome as any that she had ever seen in Springfield. His olive skin and thick curly hair had left an impression in her mind. She could imagine her fingers running through those curls. He was tall and with the second glance, she realized he was older. This was a good reason why she hadn’t ever seen him around the usual places that she went. She thought to her self this medical school is taking up a lot of my personal time. If she wasn’t meeting friends from the hospital for drinks, she might have enjoyed taking this man up on the drink. Maybe inside, the opportunity could present itself again. He didn’t need to have his ego further stroked by showing that she may be interested.

She left him standing alone in the parking lot. He pulled his cell phone out of his coat pocket and walked behind her car. “Hey, I want you to run this license tag number for a 1998 VW convertible. Send the information to my fax at the lake house.”

Ray smiled at Danny and said “You know she looks very Anglo.”

Danny stood up and said, “I’ll be back.” He approached the honey blonde sitting on a barstool. From behind her, he placed both of his arms on the bar counter, which prevented her from escaping his attention. He whispered in her ear, “I’ll buy you that drink now.”

She turned her head at a slight angle and whispered to the side of his cheek in a purring voice. “ I have a drink.”

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