Read Microsoft Word - 42E56D97-71A2-202C9A.doc text version

A Crack In The Dike Part V ­The Betrayal

291

Part V ­ The Betrayal May 10 1998

It was a phrase I'd remember for the rest of my life. "It seems like a particularly aggressive growth." Dr. Abernathy said matter-of-factly, as though she was reading an item on a grocery list. "...an aggressive growth?" I thought. "How can a growth be aggressive? It's just a growth. We have all of the miracles of modern medicine at our fingertips. We should be able to take care of these things with some routine outpatient surgery and that should be that." Deanne had been experiencing prolonged vaginal bleeding for a while now. I hadn't noticed it. I guess it's just something that guys don't pay any attention to. The only thing that gets our attention is that when the woman we love is suffering from the discomfort of the visit from her "little friend" every month, the sex stops abruptly. Sex is summarily replaced with a long string of complaints about everything from her A-hole boss to her Zebra print spandex tights not fitting comfortably. All we know, as men, is that the sex has stopped and we should shut the hell up if we know what's good for us. In a week or so things would be back to normal. Hopefully, the "good lovin'" would continue on schedule. I'd noticed that over the last few months that the amount of time that Deanne wanted nothing to do with me had actually surpassed the amount of time that she was enjoying our normal sexual relationship. I'd notice that there was occasional blood on the sheets after intercourse, which had not happened in the past, but neither Deanne nor I thought much of it. In hindsight, we should have recognized that something was wrong, but neither of us, especially me, had any real experience with gynecological difficulties. At today's meeting with Dr. Abernathy we discussed the next steps for Deanne and what we needed to do for treatment. Dr. Abernathy was a relatively young, forty-something, yet very confident and knowledgeable specialist at the Cleveberg Clinic. We were referred to Dr. Abernathy through the normal channels. She was an authority on gynecological disorders and an extremely skilled surgeon. She

292

th

A Crack In The Dike

specialized in the treatment of ovarian cancer. several months, after seeing several physicians Clinic, Deanne was eventually referred to Unfortunately, after weeks of tests and analysis, diagnosed with Stage II ovarian cancer. Over a period of at the Cleveberg Dr. Abernathy. Deanne had been

The whole process actually started a few months earlier. Deanne had begun experiencing pain and prolonged bleeding during and after intercourse and her cycle had become heavier and more extended. I had noticed that she was becoming anemic. Her skin was a bit pale, especially around her eyes and she seemed uncharacteristically tired. She would nearly fall asleep in the office in the afternoon. She would leave work at 5:00 PM, skip dinner and fall fast asleep until she woke the next day ready to start over again. She was wearing down. She needed ten hours of sleep, or more, every day, or she couldn't function. The skin around her eyelids was turning a yellowish tone and I had feared she had contracted hepatitis or some other strange disorder. Deanne, on the other hand, as many women do, kept insisting that there was nothing wrong. She knew many women her age who were going through the same symptoms. They were having, what she called "an early change of life". I thought, at the time, that this made sense. After all, discussions surrounding menopause symptoms is something that women don't readily share with men other than their husbands. They have no reason to. Deanne's symptoms began to worsen over time to the point where she actually blacked out in the shower one morning. Finally, after my urging, she agreed to make an appointment at the Cleveberg Clinic to talk to a gynecologist about what in the world might be going on. The whole process began with an appointment scheduled in the Crile Building A. The Clinic was a sprawling campus. An impressive facility highly regarded as one of the premier health care facilities in the Midwest, if not the country. It was a beautiful spring morning and I drove Deanne down Carnegie Avenue to a parking structure on East 101st Street. We strolled around aimlessly for a few minutes, stopping for directions and eventually we found the Crile Building A. The "system" was impressive. It reminded me of a factory. The whole process was very efficient and sterile. The people were extremely professional and they were adept at processing as many

293

Part V ­ The Betrayal

patients as possible, while making sure that they addressed all of the patient's questions and concerns. The OB/GYN department had a hotel-like front desk staffed by nurse-receptionists who spent their days getting all of the patient information into the Clinic's computer system. There was a twenty-minute interview by the receptionist who was very courteous and polite, but a bit too professional for my liking. It wasn't as though she didn't care about Deanne's condition, I'm sure she did. In the receptionist's defense, I think she had probably done this so many times that the whole process was painfully routine to her. Unfortunately, the result was that I perceived her to be a bit unsympathetic or even cold. I don't know, maybe it was me. I was very concerned about my sweetie and it was clear to me that I had absolutely no control over this situation. Perhaps I was transferring a bit of my frustration onto the receptionist even though she didn't deserve it. The twenty-minute interview was followed by a twenty-minute delay in the waiting room on the eighth floor. The view of the city from the eighth floor was beautiful. I held Deanne's hand as we stared out the window to the courtyard and gardens below. In an hour or so this would all be over I thought. The physician on duty would prescribe some wonder drug to make Deanne's bleeding stop. Her anemia would reverse its course and she would be as good as new in a couple of weeks. Then we could get back to the business of the tasteful fulfillment of all my sexual fantasies with no fear of having to share Deanne with those pesky, prolonged, monthly visits from her annoying "little friend". I waited behind as Deanne went in to get her initial examination. Time passed by slowly as I read an old copy of Sports Illustrated that they apparently had left there for the errant male that happened to wander into the OB/GYN waiting room. Not surprisingly, I was the only guy there from the minute I stepped off the elevator with Deanne, which made sense I guess. The patients and the people in the waiting area were exclusively female. The nurses were female. Even the physicians were all female. Not a man in the bunch. This was most probably because, I f I were a woman, and someone was going to be poking around in my Mrs. Happy Place looking for something, I suppose I would prefer that it would be a woman doing the poking. I mean, if I had to have someone poking around my meat-puppet, I would want it to be a woman. Women are

294

A Crack In The Dike

gentler and they understand pain and suffering so much better than men. Women are compassionate by nature. A woman will sincerely ask you if what they are doing is causing you any "discomfort". A guy will ask the same question, but he will be thinking "that can't possibly hurt....you wussy....suck it up and let's get on with this." Again, just my opinion, but given equivalent training and experience, I'd much rather have a woman poking and prodding my genitals than a man. I waited for an hour as Deanne was being examined. I later learned that the physician first performed a pelvic exam on Deanne. Deanne described it as being put in the stirrups and letting the physician poke around to see what she could feel. Noting several abnormalities the physician next performed a vaginal probe ultrasound. The physician took a tiny ultrasound camera mounted on the end of a twenty-inch surgical steel rod and inserted it into Deanne's Mrs. Happy Place. Needless to say I cringed when she was explaining this process to me and I was glad I was not there to witness it. Prior to inserting the probe, they filled Deanne's uterus with a saline solution in order to perform the ultrasound-Sonohysterogrami. Finally, to be sure that they understood exactly what they were looking at, they performed a hysteroscopy. This procedure, I'm told, is the insertion of a tiny little microscope into the uterus to see exactly what is going on. The results of the pelvic exam, the Sonohysterogrami and the hysteroscopy are compared and reviewed by several physicians and a diagnosis and course of treatment is determined. Deanne had been diagnosed with a "submucous myoma", which is a uterine fibroid, or growth, which partially blocked the uterine cavity and partially embedded in the wall of the uterus. This growth was about the size of an apricot and would grow and shrink depending on Deanne's estrogen level. The consensus course of action by the physicians was to treat the myoma with a "GnRH Agonist", a form of medication, which induces a temporary menopause, causing the myoma to shrink. If the symptoms didn't abate within a reasonable amount of time, the next step would be to have Deanne undergo a hysteroscopic resection to remove the fibroid/myoma. The hysteroscopic resector is a hysteroscope (tiny microscope) with a surgical metal loop on the end which can be used to cut through tissue

295

Part V ­ The Betrayal

inside the uterus. Ironically, as I was told, the hysteroscopic resector had been used for years to work on men's prostate plumbing problems and, had only recently, been adapted to be used inside the uterus. Well, it was just as I had hoped and expected. Deanne would be fine. She had been checked out by a team of professionals and we had a plan. We would make our way to the pharmacy that afternoon, get Deanne on her medication, and in no time at all she would be as good as new, fit as a fiddle and ready for love.

March 3rd 1998

Several weeks had gone by now and Deanne just did not seem to be getting any better. She was taking her medication as prescribed but the bleeding just didn't stop. Just as before, she had been having periods of intermittent bleeding, sometimes heavier than others, but there seemed to be little, if any improvement in her condition. They had tested her red cell count when she had been examined a month ago and it was low then, the most likely cause of the mild anemia. But, as I watched her become more fatigued by the day, I began to believe that there was something more that needed to be done. Perhaps the myoma was simply not shrinking to the point that it should. Perhaps the medication was too low a dosage. Whatever the problem both Deanne and I knew that we needed to follow up with the physicians at the Clinic and let them know that we needed a better plan. In early April, Deanne made another appointment at the clinic and they referred her to a specialist. This was the first time we were to meet Dr. Abernathy. We checked in at the main desk, as we had done before and sat in the waiting room overlooking the garden, as we had done before. They called Deanne, as they had done before. She walked up to the receptionist's desk and gave her name. Since she had already been there several times and her file in the computer was probably more complete and consequently, more personal than any file in the history of record keeping, her interview took only a few minutes. She came back out into the waiting room and sat next to me. She was nervous and she grasped my hand for comfort. I could not

296

A Crack In The Dike

even imagine what she was going through. She was in pain, she was frightened and she needed me to be there. We needed to figure out what was wrong. "Dr. Abernathy will see you now." A nurse said to Deanne as she came forward to escort her into one of the examination rooms down the hall. I stayed behind in the waiting room. They had Deanne put on one of those little half-open-in-the-back gowns which everyone who has ever been to the hospital hates to wear. She sat on the table waiting for Dr. Abernathy to arrive. A few minutes passed and Dr. Abernathy eventually walked into the examination room reading Deanne's file as she entered. "Hello Deanne." Dr. Abernathy said with a disarming smile. Dr. Joyce Abernathy was all of five feet tall. She was confident and personable and had a way of listening to her patients, which few physicians have mastered. It was as though she could actually, to steal a phrase from Bill Clinton, "feel their pain." She had a way of talking to patients, communicating with them to make sure they understood what was happening, that made her patients feel comfortable with her judgment. She used "big words" in nearly every sentence, because she was clearly comfortable using them with other doctors and staff, but she would take the time to translate nearly every sentence of her professionally crafted multi-syllable laden discussion into language that her patients understood. She made certain that her patient really had a grasp on what the issues were, what the treatment was and what the expected outcome would be. Perhaps that was one of the reasons she was so highly regarded in her field. According to the articles and awards on display in the waiting room, Dr. Abernathy was an authority on many topics whose subject names I could neither pronounce nor spell. She was obviously a driving force in the department. You could tell she was in charge by the way the other physicians and nurses literally fell all over themselves to make sure that Doctor Abernathy approved of their work. Every person around her made a great effort to understand exactly what Dr. Abernathy wanted, how she wanted it, and when it needed to be done. It was clear that the department and all of its operations were her domain

297

Part V ­ The Betrayal

and her responsibility. She was an incredible physician. Deanne was indeed fortunate to have Dr. Abernathy assigned to her case. Dr. Abernathy asked Deanne to lie down on the table and began the examination, gently feeling around Deanne's abdomen looking for signs of tenderness or any abnormalities, which, through her years of experience, she could almost magically detect. After a few minutes of pelvic examination, Dr. Abernathy began using a "miniultrasound" device, which allowed her to view various parts of Deanne's anatomy "on the fly". This was apparently a very handy device. There was a sensor, about as big as a computer mouse with several controls on it, which allowed Dr. Abernathy to focus the image on a mini-television screen at the side of the examination table. Dr. Abernathy would determine where she wanted to look and would adjust the depth and width of the image accordingly. This went on for several minutes with Dr. Abernathy clicking the "save" button on the device more than a dozen times. She captured these images for further review and would, I'm sure, try to figure out what they all meant at a later date. After she finished up with the mini-ultrasound, she called in a nurse and asked her to draw some blood. She also requested a series of tests, again with names I could not pronounce. Deanne got dressed and met me back out in the waiting room. After a few more minutes Dr. Abernathy called us back to her office and talked in great detail about what she had done and what her thoughts were. "Well...." Dr. Abernathy began. "We have several things going on here. The medication for the fibroids had actually worked quite well. The submucous fibroid, or myoma, that we were initially concerned about has been reduced in size from about 4 cm down to less than 2 cm. Which is very good progress. But, interestingly, the pain and bleeding you're experiencing is actually not coming solely from the fibroid. You also have a relatively large ovarian cyst. Basically, the hypothalamic-pituitary axis controls the production of hormones that regulate follicular maturation and degeneration. Multiple follicies occur during the menstrual cycle, however, only one follicle reaches maturity and produces estrogen. The follicle, or cyst transforms into

298

A Crack In The Dike

a corpus luteum and produces progesterone until the beginning of Deanne's next cycle. " Now I was lost. I had no idea what Dr. Abernathy was telling us. I could only hope that at some point she would exercise her innate ability to communicate with us mere mortals and give us the layman's version of what she was talking about. "At that time the follicle usually atrophies into the corpus albicans." Dr. Abernathy continued in the same undecipherable medical gibberish that she had been spouting for the last few minutes. "....follicular dysgenesis happens when either the hypothalamicpituitary malfunctions or because of native anatomic defects in the reproductive system. When follicular development into the corpus luteum is arrested, a luteal ovearian cyst is the most common result." "Two types of ovarian cysts may develop." Dr. Abernathy continued painfully on in her own diabolical language. "There are follicular cysts, or graafian follicular cysts, which generally occur in the first two weeks of the cycle, and corpus luteal cysts which generally occur in the last half of the cycle. The rupture of the follicular cyst, which Deanne has, can lead to the type of sharp, severe pain that she has been experiencing. This pain, unfortunately, is not that uncommon and occurs, in al least some degree in roughly 25% of menstruating women. From what I've seen so far on the ultra-sound we will most likely need to schedule a laparoscopy. I've ordered some additional tests, specifically, another Cancer-Antigen 125 to determine if there is any possibility of a malignancy. The last CA-125 came back slightly elevated and I'd like to check it again." I looked back at Dr. Abernathy, then over at Deanne. Everything the doctor had said was way over my head. It was way past Greek to me. The only thing I really understood was the last part about "Cancer" and "Malignancy" and it scared me nearly to tears. "Deanne might have cancer?" I asked with a quiver in my voice.

299

Part V ­ The Betrayal

"There is always a possibility. We need to be thorough. My job is to keep you informed." Dr. Abernathy said in a consoling, big-sister-ish tone of voice. Before this discussion, I used to think that Dr. Abernathy was a great communicator, yet I didn't understand a word she had told us, and worse, now I was scared shitless. Deanne was trembling. I could see that she was very concerned. Many things must have been rushing through her mind. My thoughts were racing a mile a minute as well. It's a surreal feeling when professional people are talking about cancer as it relates to you or your loved ones. In their lingo it's another day at the office, in your mind it's as though you're immediately engaged in an imaginary battle to the death with some gargantuan unbeatable demon. "Dr. Abernathy?" Deanne asked. "Could you explain it again? I mean, I'm not sure I know what you're telling me." "Sure." Dr. Abernathy started again. "When a woman ovulates, her unfertilized eggs generally get flushed from her system through her cycle. Sometimes, in your case Deanne, the process goes a bit haywire and the egg actually forms a small cyst, maybe the size of a small plum. This cyst can become inflamed, infected or even burst, causing the pain you've been experiencing. The first time we treated you, the cysts weren't apparent. In fact, we treated you for another problem all together, the fibroids, which seem to have subsided a bit from the medication, but the fibroids actually disguised the real problem, which was the cyst. That's what's really causing your discomfort." "And what are we going to do? I mean, you're going to operate? Remove the cyst?" "Yes. That's exactly what we're going to do. The laparoscopy I mentioned will be the procedure I'll use to surgically remove the cyst. It's routine surgery, most likely done on an outpatient basis. You won't even need to be admitted to the hospital. We should be able to perform the surgery in an hour or two in the morning and get you back on your feet by the afternoon."

300

A Crack In The Dike

"What exactly is a laparoscopy?" Deanne asked. "Well, it's very much like the hysteroscopic resection that we did to treat your fibroids, except that, rather than using the hysteroscope to go in through your cervix, we actually need to make an incision and use the laporoscope to get at your cyst through your belly button. Again, it's not what we would refer to as major surgery, the incision is only a few millimeters wide and we generally follow the umbilical cavity down to the cyst. Once we locate the cyst we will look it over with the tiny micro-camera in the laparoscope and decide how to best remove it. It's a very simple operation really. We do them all the time. You shouldn't worry. We can take care of this and you should be good as new a few days after the operation. You should see an immediate cessation in your bleeding and your anemia should abate. As I said, we need to look at a few more things, but I'm relatively certain that this is the way to go." "You're going to shove a camera down her belly button?" I asked. "Yes." Dr. Abernathy replied smiling. "I know it sounds odd, but yes, that's the procedure." Dr. Abernathy responded. "Here, let me show you. A picture is worth a thousand words." She walked into another room and brought back a pamphlet describing the procedure. She also brought back the business end of a laparoscope. The device looked like something out of a James Bond torture scene. The laparoscope was about two feet long with a thin flexible metallic probe which apparently contained the camera and surgical apparatus. "You're going to put that thing down Deanne's belly button?" I asked again. "Yes." Dr. Abernathy answered again with confidence. This was one of those times when I questioned the wisdom of medical science. It wasn't all that long ago that they were drilling holes in people's skulls to free evil spirits from the heads of insane people. I could not help but wonder who might have been the first surgeon to have come up with the concept of shoving a camera probe into

301

Part V ­ The Betrayal

someone's belly button to remove a cyst. How did they come up with this stuff? Who could have thought that was a good idea? What were these cysts anyway? Was it really that serious and painful that the cure might not be worse than the illness? I cringed when Dr. Abernathy handed me the laparoscope. As I held it I imagined someone shoving it into my abdomen through my belly button. I imagined Dr. Abernathy, with her knee on Deanne's chest, ramming the laparoscope into her midsection. "Just a little farther and I've got it..." Yeeesh....what a horrible feeling. Deanne and I sat silently while Dr. Abernathy described the laparoscope in detail as well as the advances that have been made regarding ovarian cysts over the years. We weren't really paying that much attention. Our minds had wandered, contemplating the upcoming surgery and the possibility that Deanne might have cancer. "Dr. Abernathy?" Deanne interrupted. "What is the probability that I might have cancer?" Dr. Abernathy paused for a bit. "Well, we don't know enough to say right now, but the probability seems to be very low. From everything I see in front of me, it's very low." "How low? In percentage terms?" I asked, as long as Deanne had brought it up. "Well." Dr. Abernathy paused. "Generally speaking, less than 3% of ovarian cysts are malignant. In Deanne's case we have nothing here that would lead me to believe that there is any indication of cancer. Again, we are reviewing the data and taking every precaution, but I won't know with certainty until we remove the cyst and take a biopsy." Once I heard the 3% number I felt somewhat relieved. "3%? 3% is nothing. 3% is no chance." I thought. On the other hand, Deanne plays the lottery every week and her odds of winning it are many times worse than 3%. I would have felt much better if Dr. Abernathy would have said "a million to one".

302

A Crack In The Dike May 2nd 1998

Well, this was the day. This was "laparoscopy day". Like so many days over the last few months, I picked Deanne up in my Ford Explorer and headed down Carnegie Avenue to the Crile Building A on a beautiful spring morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and we were on our way to have surgery. This time was a bit different. Rather than performing the procedure at the Crile Building A, they sent us to the surgery center located a few blocks up Carnegie and we waited in a different waiting room, although it was very much the same as the waiting room at Crile. The décor and the furniture, even the artwork on the walls was similar. The only noticeable difference was that this waiting room was on the first floor, without windows or a view, rather than the upper floor at Crile with a view of the gardens. We really enjoyed looking out at those gardens together. They called Deanne to the main desk and asked her to go back to get "prepped", whatever that entailed. They handed me a pager and gave me instructions on how to return the call. They said that the pager was made available to me to keep me informed on Deanne's progress throughout the surgery, but what I heard, at least my interpretation, was that they wanted to be able to reach me immediately just in case something went horribly wrong. In any event, I had the pager and they asked me to sit in the waiting room while Deanne was "prepped" and I would be able to go back in a few minutes to see her. I sat quietly waiting for what seemed to be a very short time and my pager went off. I took out my cell phone and called the number on the pager. I watched as the nurse at the desk picked up the phone. "Hello." I said. "My pager just went off, what should I do?" "What is your pager number?" "19687823K" "Mr. Woodbright?" I saw the nurse ask me this question into her headset. She was sitting only a few feet away. "Yes. It's me, right over here. Could I just come up to the desk and talk to you in person?" The nurse smiled and motioned to me to step up to the desk once she realized I was sitting only a few feet from her.

303

Part V ­ The Betrayal

"You can go back to see Deanne now. She's in room #21. Take the hallway past the second nurses' station. Turn right and look for room #21. It will be several doors down on your left. Follow the signs. You can't miss it." I followed the nurse's directions and knocked lightly on the half open door marked "#21". As I walked in I saw Deanne lying on one of those half-gurney-half-hospital-beds-on-wheels. The bed was raised to about waist level. Deanne was plugged into all sorts of contraptions. She had a monitor attached to her finger as well as an intravenous tube taped to her left arm. There was a small minicomputer displaying her vital signs in both graphic and digital form attached to her gurney-bed. She smiled at me and I held her hand. Tears welled up in her eyes. "I'm so scared." She said. I took a gulp. "Everything will be ok." I said. "They do these things all the time." This is what I said, but I was probably more frightened about the whole thing than she was. I kept thinking about all of the articles I'd read over the years about people going into surgery and getting the wrong blood type, having the wrong limb amputated or the wrong organ removed because someone misread something. I remember seeing an X-ray on the Internet of a woman who had an eighteen-inch surgical scissors sewn up inside her abdomen, which the surgeon somehow failed to remove before finishing the operation. "I'm so scared. I don't want them to knock me out. I'm afraid I won't wake up." She said. By now tears were welling up in my eyes. I didn't want her to know I was afraid for her. "These people know exactly what they're doing. Don't worry about a thing. They're professionals." I held her hand tighter. I didn't want her to see my eyes watering, but I'm sure she noticed.

304

A Crack In The Dike

A large African-American male nurse walked into the room with a big smile on his face. "Are you ready to go little lady?" He said with a big smile. "In a few hours you will be good as new. The doctor will fix you right up. Dr. Abernathy is an amazing surgeon." This man had an incredible gift. Those few words and his demeanor made both of us feel much better about what was going on. I couldn't explain it. The large nurse walked around to the stainless steel headboard of the bed, made sure nothing was plugged into a wall socket or would impede his progress, and slowly began to roll Deanne out the door and down the hall to the operating room. "You can walk along for a while if you'd like sir. You can even hold the little lady's hand while we go. It's no problem." We rolled slowly down the hall about a hundred feet and stopped at the door of what I guessed was the operating room. I gave Deanne a kiss on the forehead and told her I loved her and I'd see her soon. She squeezed my hand a bit more firmly, reached up to give me a hug, and she was on her way through the swinging double doors. I stood there in the hall for a few seconds feeling very lonely. The big nurse came back through the door. "Hey my friend, why don't you head down to the cafeteria, we have the best hospital coffee in Cleveland. Your pager will go off in an hour or so and they will tell you that everything went smooth as silk. We do these things all the time. Not to worry my friend." He put his hand on my shoulder and gave me directions to the cafeteria. I sat for about an hour reading the Plain Dealer and sipped a cup of what the big nurse said was the best hospital coffee in Cleveland. It might have been the best hospital coffee in Cleveland but it was still a pretty poor excuse for a cup of coffee. Nonetheless, I set my pager on the table and waited for it to go off. In the meantime I called a florist up the street and asked them if they could deliver a small bouquet of fresh flowers to me so I could take them in to Deanne once she was

305

Part V ­ The Betrayal

done with her surgery. I waited about another forty-five minutes and my pager went off again. I called the number again, gave them my pager number and the nurse gave me an update. "Deanne is out of surgery now and everything went fine. They've got her in recovery and she will be waking up and ready for visitors in about another hour or so. You should be able to go home by 2:00 PM depending on how fast she recovers from the anesthetic." "Everything is Ok....it went well?" "Yes. Dr. Abernathy will be paging you shortly to give you an update." "Thank God." I thought. "My Deanne will be alright." After a few more minutes Dr. Abernathy rang my pager. I called the number back immediately and got Dr. Abernathy's administrative assistant. "Can I speak to the Doctor? This is Mr. Woodbright." I asked. "Please hold and I'll see if she's available." "Mr. Woodbright?" "Yes." "This is Dr. Abernathy. The surgery went just fine. We removed the cyst without complication. We'll be finishing up the lab work over the next few days, but, everything to this point went very well. The nurse at the desk will give you instructions on how to care for Deanne over the next two days. She should be on her feet and doing fine in a day or two. We've also given her some prescriptions, which she will need to have filled. There are four drugs. We've prescribed Percocet and higher strength Ibuprofen for the pain as well as something for her nausea, since she will probably have a reaction to the anesthetic, and an iron supplement to help reverse her anemia. There will be written instructions with these meds. There will also be an emergency number to call at the Clinic if you have any questions at all, or if you suspect that something is not quite right. Do you have any questions?"

306

A Crack In The Dike

"No. No, not right now. Thank you Doctor. You're sure that everything is Ok? I mean Deanne is alright?" "Yes, absolutely. All we need to do is to follow up with the biopsy. But again, from everything I've seen so far, it looks like Deanne will be fine." I was relieved. After another hour or so my pager rang again. I went back to see Deanne, flowers in hand. She smiled when she saw me. I held out the flowers like a little boy might hold out a bouquet to his mother. Her smile grew wider, but she looked exhausted. She had dark circles under her eyes. She had been through quite an ordeal. The nurses kept trying to wake her up, but she clearly wanted to stay asleep. They kept a careful watch on the little mini-computer attached to her gurney-bed, which displayed all of the vital signs. They were most concerned about the oxygen count in her blood. Apparently it was low, which they explained to me was a normal occurrence as a result of anesthesia. They needed her to continue to take deep breaths to get that count up above a certain level. Once she was continually conscious and coherent for more than a half hour and her oxygen count remained consistently above an acceptable level, she would be allowed to leave. I set the flowers on a small table next to Deanne's gurney-bed and sat patiently waiting for her to come completely out of her anesthetic induced nap. Every once in a while the minicomputer would sound a small alarm indicating that Deanne's oxygen count had dipped below an acceptable level and the nurse would come into the room, tap her on the shoulder and ask her to take a few deep breaths. Deanne would react groggily and make an effort to comply with the request. Her oxygen count would immediately rise and the alarm would stop. The first time I heard the alarm it scared the crap out of me. I think it's probably from watching all of those television shows where, if an alarm sounds in a hospital, it automatically meant that the patient was "flat-lining" and they needed to bring in the "paddles....stat". I learned quickly that all patients in the recovery room had all sorts of monitors attached to them. Alarms were always going off. Each alarm required a nurse's response. Each patient request, moan and groan also required a response. I felt sorry for the nurses on duty. They were always springing into action in

307

Part V ­ The Betrayal

response to some alarm, alert, moan or patient request. It was a very tough job, but they seemed to do it with ease. Deanne took a few more deep breaths and sat up a bit in bed. She said she felt sick and very dizzy. The room was spinning. She began to heave and I knew she was going to vomit. I grabbed a small wastebasket I saw in the corner of the room and handed it to her. I immediately called for the nurse. "She's throwing up..." I said. "Yes...poor dear....that happens because of the anesthesia. Many people get extremely nauseous from it." The nurse said. "It will pass." The nurse handed me a little puke-dish, so that if Deanne had to throw up again I could just slide the little dish under her chin and she wouldn't need to use the wastebasket. She had not eaten in nearly a day, so she didn't have anything left in her system to throw up anyway. This was most likely the main reason that they wanted people to fast before surgery. I sat in my little chair handing Deanne her little puke-dish, listening to all sorts of alarms and buzzers and painful sounding moans from patients in other rooms, while I waited to take Deanne home. I looked at my little bouquet of flowers and again over at Deanne. Her buzzer sounded again. I gently shook her by the shoulder and asked her to take a few more deep breaths. The oxygen buzzer stopped just before the nurse stepped into the room. She gave me a smile as if to say "good job....thank you". This process went on for another hour or so and we finally were able to leave around 4:00 PM, a little longer than Dr. Abernathy had predicted, but, thank God, we were going home without complications. The large African-American male nurse showed up in Deanne's room with a wheel chair. He helped Deanne into the chair.

308

A Crack In The Dike

"See! I told you this morning. Everything was going to be just fine!" He said with the same gigantic smile he had given us nearly half a day earlier. This time, I believed him.

May 10th 1998

(Back Again....) It was a phrase I'd remember for the rest of my life. "It seems like a particularly aggressive growth." Dr. Abernathy said matter-of-factly, as though she was reading an item on a grocery list. It rang out in my mind as though I'd heard it several times. It was déjà vu....all over again. "....an aggressive growth?" I said. "Just a few days ago you said that everything went fine with the surgery. You said that there were no complications. How can this be?" We sat in disbelief as Dr. Abernathy calmly and matter-of-factly explained the results of the biopsy to Deanne and me. The cyst was malignant and there was a chance that some of the cancer cells had spread. They needed to find out more. "But why didn't this come up when you were doing the surgery last time? Why didn't you see the problem then?" I asked in shock and confusion. "We had no way to determine if there was a cancer until we did the biopsy. The interesting thing about Deanne's case is that the CA-125 results came back only slightly elevated, in other words, her immune system is not producing a level of antigen sufficient to warrant concern that her body is fighting a malignancy. Basically, we have a false negative result on the CA-125. The disturbing news, obviously, is that since Deanne's immune system is not producing the antigen naturally, we will need to get after the problem a bit more vigorously than we would have to do under normal circumstances."

309

Part V ­ The Betrayal

"...a bit more vigorously?" I found myself repeating just about every politically correct phrase Dr. Abernathy said. "What did she mean by "vigorously"? "Deanne's immune system is apparently not equipped to fight cancer." Dr. Abernathy continued. "The human immune system, when attacked by a cancer cell, generally produces antigen, or substances that fight off the disease. In Deanne's case, this isn't happening and we need to help her immune system along." My mind was racing again. "What do we do now?" I asked. "First, we need to take some more pictures to make sure that the cancer hasn't spread past the cyst we removed. Next, if we see anything questionable we need to go back in and surgically investigate. If necessary, we have to remove any additional affected tissue. Finally, as a preventive measure, depending on what we find, I would prescribe a period of chemotherapy for Deanne." Deanne was squeezing my hand more firmly as Dr. Abernathy talked. "I'd like to schedule an MRI for next week. Based on what we find, we'll come up with a schedule for additional surgery, if needed." "The surgery..." I asked. "Will it be the laparoscope again?" "Yes Rob, for Deanne, the process will be virtually identical to the previous surgery, but it will be more exploratory." Dr. Abernathy smiled, apparently thinking that Deanne had thought that the last experience under the knife had been a breeze, not knowing that the anesthesia had made her woozy and nauseous for days. Deanne and I looked at each other, without saying anything to Dr. Abernathy. We each knew that the other was thinking, "How in the world can we go through this again?" Dr. Abernathy continued to smile, telling us everything would be alright. We didn't say much on the ride home. We were too frightened to talk about what Deanne was about to go through.

310

A Crack In The Dike June 2nd 1998

Over the last few weeks Deanne had been through her MRI session and additional surgery. We had arrived at the Crile Building A, to be redirected to the surgery center on several occasions, during the most recent of which they performed what is referred to as a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, a surgical procedure which removes one ovary and one fallopian tube. According to Dr. Abernathy, the tumor was "Stage II". This meant, according to my understanding, that the tumor was relatively small and centralized. There was no immediate need for a full hysterectomy or any more radical surgery. The tumor did not look as though it was spreading. Dr. Abernathy felt that, through her examination, the best course of action would be the removal of one ovary and fallopian tube. Dr. Abernathy had examined and performed biopsies on the undersurface of Deanne's diaphragm; performed pelvic and abdominal peritoneal biopsies and pelvic and para-aortic lymph node biopsies as well as a peritoneal washing. She described these procedures to me with great confidence. Although I didn't understand the terminology, I had tremendous faith in Dr. Abernathy. She was an incredible physician and I knew Deanne was in the best of hands. Deanne had been through several chemotherapy sessions now. They were giving her an adjuvant-cisplatin-based treatment three times a week. I wasn't sure what the adjuvant-cisplatin-based treatment was but I would come to find out that it had the same diabolical effect on Deanne as Pitosin had on Angela. The sessions were to last for six months. The chemo was really taking its toll on Deanne. She seemed to be getting weaker by the day. We would generally arrive at the clinic at about 8:00 AM. The entire treatment would last about 15 minutes. They gave Deanne the drug as a vaccination, almost like a flu shot. She would walk into the little treatment room, the physician on duty would give Deanne the vaccination and we would go back home. It was that simple. The trip to the clinic was painless. Unfortunately, it was her reaction to the drug that caused her incredible discomfort. Within a few hours of the injection, Deanne would become nauseous and need to lie down. She would become extremely fatigued. Deanne and I would go back to her office and try

311

Part V ­ The Betrayal

to get some work done, but over time, we learned that the day of her chemotherapy she usually ended up going home to lie in bed and endure the pain. She would sleep and vomit for a few hours and gradually recover to the point where she could function by the next day. After a full day of feeling "barely bad", as opposed to "kill me now awful" we would head down to the clinic for another shot of chemo and the "mild discomfort" would start all over again. I kept thinking how terrible this must have been for Deanne. Moreover, how in the world would she survive this for six full months? After only a few treatments her arm was beginning to look like a pincushion. Her formerly vibrant complexion was beginning to turn pale and gray. There were clear signs of her hair beginning to thin and fall out. The people at the clinic told us that if Deanne was becoming too uncomfortable with the injections that we could switch to a catheter, which is apparently a device implanted in her vein that allowed them to administer the drug without creating another puncture. They had also given us the name of a wig maker who could apparently take samples of Deanne's hair, before it had become too fragile, blend it with other similar hair and create a wig which would match up with her own pre-cancer hair. Apparently, since they do this a lot, they had all of these things figured out. It was really depressing to think that so many people had to go through this hell that they actually had a Chinese menu system, "one from column A" and "one from column B", set up to prepare people to endure the cancer "process". Deanne had just come home from my office after a non-chemo-off day. She was actually feeling pretty good, relatively speaking. I brought some bland pasta and chicken soup over to her house for dinner and was hoping that I could spend the evening with Deanne and Autumn. I knew Deanne needed her rest since she had another chemotherapy session scheduled for the next day. As I walked in the door Autumn came running to me. She was grinning from ear to ear. She held out a letter with a large red logo in the upper right hand corner. She was jumping around me like a little schoolgirl, which, come to think of it, was exactly what she was. She had been accepted to Cormell University. She was ecstatic. Deanne got up slowly off of the couch, smiled as best she could and walked

312

A Crack In The Dike

toward me. She wrapped her arms around me, hugging me tightly. Tears of joy filled her eyes. "She did it!" Deanne said. "She got in." "I knew she could do it!" I said. I was so proud of all of the work Autumn had done. For the last few months, Autumn had done everything she could think of to convince the admissions committee at Cormell that she had what it took to not only get in, but excel. Her SAT scores were low by Cormell standards. She scored a 1,270. The average SAT score for incoming freshman at Cormell University is about 1,400. Based on that, I had thought she might be a long shot, at best, to get in. But her grades in high school were exceptional. She had been on the track team, the basketball team, the honor society, was the Senior class Salutatorian and had participated in many, many community activities, which she took great care in documenting and making a part of her application to Cormell. She requested several campus visits, met with counselors and spent time on weekends with students through a program which allowed high school seniors to experience college life by living in a dorm and auditing some Saturday classes with enrolled students. She had attached numerous references from high school teachers. Most importantly, she attached letters of recommendation from me as well as other friends of mine who were also Cormell Alumni. All of these efforts apparently overcame the deficiency on her SAT scores and the admissions office, to my great joy, gave her their stamp of approval. "Do you know what this means?" Autumn shouted. "I'm going to College. I've dreamed of going to Cormell ever since you took us there for a football game three years ago. Remember? And now I'm going there. I want to study environmental sciences. I want to study animals and bugs and plants. I want to do so much.....and now I can....now I will! Thank you Rob, thank you so much." She reached out and hugged me so tight I could barely breathe. Deanne looked at me through her hollow, tired, chemo-affected eyes and still managed to glow with happiness for her daughter. I think she felt relieved that Autumn, after all of her efforts wasn't let down.

313

Part V ­ The Betrayal

She had been counting on Cormell. Even though she applied to Ohio State, Penn State, Delaware and Lehigh Universities, it was clear to both Deanne and I that she would have been crushed if she hadn't gotten into Cormell. I had half-expected her to be attending one of her second choices, but, I was wrong. I was never happier to be wrong in my life. Over the next few weeks she would be applying for every loan, grant, scholarship and financial aid program she could find. The cost for room and board was roughly $25,000/yr., but both Deanne and I knew that, even if we had to go into hock up to our eyeballs, that it would be the best investment we could ever have made for her daughter's future. She got PELL grants, government loans, both grants and loans from Cormell, as well as dozens of smaller scholarships, usually under $500, from organizations like the Lions Club, the Cuyahoga County Rotary, the St. Ignatius needy kids fund and others. After all the smoke cleared, Deanne and I would have to come up with roughly $9,000 a year in cash, which Cormell would put on their bursar's installment plan. The installment plan required us to pay roughly $1,000/mo. for the nine months during the school year. Autumn's account would be reevaluated every year. The account would be adjusted depending on the availability of money, loans and grants. The bursar's office indicated that, based on the availability of money from Cormell, the Cormell grants and loans made up most of the difference between the total tuition bill and what we had to pay immediately, we could expect to pay about the same every year until she graduated. We had it all figured out. It would be doable. Deanne was going to beat cancer. My business would flourish and Autumn would graduate from Cormell with honors. Life was good.

July 2nd 1998

Even though Deanne had been fighting her cancer, and without question it had been taking its toll on us, my little investment business had been booming. The markets were on fire. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone past 9,000 and it looked as though the sky was the limit. All of our investments, V-Tek, Unwire, SJD

314

A Crack In The Dike

Monophase, the bio-techs, et al. and the various sector speculations we had made were all going great guns. We didn't make a single bad investment. I can't remember the last time I had "guessed" right on virtually every stock in our portfolio. The money from investors continued to pour in. Deanne and Anita could barely keep up with posting transactions to the customer accounts. We ended up bringing in some part time help from a little employment service up the street. They would send over office help as we needed. We were getting behind on our filing. We were behind on our correspondence and we were behind on answering the phones. Messages were piling up. I was working long hours. Deanne was fighting her illness and doing the best she could. Anita, God bless her, did her best, but she just didn't understand the business well enough yet to be much help other than filing and taking messages. The market, and our success, was causing us some incredible growing pains. We had more than doubled in size again since February. We now had more than $11 million under management with no sign that the money was going to stop flowing in. People liked and respected my investment style. They knew they could trust me, and they knew I would do the right thing with their money. It was an amazing time. Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds were springing up in every office building from New York to LA. Every manager had a better model, a better mousetrap and a better way to do business. Every fund manager had a reputation for honesty and integrity that was beyond reproach. Luckily, our clients could not see how far behind we were getting. In fact, ironically, our client's inability to reach me worked in our favor since they figured my advice and counsel was obviously in such great demand that they would be willing to wait on hold for long periods of time just to speak with me. They would not expect messages to be returned the same day. After all, they rationalized, as silly as it sounded, "The true genius of Mr. Woodbright would not be readily available for the asking". It was important that our clients knew they had something special in Rob Woodbright & Asoociates, and our service was important enough and valuable enough for them to expend a lot of effort to get this valuable service, whatever they perceived it to be. Our little fund began to have a boutique-ish feel to it. I was developing a rock-star persona to a very select bunch of Wall Street groupies.

315

Part V ­ The Betrayal

We would come in to the office early every day, at least on days that Deanne didn't have chemo treatments. Chemo days were a different story. We would work late into the evening non-Chemo days. Unfortunately, on chemo-days Deanne would succumb to the drugs around three or four o'clock in the afternoon. She would take a short nap on the couch in the back room and eventually take the bus home for an evening of shivering, shaking and nausea under her covers. I would work well into the evening and eventually bring her some chicken soup from the Waterstreet Grill. It was the only thing she could usually keep down on chemo-days. It was sad the way we had begun measuring our lives, in terms of chemo-days and non-chemo days. I was getting worn down by the whole thing. It really wasn't fair. My business was flourishing. Autumn was going to be starting her collegiate career at Cormell in a few short months, yet we couldn't enjoy any of it since we had to endure Deanne's fight with cancer and chemo. Our only hope was that in a few more months Deanne would get a clean bill of health and be back to her old self. We would be in love again and our lives would continue on as if they never skipped a beat. The other thing that didn't seem fair to me was that, because of her illness, I didn't feel the same love for Deanne that we had only a few months before. Everything was different. I almost felt guilty about it. The cancer, surgery, treatment and her resulting deteriorating physical condition resulted in my feeling that I was more of a caretaker than a lover. It was different. I loved her more than ever, but it was different. Obviously, our sex life ground to a halt. She rarely touched me and when she did it felt more like a mother touching a son than a woman touching her lover. God, I wanted Deanne back. I wanted to hold the vibrant, loving caring woman that I had fallen in love with. Once she recovered, I rationalized; everything would be the same, just as it had always been. We would run my business, she could handle the customers and I could do the analytical work. We could work hard for a few years and retire on a sailboat down in St. Thomas. We could retire and sail around the Caribbean. That was my dream. I wanted to run my business and retire with Deanne. Even with her cancer, she still gave me goose bumps. I loved her so much.

316

A Crack In The Dike

For now though, our main goal was just to get through the tickling day. Stacks of pink message slips, cash reports, customer information requests, prospectuses and other miscellaneous drudgery were piling up on our desks. It was a nightmare. We couldn't keep up but we had to. I'll bet I had been talking to more than one hundred people a day, either explaining our investment philosophy or answering questions about our holdings. I wanted to give every customer immediate personal service, but it was getting more and more difficult. The business was getting too big. We raised our minimum investment to $25,000 to try to curtail the number of customers investing in our fund. Again, ironically, increasing the minimum actually increased the number of customer inquiries and commensurate investments rolling in. People saw this increase as a sign that the fund was becoming more selective in its clients and there was a mad rush to join our little club. We had made some excellent stock picks and the market was rewarding us. At the same time these relatively small amounts of money were pouring into our fund, other Hedge Funds were experiencing similar conditions, of course on a much larger scale. Through the spring the markets had become a bit jittery, yet they continued to rise, fueled by the continuing influx of money from institutions as well as the expectation that every dip was yet another opportunity to buy. In 1994, John Merrythunder, a former Solimin Brothers trader, along with a small group of associates, most notably Robert Martin and Myron Skroles, who received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1997, founded Short Hedge Investment Term Capital (SHITC), a hedge fund which specialized in high-volume arbitrage. SHITC had quickly become the darling of Wall Street because of its profitability and the credentials and track record of its managers. The fund had been immensely profitable, posting returns of more than 40% in each of its first three years in existence. SHITC was the organizational model I based our little fund on. Although our strategies were quite different, both SHITC and our fund made money speculating and through arbitrage. Although, because of the size of our investments, the opportunities and risks presented to SHITC were completely different from those available to us, but the principles of investment were the same. For example we had done some arbitrage with T-Bond futures, generally betting that interest rates would fall and the yield curve

317

Part V ­ The Betrayal

would flatten. SHITC, because of their global focus, had bet heavily that the spreads between western government investment grade bonds and those of emerging countries would narrow. SHITC also speculated heavily in currencies and interest rate futures, just as we had done. The primary difference between SHITC and our little fund was the amount of leverage used and the dollar value of assets under management. At the end of 1997 SHITC had assets under management of more than $120 Billion with invested capital at about $7.3 Billion. The leverage at that time was roughly 16:1. Early in 1998, SHITC returned nearly $2.7 Billion to shareholders, cutting the funds capital to $4.8 Billion and increasing the leverage to 25:1. In contrast, our little fund had only $11 million in assets under management with invested capital of nearly $3 million. The leverage associated with our fund was not even 4:1. Now, I don't begin to pretend that I'm smarter than a Nobel laureate, but, I could never understand how the "who's who" of the Wall Street investment world would flock to an investment fund which was that heavily leveraged. The risk was enormous. The most destructive, and unintended side effect of SHITC's hubris was that other hedge fund managers were feeling the pressure to post the type of returns SHITC was posting. The only way to do it was to use the same leverage and assume the same risk that SHITC did. SHITC's early success had a snowball effect on the industry. No amount of leverage or financial risk was too great to accept. Some of the brightest minds in the business were doing it; therefore, it must be the new paradigm. I would routinely get calls from our customers, "Hey, Rob, did you see what Merrythunder is doing? Unbelievable results, huh? I'll bet you he's got something else up his sleeve next quarter. The guy's a genius!" These people scared me to death. They were the same people who were telling me that ROI on Internet companies didn't matter anymore, it was market share and "clicks" per page that counted. Leverage didn't matter as long as you knew the market. 10:1 or 100:1. Leverage didn't matter if your market assumptions were correct. Moreover, because most of the money at SHITC was bet on arbitrage, in theory, the markets could not possibly move too far, too fast in the wrong direction, since the arbitrage theoretically created a near perfect hedge. The common theme was "don't worry, get some guts", the money would follow.1

318

A Crack In The Dike

Even though we were going along like a herd of highly leveraged wildebeest, seemingly unaware of the chasm that lay just over the horizon, each and every one of the money managers I knew all believed that they were too smart to get whipsawed. We were all visionaries. We all had contingency plans, we all knew when to get out and we all knew when and how rapidly a market could turn away from us. We were all tickling geniuses, every tickling one of us. In the meantime, Deanne, Anita and the part time help kept their noses to the grindstone advising customers, drumming up new funds and investing the money that came in the door. The bigger our little fund got, the more "plugged-in" I became. Investments, derivatives and opportunities that were not available to us a few months ago began to present themselves. Once the sales reps at "Prime Brokers" like Bare Steams, Goldmine Sax and Mergan Chumley began to see account activity, even amounts invested as small as we had been handling, they began to make margin available. As long as interest rates remained low, Prime Brokers had a tremendous incentive to advance as much leverage and opportunity as possible. It was not uncommon for these brokerages to offer us deals or derivatives with associated leverage of more than 10:1. I turned down many of these opportunities, since they generally seemed to be a much better deal for the brokerage than they were for my investors. But, I accepted a few of them and generally made a nice return on the deals we did. As our business grew, our accounting needs also mushroomed. We were required to provide detailed information to both the SEC and our customers. There were a whole stack of disclosures and reports that we were required to do on a quarterly basis. We hired a mid-sized accounting firm, Schaefer and Associates, to help us do all of this work. In a few months we had grown, at least in terms of monthly billing, to be the firm's largest customer. They were providing financial review and consulting services, they advised us on our computer upgrade and selection of management software which helped us track customer balances, investments and allocations of profits to customer accounts. At one point it seemed as though we had more accountants and consultants on hand than employees. We hired four more temporary employees through an employment service

319

Part V ­ The Betrayal

to handle phone inquiries and filing. Even though Deanne was still feeling very sick from the continuing chemo treatments, she and Anita did a great job of training these new recruits to make sure that they were polite, cordial, professional and knowledgeable on the phone. Anything the new "trainees" couldn't handle was kicked up to Deanne and Anita. Anything Deanne and Anita couldn't take care of was eventually put on my desk. I was still handling a huge volume of pink "while you were out" message slips, but the more experience Deanne and Anita had watching me take care of customers, the more they learned and the more they expanded their roles and responsibilities at our little company which fortunately, wasn't all that little any more. After another month or so the number of little pink "while you were out" message slips on my desk had dwindled down to a trickle. Deanne, even while fighting through her illness, and Anita had figured out how to run the day to day business with very little help from me. All I had to do was spend time analyzing the markets and make our investment decisions. Finally, I was able to fully focus on what I was trained to do. I was able to concentrate on something I truly enjoyed doing and honestly, was the reason I started this business.

July 29th 1998

I came into my office at the 2nd National Bank Building a little later than usual since I had been working late the night before. I was tweaking one of my computer models and was convinced that I had stumbled onto yet another arbitrage opportunity. I was so wound up I had a hard time sleeping, but I didn't feel tired since I was probably pumped up on the adrenaline rush I got when I was close to figuring out a puzzle. I guess it's sort of a geek mindset, but that was the way I got sometimes. I went through my stack of little pink "while you were out messages" and noticed that Anita had taken a message from Yurkoff earlier that morning. I called Yurkoff back immediately hoping for good news about either a modification of my support order or access to my children since I had not been able to see them for months.

320

A Crack In The Dike

"John, it's Rob Woodbright. You called." I said. "Rob, yes...yes. I've got some good news for you." "Good news?" "Yes, actually very good news. I talked with McDonald yesterday and he has gotten consent from Angela for you to continue to see your children. We talked for quite a while and we are all in agreement that it is just too detrimental to them for you to be forbidden to see them." I was trembling with joy. I was so happy. "What about the child support arrearage?" I asked. "I must owe a huge amount of money by now based on what the court order required me to pay. I've been paying as much as I can, but it's still well short of what the Court required." "McDonald and I talked at great length about that. I think I've convinced them to listen to reason. Your arrearage has accumulated to more than $110,000 now, but they are willing to allow you to pay the arrearage over the next five years if you sign a promissory note to that effect. They are also willing to reduce your current child support amount down to $3,000/mo. based on a realistic expectation of your income going forward." This was music to my ears. McDonald and Angela were finally listening to reason. I was going to get to see my children and it looked like I was actually going to be able to afford the amount of money they were asking for. "Yurkoff! You're the best. This is incredible. When can I see my children? How soon? What do we do next?" I was ready to hug him through the phone. "Well, the next step is for me to get back to McDonald and tell him you agree to everything. He will have to file what's referred to as an `Agreed Order' with the Court. That shouldn't take long since the judge normally signs off on these immediately. Since both parties agree, it's usually just a rubber stamp. Both you and Angela need to sign it and we need to get it filed with the clerk. I suppose we can get it to Judge Quinlan by the end of the week."

321

Part V ­ The Betrayal

"Fantastic!" I exclaimed. "When can I see Amy and Andy? How soon?" "Well I can talk to McDonald this afternoon, if it's Ok with Angela we might be able to get you visitation by this weekend." "Yurkoff....you are the man!" I exclaimed. "Let me know and I'll make a trip out to Connecticut this weekend." "I'll call you back later this afternoon." Yurkoff called back around 3:00 PM and said that everything had been arranged. I would be able to pick up Amy and Andy on Saturday afternoon, August 1st at 2:00 PM at Angela's house. I would be able to spend the rest of the day with them and would be required to have them back to Angela by noon on Sunday. That would be perfect for me. I could leave work on Friday afternoon and drive straight through. I'd book a hotel near Angela's house, maybe a Holiday Inn, with one of those domed swimming pools and a game room. The kids would love to spend the weekend swimming and playing video games with their Dad, I thought. I began making all of the arrangements. I set up an appointment for an oil change for Friday so I could pick up my trusty Ford Explorer in the afternoon and leave town around 2:00 PM to avoid the rush hour traffic. The drive would be tedious. It would take about twelve hours form Cleveland to Hartford, but I would drive one hundred and twelve hours if it meant that I was going to see my children again.

July 31st 1998

I left work on Friday afternoon just as planned. Deanne was very happy that I would be able to see Amy and Andy again. Unfortunately, with the chemo treatments, increased workload at the business and her continuing general fatigue, Deanne just wasn't able to make the trip to Connecticut with me this time. She was saddened that she wouldn't be able to see Amy and Andy. She loved them very much and had become very attached to them when we were able to make our regular visitation, but it was clear to both of us that the trip would be too much for her. At first, when I told her that I would be able to see my children over the weekend she had told me that she wanted to go along. But, as we talked it over Wednesday and

322

A Crack In The Dike

Thursday night, we both knew that it just wouldn't be good for her. She had another chemo treatment scheduled for Monday morning and she would most likely be exhausted from spending all that time in a car and at a hotel. When I left the office I asked Deanne and Anita to hold down the fort and I'd be back on Monday to handle any of the things that might come up when I was gone. They could always reach me on my cell phone in an emergency. We had everything covered. As usual, the drive to Connecticut was uneventful. It was an easy drive. Seven hours on I-80 out of Cleveland and five hours on I-84 out of Scranton. Only in America can you drive from one city to another, a fifth of the way across the country and only make one turn. Thank God for Dwight Eisenhower and the interstate highway system. On the long, lonely drive I thought a lot about how grateful I was to finally have my visitation reinstated by the court, but I also couldn't get over the nagging feeling I had that something just wasn't right. It was that uncomfortable gut feeling that you get when you know there's something wrong, but you just can't put your finger on what it is. I had just wished it was all over. I wanted to stop fighting with Angela. I wanted to spend time with my children and pretend all of this just hadn't happened. I wanted my problems to go away. I thought about how to avoid my troubles. I searched for answers, I wanted a way out, but I had none. I arrived at the Hartford Holiday Inn at about 2:00 AM Saturday morning, right on schedule. I checked into one of those family suites with the sliding door that opened out into the courtyard where there was a pool, basketball court and all sorts of things for kids to do to entertain themselves. It was going to be the perfect weekend. I unpacked and prepared for a nice long uninterrupted sleep, since I was exhausted from my drive. Before I dozed off I gave Deanne a quick call. I didn't expect her to be awake, which she wasn't, so I just left a message on her machine telling her that I had arrived safely and that I loved her very much. I made it a point to tell Deanne that I loved her every day, because, as selfish as it sounds, it made me feel unbelievably good to hear her say "I love you too" back to me. Every time she said it, it was as though it was the first time I had heard her say it. Deanne's "I love you too" always gave me goose bumps.

323

Part V ­ The Betrayal

I got up before my wake up call, fully rested and filled with the anticipation of what it would be like to see my children again. I hadn't even seen pictures of them since I had been banned from crossing the state line into Connecticut. I went down to the lobby restaurant. I had arranged to meet Stork, Pauley and Joey at the restaurant to talk about what had happened and how I was going to get to spend time with my children again on a regular basis. It would be good to see them all again. Joey, Stork and Pauley were already at a table waiting for me. We grabbed a bite to eat off of the breakfast buffet line and read the paper for a while to kill some time, since I didn't have to be at Angela's house until 2:00 PM. There was really not too much for us to do while we waited for the time to pass. We talked about what had happened to me and I told my good friends how much I appreciated their support and help through those difficult times. Even though my business was going along very well, there was significant financial risk. Even with the reduced support requirements; any hiccup or financial problems could put my visitation in jeopardy. As there is in any new business, there was still a chance, hopefully remote based on the way things had been going, that I could fail. We talked about my financial risk, and that the logistics of visitation combined with Deanne's medical problems might make it impossible, or at least very difficult for me to be a real father to my children. I was also worried that "something was up" with Angela's sudden change of heart about my access to the kids. These were my concerns. We had a lot of questions, but no good answers. Moreover, I could tell that Joey, Pauley and Stork were uncomfortable with the sudden change in my visitation schedule as well. They sensed something wrong, just as I had. This whole visitation situation seemed odd. It was just too easy. Of course they hadn't said anything, but I was feeling that they had the same apprehensions about my return to Connecticut as I had. I suppose we all could have been unreasonably paranoid, but, on the other hand, the State of Connecticut judicial system hadn't exactly been kind to me. Without specifically addressing or acknowledging their concerns, I tried to put a positive spin on my visit and that I knew in my heart that everything would be fine. Finally, we said our goodbyes around 1:40 PM. I thanked my good friends for making the trip up to have breakfast with me and we parted company. I got into my Ford Explorer and made my way to Angela's house. I pulled into her long

324

A Crack In The Dike

circular driveway, right up to her front door. I got out of my truck, walked up to the door and rang the bell. There was no answer at first, then Rozita came to the door. "Rozita!" I faked a smile as I remembered the lies she told about me on the witness stand. I wanted to punch her in the nose, but as always, I kept my calm and pressed on. "Rozita, I'm here to pick up Andy and Amy." I said. "Uh...Mr. Woodbright......Uh....Amy and Andy...they not here." Rozita said stuttering. "Not here?" I said. "What do you mean, not here? When will they be back? Where are they? They were supposed to be here." "Uh....Mr. Woodbright....Ms. Cleaver....she take them out for the day. She did not say when they would be back." "Rozita....what do you mean....she didn't say. We had an agreement that I would spend the weekend with Amy and Andy....what's going on?" "Oh. Mr. Woodbright....I don't know....I don't know what to say." I looked behind Rozita and saw, for the first time, a Connecticut State Police Officer standing just off the dining room by the stairs. He walked toward me and I got that lump in my throat that seemed to appear every time I had any contact with the Connecticut judicial system. I looked behind me and saw that both exits of the circular driveway had been blocked by Connecticut State Police squad cars. The state trooper on the dining room stairs emerged from the shadows and stepped toward me. He was tickling huge. He was wearing one of those stupid looking "Smokey the Bear" hats, which showed off his down to the skin, shaved-stubble haircut. In short, he looked like a big-dumb-gorilla. "Mr. Woodbright?" The big-dumb-gorilla said. "Yes." "Please place your hands on the door jamb." "What?" "You heard me sir. Please place your hands on the door jamb." "What is this all about?" "For the last time sir, please place your hands on the door jamb or I'll have to forcibly take control of this situation."

325

Part V ­ The Betrayal

I reached up against the door jamb and the big-dumb-gorilla began to pat me down. "What are you doing?" I asked. "I'm making sure you are not carrying any weapons or contraband." The big-dumb-gorilla responded. "What? Where are my kids?" Where are Amy and Andy? What's going on?" The big-dumb-gorilla finished patting me down and wrenched my arms behind my back. He pulled out a pair of shiny steel handcuffs and forcibly clamped them onto my wrists in a less-than-caring, highly ungentle manner. "Mr. Woodbright, you're being placed under arrest for felony contempt of a Court order and for failure to pay child support. We have a warrant for your arrest. You will be taken to the Fairfield County Jail where you will be required to serve your sentence of ninety days." "What? What the hell are you talking about? I have an agreement. We have an agreed order. My attorney, Yurkoff, worked it all out with my ex-wife this week. There is no child support due. I'm supposed to pay the arrearage off over five years, by agreement. I'm supposed to see my children." "Mr. Woodbright. I don't know anything about all of this, and I don't care. That's not my job." The big-dumb-gorilla continued. "My job is to arrest you according to this warrant. Once you are booked, you will be allowed a call to your Attorney. That's all I can tell you." I looked back toward the stairs near the dining room and there, half way around the corner, standing with very serious, yet satisfied looks on their faces, were Angela and Judge Quinlan. I was furious. I had been set up. How could this happen? How could they do this? I had to get in touch with Yurkoff as soon as possible. They couldn't do this. They couldn't put me in Jail for ninety days. My mind was racing again. I would lose my business. Everything I had worked for would be gone. I was panic-stricken. I had to call Yurkoff. I was furious at Angela for doing this. I was also beside myself with anger

326

A Crack In The Dike

and confusion on why judge Quinlan had been at Angela's house to arrest me. It's not likely that a Trial Court judge would go out to round up every dead-beat dad in her district. They had set me up. Yurkoff and I had been set up and I didn't even see it coming. We had an agreement, didn't that mean anything? How could I have trusted them? All of these things continued to race through my mind as the big-dumb-gorilla walked me down to one of the squad cars that had pulled up into the driveway directly in front of my Ford Explorer. They grasped my head, as they always do in the television shows, to prevent me from hitting my skull as I slid down into the back seat of the squad car. This was the first time I had ever been in a squad car, but, it was just like what you would expect to see on television. There was a wire mesh divider to keep me from having any contact with the officers in the front seat. The area between the two front seats was filled with radio and computer equipment as well as a menacing looking shotgun clipped into a rack attached to the dashboard. I sat in the back of the car, motionless and uncomfortable, since my hands had been handcuffed in such a way that it was impossible to actually sit back in the seat without crushing my fingers. While the big-dumb-gorilla state trooper was filling out the paperwork I turned my neck as best I could to watch a wrecker hook up my Ford Explorer and take it away. The state troopers later told me that they would tow my truck to an impound lot and the fee to get it back would be the tow bill and roughly $50.00 a day for storage. My quick math told me that if I couldn't figure out a way to get that truck out of the impound lot that the storage bill would be much more than the truck was worth by the time I got out of jail. We sat in the driveway for a few more minutes. The reflection from the squad car lights was flashing off the side of the house, as if to announce to the entire neighborhood, whose residents were once what I thought to be my good friends, that "we're arresting Rob Woodbright, dead-beat dad". I looked up on the front steps and saw Angela and Judge Quinlan, both with their arms crossed, staring down at me from the porch. I looked back at them, hoping I could see something in their eyes. I was hoping to see something that might tell me how they could do this to me, but there was nothing. Neither of them said anything. They remained silent, staring down at me from the porch. After a minute or two Angela put her arm around Judge Quinlan and they both walked back into the house. Angela's hand slid down

327

Part V ­ The Betrayal

Judge Quinlan's hip, resulting in a good-old-fashioned-lesbian-assgrab. "Gross..." I thought. The door closed behind them. "That's weird." I said. "Why would Judge Quinlan be here to arrest me?" indirectly asking the troopers in the front of the squad car as they finished their paper work. They just looked at each other and smiled, shaking their heads as though they had just made some sort of silent inside joke. We arrived at the Fairfield County Jail in what seemed to be only a few minutes. It was an ugly, brown, sixties-style, cement and steel structure attached to a turn of the century ornate courthouse. The contrast was striking. The courthouse was decorated with stone murals, engravings and carved wood depicting revolutionary war heroes, sections of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Conversely, the cement facade of the jail was purely functional, no decoration or architectural adornment of any kind. The courthouse was a testament to the opulence of the administration of justice, compared to the jail's austerity, as a reflection of the somber enforcement of the penalties the court imposed. The two big-dumbgorillas parked their squad car in a designated prisoner unloading area and escorted me into a small booth where they spoke to a young lady in uniform, through a speaker, behind a thick pane of what looked to be bullet proof glass. "We have a Woodbright, warrant 39472799, Fail to pay." "Yes. Got it. Did you search him?" She asked. "Yeah. He's clean." "Any resistance?" "Not so far. He's been a good boy." The big-dumb-gorilla said with a snicker. The young lady behind the glass returned the snicker and said. "All right then, send him in." A door a few feet down from the glass window buzzed open and the officers escorted me in through it into a small hall area no more than three feet wide with another door on the opposite side. As soon as the door behind me closed, the other door buzzed open. An officer on the other side of the door asked me to step into another area where they

328

A Crack In The Dike

were processing newly arrested prisoners. The officer at the other door asked me if I "had any weapons on me, or if I wanted to hurt him". "No." I said, wondering if in the history of law enforcement, anyone had ever answered "yes" to those questions. Since I was still handcuffed with my hands behind my back, the officer, who incidentally seemed like a nice guy, began to go through my pockets. He took out my wallet, some scraps of paper and receipts that I had left in my front pocket as well as my car keys and cell phone. He asked me if I had anything else on my person other than my clothes. He was obviously asking me, in a politically correct way, whether I had stuffed anything up my ass before I came in here. "No." I answered with great trepidation, hoping with all my hope that this guy wasn't going to check my asshole for contraband. The processing room was about ten feet deep by forty feet wide. On the opposite side from the small two-door security entrance was a counter with four clerk stations staffed with nice, younger looking female officer-clerks. The counter ran more than half of the length of the room. Behind the clerks were stacks of shelves with several hundred plastic tubs, which were indexed and used to store the prisoner's personal belongings. At the far end of the room, past the counter was an area of holding cells, where apparently prisoners were kept until permanent arrangements could be made. On the near side of the counter was an area where prisoners were cleaned up and required to change into their new attire, which was a light blue cotton linen pair of pants and a shirt. The officer who asked me if I wanted to "hurt him" put my wallet, phone and other belongings in an unsealed brown manila envelope with some identifying numbers on it. I watched him walk it over to a lady at the counter who opened the envelope, removed my wallet and proceeded to take out all of the currency, count it and put it in a drawer below her counter. I had over $300.00 in my wallet. "Hey, that's my money!" I yelled.

329

Part V ­ The Betrayal

"Not any more pal. That money belongs to the State of Connecticut." "What?" I yelled. The guard told me to shut up and I followed his orders for fear of getting a nightstick in the ribs like you see on those "cops" television shows. This whole ordeal was becoming very much like things I'd seen on television, except it was actually happening to me. Later I found out that the State of Connecticut has a "pay for stay" program on the books. Basically, what this means is, if you are arrested, the state can seize any amount of currency you have in your possession at the time of your arrest to pay for your "stay" at their jail. The per diem amount that they charge prisoners is $50.00 a day to stay at their "gray bar hotel". Any amount in excess of the amount of money you have in your possession at the time of arrest is totaled up and you're sent a bill upon your release. In my case, if I spent ninety days here, a completely unacceptable situation, I would nevertheless be sent a bill for $4,500.00, less the $300.00 they had already collected from me. "What a great scam." I thought. They're actually charging me more than the discount rate I booked at the Holiday Inn. I guess the security costs a little more at the Jail than it does at the Holiday Inn. The "not going to hurt me" officer walked me over to a dirty room with a moldy floor and an even moldier shower adjacent to it. Everything in the processing area was a sort of moldy-green color. The paint was peeling and everything was made of steel and concrete painted green. Even the fixtures in the shower were all green-painted steel, covered in grungy scum. The showerheads had an orange tint from years of iron sediment building up on the fixtures. The orange rust stains trickled down the walls where the neck of each showerhead leaked and the floor was covered with soap scum and rust. The officer removed my handcuffs. I thanked him since the cuffs had been cutting off my circulation and my left arm had all but fallen asleep. I asked the officer what his name was. "Bud", he replied in a monotone. He seemed like a nice guy who thought he had someplace better to be, rather than babysitting arrestees in a moldy shower. Go figure. Anyway, "Bud" asked me to strip down and shower. I took off my clothes and handed them to him. First my shoes, then my shirt, then my Dockers slacks, socks and finally my Joe Boxers. It was embarrassing standing in the room naked in front of "Bud". It

330

A Crack In The Dike

was also very cold. I wondered how they got this room so cold in the middle of the summer. There was no curtain or door or anything, which resembled any effort to afford an inmate some privacy. The prisoners and officers all had a full frontal view of my skinny little carcass as they walked by the prep room. The young women at the clerk stations were free to sneak a peak at my shriveled nakedness whenever they chose, and they chose often. It was humiliating. I suppose that if you were a gangster-rapper with a large meat-puppet, it wouldn't have been so bad, but I was just an average, skinny, little guy. The girls at the desk were giggling and pointing at me. "Ok, guy, get in the shower." Bud motioned over toward the shower. He turned on some sort of master valve on the outside wall of the shower, presumably because if you are arrested you are unable to manage your own shower water. The shower of course was ice cold. Most likely the thinking here was that, the colder the shower, the less time you would spend in it. The other unfortunate side effect was that the cold water accelerated the shrinkage of my meat-puppet. I was thinking that, in jail, it would most likely be a bad thing for the other prisoners to hear that I was a skinny little guy with small, shrunken, genitalia. It would be like putting a "prison bitch" sign on my back. I lathered up using this slimy pink liquid soap that was available from an industrial sized dispenser mounted to the wall. The soap had an antiseptic stink to it and was probably manufactured specifically for killing lice and other body vermin. As I scrubbed down I looked at the lather running down my legs and onto my feet and cringed as I wondered what vile microorganisms were at this point transferring themselves from the floor of that moldy shower to the soles of my feet. I took a big handful of the pink industrial soap and began hopping on one foot and soaping the other, alternating between the two until I believed that there was enough anti-fungal residue clinging to my feet that it might prevent the spread of whatever rash or disease was resident in the slime on that disgusting floor. "Hey asshole..." Bud yelled over the sound of the shower. "Stop hopping around. You're going to fall on your ass and hurt yourself." "But this shit on the floor....it's gross." I yelled back.

331

Part V ­ The Betrayal

"You'll get used to it." Bud yelled back. "There's a lot of gross shit in here. Wait till you taste the food." Bud chuckled. Bud was a real barrel of monkeys. "But it's gross..." "Shut up." Bud yelled in a tone that told me I was going to get a nightstick in the ribs if I kept complaining. So much for "Mister Nice Guy". That was also kind of interesting. There were no firearms allowed on the business side the double security door, but everyone, even the young female clerks behind the counter had these black nightsticks, and they were always playing with them. Most of the cops were constantly slapping their sticks against the palms of their hands, twirling them, holding them in their underarm and changing hands with them like they were nun chucks. It was weird. It was like I was watching a bunch of Bruce Lee wanna-be's fooling around with their little toys. Bud turned off the water without warning and I still had a film of pink industrial soap clinging to most of my shivering little body. "Time's up." Bud yelled. I walked out of the shower shivering and stood in the little viewing room with my hands covering my meat-puppet as best I could. Bud handed me a towel and I began to dry myself off. I noticed that Bud had put my clothes in one of the big blue tubs and handed my tub over to one of the clerks who, I guess, filled out some sort of inventory paperwork and took my tub full of clothes to the rack where it would be stored for three months while I was to be incarcerated. Bud handed me a light blue baggy cotton shirt and pants along with a pair of crummy tan plastic shoes. I guess they make them out of plastic because they are easy to sanitize after each prisoner uses them. I was getting bad feelings about the quality of the hygiene of the feet that had occupied these shoes before me. I had been overcome with all consuming thoughts of personal cleanliness. It was all I could think about. For some reason the Fairfield County Jail didn't issue its' inmates socks or underwear. All the inmates were required to go commando under those flimsy blue cotton "Property of Fairfield

332

A Crack In The Dike

County" pajama tops and bottoms. I would find out later that the jail actually made a pretty tidy income from selling commissary items, specifically, underwear and socks, to its inmates. "These shoes don't fit. They're too small." I said. Bud looked at me and shook his head. "Jesus Christ.....what size are you?" He asked. "I'm an eleven C. Maybe eleven and a half....depending on the designer....European styles usually run a little tight... " "We only got small medium and large....You want a medium or a large?" "Give me a large...I guess." I said, thinking that it would be better to have shoes that were too loose rather than too tight. I put the floppy tan plastic shoes on and my ensemble was complete. I was ready to join the general population. Bud walked me to one of the "holding cells" on the other side of the room. The room was, of course, puke green steel and concrete, just like everything else in this God forsaken place. I walked into the room and there was no bed, just a steel bench and a stainless steel toilet right out in the open. There were no bars on the wall facing the clerk's station, just a thick bulletproof acrylic wall. If I had to use the toilet the entire room was going to get to see the show. "Bud..." I asked. "I'm not going to spend three months in here? Am I? I mean this isn't where I'm staying is it? There's no bed, and the toilet is right out in the open. There must be some mistake." "Don't worry cutie." Bud said. "We're just getting your reservation ready. The maid service is a little slow today." The girls at the desk started laughing as Bud closed the steel door. I felt like a monkey on display in the zoo. "Haaah....reservation.....maid service...that's a good one!" The girls congratulated Bud on his incredible wit. I sat in my little cell undisturbed for a while until they started to put a few interesting characters in with me. The first guy was drunk, or high, or both. Two officers escorted him to the stainless steel bench. They were kind enough to sit him down, still in cuffs, right next to me. They sat him down and he stared off into space

333

Part V ­ The Betrayal

All he could say was "Tickle you!". He not only said it, he screamed it. About every minute or two he would scream out, as loud as he could. "Tickle you." Now I understood why the holding cell had a bulletproof acrylic wall rather than bars. It was nearly soundproof. The main purpose of the acrylic wall was to prevent screaming assholes from interrupting the workday of the Fairfield County Jail staff. Unfortunately, since I was on the wrong side of the glass, it provided absolutely no benefit to me. "Hey buddy....what's the problem?" I asked. He continued to sweat and stare off into space. He rocked front to back. His hands were still cuffed. He didn't answer me. "No, really, buddy, what's the deal?" "Tickle you." He screamed straight ahead. He didn't seem to be directing his "Tickle you" at me, or anyone specific. He just wanted to scream "Tickle you!" This went on for a while. I tried to talk to him. I asked him his name, why he was in jail, how long he was supposed to be here, but he didn't respond. He just kept rocking, sweating and occasionally yelling, "Tickle you!" I waited for the right moment and when it looked like he was about to yell out, I joined him. "Tickle you!" We both shouted in unison. He stopped rocking and, for the first time, he looked over at me. "Now you tickling got it!" He said. He continued to rock and sweat and every few minutes we would both scream out "Tickle you!". No one could hear us behind the glass, or at least we weren't very loud, and it was actually therapeutic. Every time I yelled "Tickle you!" I felt a little bit better about myself. This was really important for me at this juncture since I was locked up with a lunatic with no underwear or socks, scared to death that I would have to take a very public crap in short order. The "Tickle you!" therapy was just what I needed. "Tickle you!" We both screamed out again.

334

A Crack In The Dike

"My name's Rob. What's yours?" He looked over at me. He remained silent for a few seconds. "Marcus of Aurelius." He said. "Well Marcus, we have really taken a bite out of the proverbial shit sandwich here." I said. Marcus nodded. We both screamed, "Tickle you!" Again. This went on for about a half an hour until they brought in a young hood named Nico. They apparently brought Nico in on some gang related stuff. I would imagine it had something to do with guns and drugs, as most gang related things do. Nico scared the crap out of both crazy Marcus of Aurelius and me. His eyes were empty and creepy looking. Nico looked like he'd just as soon kill you as look at you. "Tickle you!" Marcus yelled out. Nico looked over at him and said. "Shut the tickle up or I'll tickle your punk-ass up." Marcus just kept rocking back and forth on the bench. Nico kept looking at him like a mad dog would look at a piece of meat. I sat quietly, trying not to piss on myself, as I was so scared of Nico. After another couple of minutes, Marcus yelled out "Tickle you!" again. Nico jumped up. "That's it mother-tickler, that's mother-tickling it" Nico leapt on top of "Marcus of Aurelius" and began smashing his head against the wall. After a few vicious whacks against the wall, once he knocked Marcus down, Nico began smashing Marcus's head against the stainless steel bench right next to me. A huge cut opened up on the side of Marcus's face and blood splattered all over both Nico and me. As I had anticipated, I pissed on myself. Two of the bigger guards, who were expert with their night sticks, came running in and began to pummel the crap out of Nico, being careful not to hit him in the head, where the marks would be obvious. They concentrated their blows on his mid-section and legs. The night sticks landed with an ugly thud when they hit Nico's midsection. I got hit in the shoulder by one of the guards on a back swing and it

335

Part V ­ The Betrayal

hurt like hell, I couldn't imagine what one of those night stick blows felt like with the full force of a 250 lb. State Trooper behind it. The beating went on for a few more minutes, I guess until the cops got tired of swinging at Nico. After Nico lay motionless on the floor, looking harmless for a few minutes, each cop put his trusty night stick back in its holster, grabbed one of Nico's arms and carried him out of the holding cell to another cell a few feet away. Two other cops came in shortly after to clean Marcus up and, I guess, take him for medical care somewhere. I'm not sure who was a bigger mess. Nico must have had more than a few broken bones after the beating that was administered to him, but Marcus sure had bled a lot. Marcus's blood was all over the place. It was on the wall, all over the bench and all over me. After they took Marcus away, one of the officer-clerks from the desk came in wearing latex gloves. She told me to stand aside as she made a less than poor effort to wipe up some of Marcus's blood and other bodily fluids off of the bench and floor with a half-roll of paper towels. "There!" All done!" She said smiling. "Have a seat." I looked down and saw swirls of Marcus's blood and my piss smeared together on the bench. My crummy blue jail clothes were soaked with both as well. I asked for a fresh change of clothes but was told that we only get a fresh change once a week and I'd have to wait. The guard told me that my clothes would dry out. I sat alone in my holding cell again, watching other arrestees get processed and sent to different holding cells and moved to what, I guess, were their more permanent lodgings in the jail. I had to get in touch with Yurkoff. He had to get me out of here. My business would be ruined if my customers found out I was in jail. I asked about my phone call. They told me that I had to wait a while until my paperwork was complete. I didn't know what time it was now. I figured it had to be late Saturday evening, maybe 8:00 or 9:00 PM. I just couldn't tell since there was no daylight. For some reason, which really escapes me, jails aren't real big on time keeping. They don't put clocks where the prisoners can actually see them and get an idea of what time it is. I didn't understand it. I asked one of the guards

336

A Crack In The Dike

what time it was and he replied "Quiet time boy!" All of his fellow officers within earshot laughed with approval. "What was the big tickling deal?" I thought. "Just tell me what tickling time it is." But I guess that would be too easy. There was probably a security reason for it, but no one ever explained it to me. I had to call Yurkoff soon. I had to get out. I was only here for a few hours and I was sitting shivering in a puddle of my own urine and a crazy asshole's blood. It was going to be a very long three months. They finally got my paperwork ready to the point where they came and got me out of the holding cell. They cuffed me again and asked me to step out of the cell and up to the desk where the big guard pushed my urine and blood soaked carcass in front of a cute, little, twenty-something female clerk, who was typing things into a computer terminal. "Your name?" She asked me. "Rob Woodbright." I said. The clerk asked me all of my address and contact information. I gave it to her slowly as she typed it into her computer. Then she began to ask a bunch of personal questions. "Are you currently taking any illegal drugs? Cocaine, LSD, marijuana? Anything like that?" "No." I said, again wondering if, in the history of law enforcement whether anyone had ever answered "yes" to that question. "Do you have any homo-sexual tendencies?" "No." I said. "Have you ever attempted suicide?" "No." "You aren't thinking about suicide now are you?" "Look lady, I'm in here for a child support screw up. I'll be out of here by Monday. I'm not thinking about tickling suicide.....Ok?" "Mr. Woodbright, just answer the questions." One of the big, nightstick-wielding guards who just beat the crap out of Nico rose to attention. I apologized to the young lady and asked

337

Part V ­ The Betrayal

her to continue. She asked a few more insulting questions and that was that. I was assigned a cell number and told to go with one of the big-gorilla guards that was still perspiring from the effort put forth from the Nico beating. They walked me over to a pay phone and gave me a quarter. I figured I would call Yurkoff at home. On a Saturday night there would be a chance he was home, but if not I would at least get his answering machine. I asked the pretty, twentysomething clerk for a phone book and she handed me the Hartford metropolitan white pages. I looked up Yurkoff's number and dialed carefully. "Tickle." I yelled as his answering machine came on. "This is Attorney John Yurkoff. Please leave a message at the tone." "John....John, if you're there, pick up!" I shouted into the phone. "This is Rob. Rob Woodbright! I'm in the Fairfield County Jail. They arrested me. They said that there was a warrant out for my arrest! We had a deal! John, you've got to get me out of here. You've got to help me. Please call Deanne and let her know what happened. Tell her I love her. For the love of God you've got to get me out of here. I don't know how you can reach me, but again, this is Rob Woodbright and I'm at the Fairfield County Jail. You can reach Deanne at our office phone. She picks up messages. Please call her right away. They set me up John. Angela and Judge Quinlan were both there. You've got to....." The answering machine beeped. My message had exceeded the allotted space on the tape. Hopefully, Yurkoff would pick up his messages and get back to me by morning. I needed to hear from him. I needed to hear from anyone on my side. I really missed Deanne. I'm sure she was worried. She would be expecting my call by now. The big-dumb-gorilla guard took me over to an area of shelves filled with blankets, pillows and these corrugated, hard, plastic mats that I guess they expected us to sleep on. The guard handed me a blanket made out of burlap, a pillow that was basically a chunk of foul smelling foam, and a mat that was compressed to about an inch thick from inmates laying on it for years. I carried these items over to the elevator. The guard escorted me onto the elevator and pushed the button for the third floor. He told me that the third floor was the

338

A Crack In The Dike

place where they kept all of the "idiots". He described the "idiots" as non-violent types of people that just do stupid things and keep ending up in jail. The third floor was normally reserved for grown up juvenile delinquents, drunk drivers, shoplifters and as fate would have it, people arrested for felony contempt for failure to pay child support. The big-dumb-gorilla guard also cautioned me that since the world is generally full of "idiots" that the third floor was usually pretty crowded. It was going to be up to me to make due. We got off the elevator. I dropped my pillow and had a hard time picking it up since I was re-handcuffed. That was another thing I didn't understand. Jail policy was that every prisoner had to be handcuffed when being moved around the facility. This was stupid. What in the name of Mike Tyson was a skinny little child-support-felon like me going to do to a big-dumb-gorilla guard with a nightstick? It made no sense, but I guess they had their rules. I struggled trying to pick up my pillow without dropping my blanket or my mat and eventually had picked everything up. I stood outside my "pod" which was going to be my new home for what I hoped would only be for a few hours or days. Another guard behind a shatter-proof glass barrier motioned me forward and told me to step through into another security door, another short hallway with a door on each end, controlled by the guard behind the glass. Before I walked forward the big-dumb-gorilla guard took off my handcuffs. He told me just to find a place to put my mat and shut up. I walked through the first door and the bigdumb-gorilla guard closed it behind me. The door on the other side of the short hallway buzzed open and I walked into my pod. There were prisoners everywhere. The pod was built to hold sixteen prisoners in individual cells. There must have been thirty-five men lying on mats in the common area. I stepped over a few of them looking for a spot to lie down. I eventually found enough room to unroll my mat without pissing too many of these guys off. I decided to take the big-dumb-gorilla guards advice and just lie still and shut up. It was the first time I had ever taken the advice of a big-dumbgorilla, but, it seemed to be very good advice at the time. Each floor of the jail was broken up into four pods. Each pod was managed by a team of two guards, eight guards per floor, five floors of jail space. I learned that the jail was initially built to hold sixteen inmates per pod. The pods were all trapezoid in shape. Each pod fit

339

Part V ­ The Betrayal

into the square layout of each floor with the long side of the trapezoid equivalent to the outside wall of the square floor layout. The narrow ends of each trapezoid converged to form a small control area in the center of the floor. The control area had shatterproof, transparent, acrylic walls bordering the shorter wall of each trapezoid pod. The guards were able to observe every move of the inmates while they were in the common area of the pod. The main guard station, elevators, supplies and storage were in the middle of the control area. There were steel tables and benches built into the floor of the common area on the other side of the shatterproof glass. The sixteen 6x10 ft. cells were built into the far side of the trapezoid directly across from the control area. The far side of the trapezoid was approximately ninety feet across. The shatterproof glass of the control area was about forty feet across. Between the puke green steel doors of the cells on the far side of the trapezoid and the shatterproof glass of the control area there was about twenty-five feet open space defined as the common area. The common area was where the other thirty-five "idiots" and I would spend our days. There would be a lucky sixteen of us, usually those who had been given longer sentences, generally six months to a year who would actually be assigned a cell. I came to learn that the cells were coveted. Each cell had a steel shelf raised off the floor where an inmate could put his mat, rather than sleep on the concrete floor. Each of the cells was built for one person so there was actually some level of privacy, and relative quiet compared to the common area. The pods were terribly noisy. The cells provided at least some insulation from the activity. New inmates were always walking through and checking in. The elevators were always running. The guards were always on the radio or the intercom. There was always some sort of conflict or tension between some of the inmates. It was nearly impossible to get any sleep outside of a cell. One of the worst things about being assigned to the common area rather than to a cell was that in the common area they never turned off the lights. At least in the cells the lights were turned off at 11:00 PM. In the common area the lights were always on. They were dimmed, but they were always on. The common area was always noisy. The noise and the light kept me awake the entire first night of my imprisonment. I couldn't fall asleep. Not once. I had never felt sleep deprivation like I had after only one day in the Fairfield County Jail. Not only was it

340

A Crack In The Dike

loud and bright, I had to try to sleep in front of thirty-five strangers who were obviously not in this place because they were fine trustworthy citizens. By far, without question, the worst thing about not having been assigned to a cell was that I didn't have a private toilet. Each cell had a stainless steel toilet and sink unit. These were private units where no one, unless they decided to look through a small shatterproof glass opening in the door of the cell, which the guards used to check on prisoners, could see you do your business. I never thought, in my entire life that having my own personal toilet would be such an important part of my day, but I had become obsessed with figuring out how I could defecate in private. After only one day, I had already become constipated to the point of physical pain. The only toilet available to the inmates in the common area was a unit installed on the left side of the pod in the shower area. There were three grungy showers and a commode. Again, the pod was designed for sixteen inmates. The twenty-five men in the common area were all required to use that one toilet in the shower area. It could get disgusting. I watched many a constipated inmate sit on the steel chair of embarrassment trying to move his bowels as the rest of the pod population ridiculed his efforts. When the poor constipated inmate finally achieved success, usually with a gastric eruption amounting to a potential biohazard, the group would roar with approval. It had become sport. Some of the men were beginning to wager on both the frequency and volume of some of the prisoner's shits. When a particularly stopped-up member of the common area population finally had a movement, the entire pod would look on in anticipation. "Hey....Billy's gotta go! He ain't shit for nearly four days!" "This is gonna' be great!" A crowd would gather and the gates of hell holding Billy's sphincter closed would blast open with an unholy sound screaming from Billy's rectum. "BBBLLLLLAAATTTTTTTT.....SPLOOOORRRRTTTT.......BRR RRAAAAAPPPPP" The inmates would roar their approval. "Billy boy that was great! What the hell did you eat? Whooooeee!"

341

Part V ­ The Betrayal

The sport would go on at any time of the day or night. I was in fear of the time, which I'm sure would be approaching, when I would have to step up to the plate, so to speak. I'd been known to have an incredible will power for such things. I once held a crap back for more than sixty hours on a trip through China because I was afraid of the bathrooms. Now, after seeing the toilet in my pod, those public Chinese restrooms didn't seem that bad at all. I was tired, hungry and constipated, and I began to think that Yurkoff didn't get my message. I had only been in here a few hours and I was still covered in my own piss and Marcus's blood. I had to try to sleep with the lights on in front of twenty weirdoes. I had to watch a guy named Billy crap for sport. I found out that the guards walk through the common area about every forty minutes so they can look through those little shatterproof glass windows into each of the cells to check on the sixteen prisoners that they can't directly observe in the common area. Needless to say, the guards make as much noise as possible when they clang open the steel doors to complete their rounds. They bang on each of the cell doors with their nightsticks until each of the prisoners in the cell somehow indicates that he is all right. I'm told that they do this so they can make sure that and inmate doesn't harm himself or commit suicide. This made no sense to me. If an inmate had the means to commit suicide and he knew that the guards would make their rounds every forty minutes, he would simply wait until the guards' rounds were completed and do the deed immediately after the guard had checked him and left the pod. Forty minutes later the same guard would find a dead inmate and of course have a lot of paperwork to fill out. My guess is that the guards come into the pod and make as much noise as possible just to interrupt what little opportunity for sleep the inmates have, and to generally piss us off. I could tell that the first time I observed the process, that the guards took great pride in rousting the men from their sleep, however poor the quality of that sleep really was. The next morning arrived relatively quickly. Since there is no way to tell the time in jail, there are no clocks, I learned that the best way to keep track of the day is through the meal schedule. The breakfast wagon arrives precisely at 7:30 AM. Orange plastic trays of food are slid into the common area from the control area through slots in the

342

A Crack In The Dike

wall by inmates who, for whatever reason, good behavior or otherwise, had been designated as "trustees". A team of trustees would be called down to the kitchen every morning at 6:30 AM. The trustees would be given a cart with the proper number of trays for a particular pod and be assigned to deliver the food to that pod. The first breakfast I had in my pod was a small Styrofoam bowl of stale corn flakes, a pint of milk like we used to get in grade school (except the expiration date had come and gone), a cherry Danish wrapped in cellophane and an apple. I would find out that this breakfast was nearly the same every day. Apparently, a team of trustees is assigned to actually prepare the food as well. Naturally, when you put a bunch of jailbird "idiots" in the kitchen, their culinary artistry most likely has something lacking. Lunch was usually worse than breakfast. A typical meal might be a bowl of celery soup, a dollop of mashed potatoes, some sort of greasy, surrogate-meat substitute, a slice of stale white bread and a cup of Kool-Aid. Lunch was served precisely at noon. Finally, the last meal of the day, dinner was served at 5:00 PM. Dinner was the best meal of them all, but it was still awful. The entree usually involved some sort of noodles and hamburger concoction, some kind of overcooked vegetable and of course, a cup of Kool-Aid. The serving was bigger than both lunch and breakfast combined. All of the meals were prepared and served by trustees under the watchful eye of the guards and a kitchen supervisor. After I had my first few meals in jail I knew that I was going to finally lose some of that weight I had been trying to get rid of. Sunday had come and gone now and I still had not heard from Yurkoff. God I had hoped he had gotten my message. Most of all I had hoped he had gotten in touch with Deanne. I kept thinking about the business and what was going on back in Cleveland. If Yurkoff could come up with something, I could hopefully get out of here before my investors ever knew I had been gone. Deanne would figure something out to tell the investors. I knew she would. The other thing I had begun to notice about the Fairfield County Jail was that it must have been an incredible money making enterprise. They confiscated all of the inmate's cash as they were processed and

343

Part V ­ The Betrayal

they sent each prisoner a $50.00/day bill for his stay in jail, with the ability to collect this debt just like any other creditor. However, the biggest moneymaker for the jail, by far, was the commissary program. The commissary program was a scam where each prisoner had an account with the jail. Family members would deposit money into the inmates commissary account and once a week the prisoner would be allowed to use his account to purchase things he could use in jail. On Monday of each week an order sheet would be distributed to every inmate. The order sheet would have all sorts of things on it that an inmate would desperately want. Examples of these items would be socks, underwear, candy and snacks, decks of cards, soap, toothpaste, postage stamps letters and envelopes and many other miscellaneous items. These items would be marked up four or five times the price you would pay at a typical Wal-Mart. A pair of cheap boxer shorts would cost $10.00. A small tube of generic toothpaste might be $4.00. A small bag of potato chips would cost $2.00. The jail justified these prices as necessary to insure that the security of the items coming into the jail not be compromised. It would not be feasible for family members to be allowed to bring anything into the jail for an inmate's use, although I found it hard to understand how a pair of underwear or tube socks could constitute a security threat. The other inmates told me that as far as underwear and socks go, the poor jail quality of the material, specifically the elastic, was by design since the jail officials wanted to make sure that no inmate could hang himself by tying together his underwear or socks. In any event, the jail administration literally had a captive customer base and they were making the most of it. Another thing that struck me as odd was the "med wagon" that made its rounds three times a day. At about 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 9:00 PM a nurse with a cart full of non-prescription medicines would make her rounds. She would stop in front of each pod and ask if anyone needed any aspirin, Tylenol, Nyquil, Pepto-Bismol, or any other item she had on her little rolling drug store. It was the pinnacle of irony. The jail personnel would do everything within their power to cause the inmates to have an upset stomach, headache, sore throat or other discomfort, then the little "med lady" would come around and sell the inmates a couple of aspirin or a shot of Nyquil for $2.00 to be charged to the inmates commissary account. What a racket.

344

A Crack In The Dike

Unfortunately, there was no one I could have tried to reach besides Yurkoff, so I would have no money in my commissary account for the first week of my incarceration. Even though it was a rip off of epic proportions, I would have paid dearly for a Tylenol, socks and some underwear. Speaking of underwear, that was another thing that was really beginning to bother me. Most of the inmates, especially the younger ones, were usually walking around with at least a mild case of woodus-erectus. The crummy, flimsy, light blue jail pants, especially for those of us who did not have the luxury of purchasing any underwear from the commissary, did an exceptional job of displaying our meat-puppets. There was generally nothing holding us back, so to speak. Many of the African-American inmates, for some reason, always seemed to be holding onto their manliness. I don't know why they did this. The White and Hispanic inmates generally left their packages alone, swaying in the breeze of their flimsy jail slacks. I don't think it was a racial thing per se. It was probably a coincidence. But, I still didn't understand why the Black inmates had to hold on to "it". Perhaps the African American men simply didn't want their meat-puppets to become too active or unruly. Perhaps it was a security blanket of sorts, or perhaps they thought that the "system" had taken everything else form them. They weren't going to give up their meat-puppets without a fight. Whatever the reason, it was what it was, and the Black men continued to hold onto their manliness whenever they felt like it. None of us said a word about it.

August 3rd 1998

It wasn't until late Monday morning that I heard from Yurkoff. He was out of town over the weekend and he didn't pick up his messages on his home answering machine until late Sunday night....too late to do anything to help me. I learned later that Yurkoff was indeed able to reach Deanne Sunday evening to let her know what had happened. She was in shock about my incarceration. She wanted to rush right out to Connecticut, but Yurkoff explained to her that there was nothing she could do. He would do everything that he could to get

345

Part V ­ The Betrayal

the problem under control. They agreed that the best thing for her to do was to run the business as best she and Anita could and wait for me to get out. They finally let Yurkoff in to see me at about 11:30 AM, even though he had gotten to the jail nearly two hours earlier. It seemed that the Fairfield Jail had mastered the art of pointless delay. It was important to the people running the jail that any request for service or assistance to an inmate be intentionally delayed, without any reason, even if the service or assistance could have been accomplished immediately. In fact, it was clear that personnel were highly trained and motivated to make sure that anything that might benefit an inmate take as long as possible to accomplish. Their mastery of delay and procrastination had clearly reached new heights. A big-dumb-gorilla-guard, (they generally all looked the same) came to take me to see Yurkoff. The guard stood outside the glass at the control room and yelled "Woodbright....step out." He tapped his nightstick on the glass. That was my cue to walk over to the security door and wait for it to buzz. I waited a few seconds and the door buzzed open. I stepped into the short hallway with the big-dumbgorilla guard watching me, just to make sure I didn't let anyone else in through the first door with me. That was the whole essence of their security, only one man in and one man out at a time. That was the rule. I closed the door behind me and heard it click shut. The exit door in front of me buzzed open and the big-dumb-gorilla guard was waiting, with his nightstick, on the other side. He put me in handcuffs, which, again, was the rule. The only time our hands were free was when we were locked in our pod. He escorted me over to the elevators and we took a short trip down to the second floor. The Elevator door opened onto the second floor control area. We walked a short distance down another puke-green hallway. We walked past a row of puke-green steel doors. The guard opened the last door on the left and asked me to take a seat on a cheap plastic chair in what looked like a puke-green phone booth. The big-dumb-gorilla guard closed the door. "Rob? Rob? Is that you?"

346

A Crack In The Dike

I heard Yurkoff's voice calling me from what I assumed was the other side of a steel panel in front of me. This wasn't like those "visitinghours scenes" you see on television. There was no glass panel or telephone to talk to the person visiting. You couldn't actually see who was on the other side of the panel. The only contact with the other person would be through a small opening, covered by steel slats resembling widely spaced aluminum siding on a house. These slats were tilted in such a way that it was difficult to actually to see who was on the other side of the wall, but you could hear them just fine. "Yurkoff!...Yes! Yurkoff...it's me! Thank God you're here!" I couldn't have been happier to hear from anyone in my whole life. "Rob....what the hell happened!" Yurkoff asked. "I don't know....I went out to pick up the kids and they arrested me. They said I'm going to be in here for ninety days..... Yurkoff....you've got to get me out of here....I'm going to lose my business if I don't get out of here soon." "Rob, I don't know what to tell you. I've got to get in touch with McDonald and find out what's going on. I hope this is all just a paperwork foul up." "You think so?" I asked. "It has to be." Yurkoff continued. "We had a deal. They shouldn't have done this to you. They couldn't have done this." "But they did, John, they did. I guarantee you they set me up." "Set you up? What do you mean?" Yurkoff asked with a surprised tone in his voice. "John, when I pulled up to pick up my children there was a State Trooper in the house and four more waiting in squad cars. Angela and Judge Quinlan were both there too." "Judge Quinlan was there?" "Yes." "Are you sure?" "I'm tickling positive John. I saw her." Yurkoff was silent for a few moments. "John?" "I'm thinking." "What are you thinking about?" "I can't believe that Judge Quinlan was there to arrest you." "Well she was."

347

Part V ­ The Betrayal

"But, Rob, why would she be there? Why?" "Well, the answer is obvious; they're doing the lesbian lambada." "Goddammit, Rob. We've been through this before. She's a tickling Judge!" Yurkoff responded in a shouting whisper afraid that someone would hear our conversation. "Well....then John....you're the big time investigator....you have all the answers....you tell me why she was at Angela's house when I was arrested. The only explanation I can come up with is that there is a lesbian-love-fest going on over there. You let me know if you come up with anything else! " Yurkoff was silent. "I'm sorry John. I'm tired, I'm nervous and I haven't crapped in days. I shouldn't have said that." "No....No... Rob. You're right. We need an explanation. Right now, yours is the only one we have." "So what are you going to do next?" "I'll call McDonald right away and I'll be back to tell you what I know. We need to set up a hearing. We need to get this back in front of a Judge and see if we can get you out of here. Keep your chin up and I'll be back to tell you what I found out." "Are you coming back today?" "I'll come back when I've figured out what to do. I'll be back by Wednesday at the latest." "Wednesday? You think it will take `til Wednesday to get me out of here?" "Rob......even if there is an error.....it will be weeks before we can get this before a judge and get it corrected. A court order is a court order. You are in here for a while. My advice to you is to be quiet, do what you're told and keep a very low profile." I didn't know what to say. It was the same advice that one of the bigdumb-gorilla guards gave me. "John, did you talk to Deanne? Did you let her know what happened?" "Yes Rob. I told her you would be in here for a while and that she should keep the business going as best she could. She's telling everyone who asks that you're not available and they'll leave it at that."

348

A Crack In The Dike

"What did she say?" "She said she loves you very much." A lump formed in my throat. I couldn't say anything to Yurkoff. "Rob....I've got to go. Hang tough." In a moment, Yurkoff was gone. I sat quietly in the little steel phone booth thinking about Deanne. After a few minutes, the big-dumb-gorilla guard took me back to my pod with all of the other idiots.

August 4th 1998

Deanne and Anita had jumped frantically into "save the business" mode. They came up with a plan to tell every investor who asked about me that "Mr. Woodbright was away on a personal family medical emergency." This way they didn't need to get specific about where I was and the excuse was serious enough that the investors generally felt that it would be in bad taste to delve more deeply into "What kind of emergency?", or, "Who's sick.?" This excuse was a stroke of genius. Not only did the investors believe it, some of our customers went as far as to send flowers, condolences and best wishes. In the first week alone, the office received four bouquets of flowers, a dozen cards and a cheese and sausage basket from an investor in Wisconsin. The lie was brilliant, it was buying us time, but I was sure it would come back to bite us if I didn't get out of tickling jail soon. Deanne and Anita worked harder at handling the business than ever before. When they ran into trouble they called Pauley in New York to get some advice. It was really tough for them to communicate, Deanne and Anita were exceptional at taking care of customers, balancing the books, handling the paperwork and keeping the files straight. If they had any questions about how the paperwork should be done, they relied on our public accountants and consultants at Schaefer and Associates to get them the answer, but, unfortunately, they had no idea what to do with the investment portfolio. By now, our little company had accumulated more than $15 million in assets, about half of which was invested in foreign currency futures, financial

349

Part V ­ The Betrayal

futures and other hedged investments. Twenty five percent had remained invested in higher beta tech stocks and startups. The remaining twenty-five percent was kept in cash and cash equivalents. As the market continued its meteoric rise more money continued to flow in, increasing the value of both the total assets under management and the cash on hand. Since Deanne and Anita had no idea what to do with the money coming in the door, without surprise, they did the only thing they could think of to do with the money. They put it in the bank. Since they didn't know what to invest the money in, and they really didn't even have a handle on where the company's money was invested in the first place, they simply deposited the cash in our general checking account and watched the balances soar. Throughout August we would be taking in more than $50,000 a day in new investments. The investors really believed in us. I wish I could have been there. Deanne began writing to me every day to tell me what was going on. She was getting very frustrated and worried because she had not heard back from me. Unfortunately, as I learned very quickly, once you're in jail, it is virtually impossible to communicate with the outside world. There are very limited weekly visiting hours, which wouldn't help Deanne and I anyway, since she was all the way back in Cleveland. The only person, who has at least regular access to an inmate, is his attorney. Even then the scheduling hoops that an inmate's counsel is required to jump through to get access, makes it difficult for any regular contact or discussions to take place. It's just too time consuming and non-productive for a lawyer to spend time trying to see his client on a regular basis. Moreover, there is no way for an inmate to contact his lawyer after his first phone call. Once an inmate is in the system, he's in.....no contact, no questions and no legal counsel, unless his counsel makes the effort to schedule a visit to the jail. As an inmate, you are left on your own. You fend for yourself. I had been left in the dark. Since I knew from my recent meeting with Yurkoff that I would be in jail for at least several weeks, I had asked Yurkoff to put some money in my commissary account and I bought some socks, underwear, writing tablets, envelopes and postage stamps. Since I had missed the commissary order date the first week I had been incarcerated, I couldn't get a letter to Deanne for nearly a week and a half. By the time my paper and envelopes

350

A Crack In The Dike

had been delivered, Deanne had sent me four letters, full of questions about the business and fraught with worry about what was going to happen to me. She ended every letter with "I love you and I miss you". I answered every question she asked me with as detailed instructions as I could. Unfortunately, I always felt like I was answering a question without all the details. I always needed to know more about the circumstance before I gave Deanne and Anita an answer, but I didn't have that luxury. Most times, I tried to answer Deanne's questions as best I could and referred her to Pauley for his thoughts on the topic. This process would go on for weeks, or until I was released, hopefully well before my full ninety days had run. Deanne and Anita continued doing a fantastic job at handling the accounts. They also started calling Pauley on a more regular basis. Pauley's assistance was invaluable. He had a way of asking all of the questions I might have asked and made sure that Deanne and Anita had been interpreting all of my instructions correctly. After a few weeks of playing "twenty questions" with Deanne and Anita over the phone, Pauley made arrangements to take weekend trips to Cleveland to go over my instructions, interpret what my instructions were and what information I should be getting, so that we could all make informed decisions together. We had actually developed a system for running a hedge fund from a jail, not unlike how I had imagined the mob might operate when a high level Capo or Don finds himself incarcerated. All the while we were attempting to perpetuate the "out of the office on a personal family emergency" fraud on our investors. We were beginning to think like con artists. We rationalized that "if our investors don't get hurt, and are actually better off by not knowing the truth, then it isn't really fraud.....is it?" The most difficult problem we needed to overcome was that I was not getting any current financial information in jail. The letters that were coming from Deanne were usually at least three days old, and unfortunately, fraught with incomplete or inaccurate information. I loved Deanne, but I could see that she was in way over her head. She would try to understand what Pauley was telling her, but it was clear that she didn't always comprehend what needed to be done. Worse, since she didn't fully understand the transactions, she wasn't able to give me a complete picture of what was happening without my having to ask multiple questions, all through the unreliable and painfully

351

Part V ­ The Betrayal

slow prison mail system. It would routinely take more than a week from the time Deanne wrote a letter asking me what to do, until the time she received my response. A week in market terms, when you're heavily leveraged can be an eternity. My only hope was that Pauley was able to work with Deanne, figure out our accounts and positions and manage them as best they could until my return.

August 14th 1998

Pauley was making the trip to Cleveland from New York City every weekend now, trying to keep our business afloat. Deanne and Anita did a masterful job of holding the investors at bay, and completely in the dark about what had happened to me. Yurkoff had finally gotten a hearing scheduled for September 4th, more than two tickling weeks away. I had no idea how Deanne was going to keep our dirty little secret that long, but this was our only hope. We were fortunate that the reporting quarter did not end until September 30th. Since I had generally conducted an investor conference several weeks after the close of each calendar quarter and I had done my last scheduled conference in the middle of July, investors weren't actually expecting me to make an appearance until the middle of October. At least we had some level of timing on our side. The last letter I received from Deanne really began to worry me. The markets were getting extremely skittish. The Dow Jones Industrials had hit an all time high of 9,238 on July 17th and had been floundering and drifting lower ever since. Stocks, especially some of our higher risk stocks, had lost their momentum. Over the last three weeks, according to Deanne's letters we had gotten four margin calls from several brokers. We were heavily leveraged, yet, at least on paper, it looked like we had enough cash to get through even a significant sell off. As Deanne described the margin calls in her letters, I began instructing her to liquidate positions in some of our stocks to raise cash. I had a difficult time remembering exactly how many shares of which stocks we owned, or what the cost basis in each stock was, so I was essentially shooting in the dark. I was generally confident that the stocks I was selling off were being sold at a profit, since the market had risen so quickly, but I just didn't know how much the gains were, if any. I had no way to judge whether my decisions were good or bad, or what the result was

352

A Crack In The Dike

since Deanne had no way to get me the information. It became a real crap shoot. Other investment funds were in the same boat we were in, but on a much larger scale, albeit with more current information. As long as interest rates were low, there was an incentive for a hedge fund manager to use leverage as much as possible. Even a modest return would cover the interest charged by a broker. As long as the dollar was falling, as it had for the last two years, there is consequently, an incentive to invest overseas. Much of the $170 billion in profits and new money raised that flowed into hedge funds in 1997, plus the billions they borrowed, poured into Brazilian debt, Japanese debt, Russian junk bonds, other high-yield bonds and non-dollar denominated commodities. These trades made money, so hedge funds and trading desks at Wall Street firms all piled in. But, as with any highly leveraged situation, even a small change in market direction can set off a chain reaction. A few weeks ago, the Federal Reserve Bank indicated that interest rates would rise sooner rather than later, and bond prices started to fall. Hedge funds started getting margin calls from their brokers demanding more cash and the selling began. Commodities and currencies, a favorite parking spot for Hedge Fund money, were some of the first to fall. Gold had dropped 15% since May and the New Zealand dollar was down 20% from a high of 71 cents in the spring. Asian equities, one of the more volatile markets at that time, bounced around in a 20% range. Asian corporate debt plunged along with other emerging debt markets. Russia's economy hadn't looked this good in years, yet, suddenly there was a firestorm of selling Russian debt securities. Trading was frozen in many of these debt markets as everyone headed for the exits at the same time. Most Hedge Funds and investment banks built up these debt positions over the last year or two, unfortunately for the market, everyone decided they wanted out on "Friday at high-noon" Some of the hardest-hit markets were the ones with little or no liquidity. In markets like India and Brazil, there simply weren't enough buyers at

353

Part V ­ The Betrayal

any price for the amount of debt and equity that hedge funds were trying to unload. If this were simply a flight to safety, you would see investors selling foreign debt and equities and investing in gold and U.S. Treasury notes. Instead, everything began declining at once, except the dollar. This wasn't a flight to safety; it was a flight to good old US greenbacks. The money being pulled out of high-yield and emerging markets wasn't being reinvested. It had disappeared back into the overleveraged accounts of thousands of hedge funds. Many of the world's hedge funds were facing a double demand on their money. Once investors saw their losses for May and June, they began clamoring to cash out. Some established funds, those with a track record, had a two or three-year lock on investors' money. But investors in newer funds generally had the option to withdraw from month to month, and they began to do so in droves.2 August 28th 1998 I was always amazed and in awe of how truly stupid the common criminal really is. Perhaps that's why the guards referred to them as idiots. After the fight between Nico and "Marcus of Aurelius" my first night in jail, I knew that it took a special type of person, a truly incredible moron, to keep doing things, which would insure that they would make return appearances at the Fairfield County Jail. It probably wasn't politically correct to refer to the guards as big-dumbgorillas. They were generally "just doing their job" and were probably just as disturbed with the jail environment as the inmates. I would imagine that they were always anxious for their shifts to end so they could get home to their wives and families. I guess the reason I keep referring to them as big-dumb-gorillas is because of my frustration from being here in the first place. I was betrayed by this hokey kangaroo court and the guards represented everything that was wrong with the system. They were indeed, "just doing their job", and I resented them for it. I wanted to get out. I wanted to save my business and the guards were a symbol, at least to me, of every

354

A Crack In The Dike

bureaucratic limitation and hurdle I would be required to overcome in order to get out of here. Even though I resented them, I also empathized with their situation. Ever since that fight, I knew these big-dumb-gorilla guards had to put up with a tremendous amount of crap from the morons and idiots that cycled through the jail every day. On the other hand, it wasn't as though the guards didn't take an overly aggressive posture on a situation from time to time, for example, like they did with Nico. All I'm saying is because of the way they handled things sometimes, they brought a lot of the conflict, tension and animosity on themselves. Routinely, when a police officer would make an arrest, the idiot they arrested would be belligerent and generally tough to handle. The arresting officer would do his best to subdue the idiot, but once he got him in the back of the squad car he would also do his best to get the idiot all "riled up into a frenzy" so that once he was brought to the jail some type of confrontation was virtually inevitable. The conversations would go something like this. "Now look." The arresting officer would say as he looked at the idiot behind the screen of his squad car in his rear view mirror. "I don't care how much of a fuss you make, kicking and screaming like that.....but the guys in the jail......you're gonna' have to show `em who's the boss from the outset. If you don't they're gonna' walk all over you. You need to show `em who's boss. You know, get in their face. Get after `em. The jail guards are all a bunch of wimps and pussys. You gotta get `em to give you respect. That's what it's all about. Respect. Man. That's what it's all about." By the time the arresting officer dropped his new catch off at the jail, the idiot was ready to start a war with the first person, guard or inmate who crossed his path. Inevitably, since the guards were the first people that the idiot came in contact with at the jail, it would be the guards who would administer an immediate and severe attitude correction. The series of events would go something like this: The guard would ask the idiot a question or ask him to do something. The inmate would use some derogatory language and possibly spit in the guards face. At that point the victimized guard would call some of his other guard buddies over, explain the situation and they would

355

Part V ­ The Betrayal

whisk the idiot away into the "training room", which was a small, empty closet-like room where the jail security cameras had no access or view. The guards would work the offending idiot over, with one of the guards keeping watch so that a supervisor or captain might not detect the commotion and be forced to intervene. Usually, the management of the jail was relatively understanding of the situation and felt that it would do more harm than good to interrupt the "training" sessions. Once the "training" had begun, the idiot would begin screaming as though he was trapped in a burning building. Usually two, sometimes as many as four gorilla-guards administered the beating, most often using those night sticks which were extremely efficient instruments for cracking bones and bruising muscles. The training usually went on for fifteen minutes or a half an hour, with peaks and valleys of screaming that could be heard faintly through the ventilation ducts on all the floors of the jail. We all knew when a new idiot was mouthing off to a guard. A few minutes after the screaming would stop, the guards would drag the new arrival into one of the pods, plop him down on a mat and that's where the new idiot would stay for a few days, unable to move due to the severity of his beating. I learned later that many of the guards had attached names for their beating techniques. There was the "Bull Ride", the "Ton of Bricks", the "Lollapalooza" the "Yankee" and, my favorite, the "Nutcracker". I'm sure Nico had his share of the training, but again, I didn't understand why someone like him, once he got a dose of the "training" that awaited him for fighting in jail, would persist in picking fights. It made no sense to me. If the expected result of a behavior is a beating, why would anyone continue the behavior? The logic escaped me. As misfortune would have it, after one of several training sessions, Nico, the king of the idiots, was deposited in my pod. Since he was relatively busted up when they plopped him down on his mat in the middle of the floor, I hoped he'd refrain from causing any trouble, at least for a few days. I hated my pod almost as much as I hated the perverts and the miscreants who I was stuck there with. There was Raphael, a large Puerto Rican guy who was in for two years because he beat his wife to a pulp. The way the story went he would routinely go out on the town, sell drugs, rob convenience stores

356

A Crack In The Dike

and check out the offerings of local prostitutes....a real All-American guy. When his wife told him that she was leaving with their two small children, he hit her across the face with a bottle, knocking out several teeth, shattering her jaw and crushing a bone on the left side of her skull. After she went down, Raphael kicked her several times, spit on her, called her a whore and went out on the town to chase some crack whores. When the police caught up to him he was stoned out of his mind and freely admitted to the police that he smashed his wife's skull to get her respect. Interestingly, the idiots in my pod saw nothing wrong with Raphael's story and in fact admired him for taking a stand against the "bitch" of a wife he had. To a man, they all thought she must have deserved the beating since she was leaving Raphael for no good reason. In their eyes, Raphael was a successful man. He was independent and he did what he pleased. To the men in my pod, he was a hero. Tommy was a young kid I was always worried about. He was probably all of nineteen years old, skinny, frail and never at ease with himself. He was given an eighteen-month sentence for a string of burglaries and vandalism at his high school. For more than six months he had been breaking into his high school at night. On a regular basis, he would steal computers, teacher's personal belongings, radios, televisions and even the school's photo copier. They finally caught him when, after taking some gym equipment, the police had staked out the school and sure enough after a few days Tommy broke in again. They nabbed him in the gymnasium as he was spray painting tickle you on one of the walls. Once they caught him, they searched his house. In his parent's garage, under a blue plastic tarpaulin, the police found the booty from probably a half dozen break-ins. I couldn't help but wonder how Tommy's parents could have fallen asleep at the switch so badly through all of this. How could they not have been aware of their son bringing thousands of dollars worth of computers and electronics into the house? It was ludicrous. The reason I was so worried about Tommy was that he was always asking other inmates for string or nylon fibers that were loose on their mats. I could see that he was keeping these fibers and strings and carefully weaving them into a rope that he had been concealing from the guards. The rope was only three feet long, but he was able to add an inch or two to it every day. I made the assumption

357

Part V ­ The Betrayal

that Tommy was going to attempt to hang himself, if the opportunity arose. Another inmate, Hank, and I made a pact to watch him. We figured that between the two of us we could figure out if Tommy was going to do anything stupid. It would probably have been smarter if we had just called the rope to the guard's attention, but that just wasn't done in the pod. No prisoner ever informed on the activities of another prisoner. It was an unwritten rule, part of the code. So I just kept quiet about it. Hank was actually in jail for the same thing I had been arrested for; felony contempt for the failure to pay child support, except that Hank's story was a bit different than mine. Hank actually deserved to be in Jail. Hank made plenty of money. He was forty-six years old and a mechanic at the Kendex Manufacturing plant in Hartford. He had managed to evade paying any child support to the mother of his children for more than eight years. He had switched jobs seven times. He had moved at least that many and failed to show up for any court appearance to explain his actions. In that time Hank had been required to pay an average of roughly $600.00/mo. for three children, an amount that I considered to be relatively reasonable when compared to my burden. Because he had made no effort to pay, evaded the system, accumulated more than $50,000 in arrearages and in fact showed no remorse for not paying the "bitch" (in his own words), the court gave Hank a one year sentence. Hank, and people like him, is the reason that the courts have gone so hard in recent years on fathers who are unable to pay their child support. The courts have become so conditioned to having to deal with men like Hank, who willfully avoid their child support obligation, that when there is a situation like mine, which requires some leniency, the court has no inclination to give it. After talking with Hank and a few other men in my pod it became apparent that I was the exception, rather than the rule. There were eight men in my pod alone who had been jailed for failure to pay child support. Each of them had been given sentences ranging from sixty days to a year. Each of them had openly acknowledged that they hadn't paid the "bitch" anything for at least a year and each of them said that they would rather sit in jail and rot, than pay the "bitch" a nickel.

358

A Crack In The Dike

I spent the days playing chess with Hank and some of the other men. I was the undisputed chess champion of my pod. Again, it was incredible how stupid some of these men were. I actually had checkmate on one of the men in six moves. Hank wasn't a bad player, he kept me on my toes, but it was still just a matter of time before I beat him. Raphael sat down to play a game of chess with me one evening. I was a bit apprehensive about his playing me since I knew how volatile he could be. I took my time and complimented him on his strategies and openly admired every one of his moves. "Excellent Move!" I said. "Now let me see..." I feigned concentration for a moment. "Ahhhh...here it is....checkmate." I said confidently. Raphael looked down studying the board for a few seconds. He scratched his head. Seconds grew into minutes. "No, really Raphael....checkmate." I said again. Raphael looked puzzled. After a few more seconds he flipped the board into the air sending the pieces flying. "Tickle you," He shouted out as he walked away. The rest of the men in the pod laughed under their breath. Raphael had been disrespected by the skinny little college boy. I'm sure that this wouldn't be the last time I heard about this. Since Raphael had been given a two-year sentence he was fortunate enough to have his own cell. After he lost the game he stormed back into his cell to pout, slamming the heavy steel door behind him. September 4th 1998 After the longest month of my life, my hearing date had finally arrived. A big-dumb-gorilla guard would be arriving any minute at the window of my pod to take me to court. The hearing was at 9:00 AM so they had to start processing me somewhere around 8:30 AM. That was just enough time to eat my morning gruel and wait by the security door for the guard to buzz me out of my pod. The guard arrived in a few minutes and I walked through the double buzz doors. It was the same guard that had originally brought me up to my pod

359

Part V ­ The Betrayal

the first day I was brought in more than a month ago. "Hello Bud" I said. Bud remained silent. I walked out of the last door of my pod and the steel door buzzed shut. Bud asked me to hold out my hands and he put the cuffs on my wrists. I asked him if that was really necessary, and of course he replied that it was, citing some sort of regulation or procedure. I walked down a long corridor with Bud. We turned a couple of times and entered the courthouse, which was directly connected to the Fairfield County Jail. I must have really smelled bad. I'd not showered in days and my clothes weren't due to be exchanged until tomorrow. I could tell I stunk as people walking near me would turn their heads and walk a bit further away than would have been normal as we passed down the corridor. Bud and I got in an elevator and went up to the third floor of the courthouse. Bud passed a horrible ball of gas in the elevator. I pretended that I didn't notice, but I thought that this guy was an incredible jerk for waiting to do something like that in a closed space like this. When I first met Bud I thought he was a decent guy. Now, it was clear to me that he was just like the rest of them. What a jerk. Not even a dead-beat dad deserves to be farted-on in an elevator by a big-dumb-ass-gorilla guard. There was just no measuring the amount of disrespect I felt in the elevator. The doors opened and a young clerk and an older fellow, probably an attorney, got on the elevator and noticed the guard's stench immediately. The guard made a gesture to me and said "yeah...they stink when they've been locked up a while, don't they..." The three of them had a chuckle at my expense and we walked down the final hall to Judge Quinlan's courtroom. I walked in and immediately noticed Yurkoff. He was seated at a table to my left as I entered. When he heard the door open he immediately turned around to greet me. As he walked toward me I noticed McDonald and Angela seated at the other table across the aisle. The guard handed me off to Yurkoff, still cuffed, wearing my pale blue jail pants and shirt and those crummy plastic shoes that were nearly impossible to walk comfortably in. Luckily, courtesy of the commissary I had relatively clean underwear and socks on for my court appearance. The guard left the courtroom. Now there were two bailiffs watching Yurkoff's every move. Yurkoff had asked them to give us a little space and we moved to the back of the courtroom so we could discuss what we

360

A Crack In The Dike

were going to do with a bit more privacy. There was no one else in the courtroom, just Angela, McDonald, the two bailiffs, Yurkoff and myself. "Rob, here's what's going to happen. I'm going to talk about our deal and the agreed order and that the agreed order should have taken precedence over your contempt. They had agreed to drop the contempt request as long as you paid according to the new agreement. Based on that, I'm hoping that the Judge lets you out today." I listened to Yurkoff for a few minutes and thought through everything that could possibly go wrong. I wanted to make sure he said everything that he needed to say, yet I had no idea what those words might be. The court reporter walked into the room and began fidgeting with her equipment. After a few minutes the bailiff boomed "All rise for the honorable Judge Quinlan," I wondered why they made such a big deal about the formality of the proceedings. There were only a couple of people here. I wondered why we couldn't just talk this mess through and come to a compromise. Why did we have to adorn this pathetic little process in such pomp and circumstance? "Mr. Yurkoff, this hearing was convened at your request. You may proceed." Judge Quinlan began. "Well your honor, the reason I requested this hearing is that there has been an incredible mix-up. Mr. Woodbright has spent over a month in jail after we had negotiated a good faith settlement with his exwife, the Plaintiff, Angela Cleaver, to settle all child support issues and lift the contempt order so that Mr. Woodbright could resume regular visitation with his children. Your honor, I have an agreed order signed by my client and Ms. Cleaver agreeing to those terms and conditions. May I approach the bench?" "By all means." Judge Quinlan said.

361

Part V ­ The Betrayal

Yurkoff walked up to the bench and handed the order to Judge Quinlan. Judge Quinlan looked the order over very carefully for what seemed like an eternity. "Was this order ever filed?" She asked. "I don't remember ever signing it and I don't see it on the docket." "My understanding with attorney McDonald was that he was to file the document as soon as he received Mr. Woodbright's signature, which he did, as you can see on July 26th." "Is this correct?" McDonald. The Judge asked, directing her question to

"Well, your honor, it's partially correct." McDonald began in a weasel-like tone I had come to know all too well. "Our original intent was to settle the child support claim against Mr. Woodbright and restore his visitation, but my client changed her mind. That's why we never filed the order, or provided a motion to you requesting your issuance of the order. Our position is that we had never agreed to the reduction in child support, nor the reestablishment of visitation, therefore, because the agreed order was never filed, the only judicial order in place on this case is the order of contempt and the corresponding ninety-day jail sentence, which we believe that Mr. Woodbright should be required to serve." "Goddammit!" I shouted. Yurkoff grabbed my arm. "Mr. Yurkoff, control your client." Judge Quinlan barked as the bailiff stiffened to attention. "Your honor, both parties clearly agreed to this order, the willful failure to file the order on the part of McDonald is just another bit of bad faith gamesmanship intended to cause irreparable harm to my client." "Mr. McDonald, did you ever let Mr. Yurkoff know that your client had changed her mind on the agreed order?" Judge Quinlan asked.

362

A Crack In The Dike

"Yes, I called Mr. Yurkoff on the 27th of July to tell him that I wasn't going to be filing the agreed order." McDonald lied. I could tell by Yurkoff's reaction that McDonald had never made the call. "That's absurd!" Yurkoff replied forcefully. "You had never called me to tell me that the deal was off! The only conversation we had was to make arrangements for Rob to see his children, which he did." "That's not true." Snarled McDonald. "I told you the deal was off, but If Rob wanted to see his children it would be at his own risk. I even told you that the contempt order still stood. Angela, in good faith, made the children available, but somehow, the State Police found out that Mr. Woodbright was within the jurisdiction and they took action, as they are required to do..." "Somehow my ass..." I yelled out again. "This whole thing was a set up!" Yurkoff grabbed my arm. The judge banged her gavel and the bailiff moved closer to my table. "Your honor..." McDonald begged. "This is absurd, we have before us a child support felon who has fled the state owing a six figure arrearage, and he is upset because he got caught and is actually doing the sentence that this court had previously issued. Your honor, I might add that given the size of the arrearage and the purposeful and calculated effort on the part of Mr. Woodbright to avoid paying his child support obligation, the ninety-day sentence imposed is actually relatively lenient. Again, my client's position is that Mr. Woodbright should be required to serve the full ninety days and that the original child support order remain unadjusted." "Your honor...." Yurkoff begged. "If my client is required to serve the entire ninety day sentence he will most assuredly lose his investment business, which he has been working tirelessly to make a success. If he spends any more time in jail, and he consequently loses his business, he will have no resources to pay child support. He will be bankrupt, without employment and any means to produce an income anywhere near commensurate with what the court requires. I'm pleading with the court for reason here. Mr. Woodbright is a good man. He simply can't produce the amount of income that the

363

Part V ­ The Betrayal

court is requiring. He's made his best efforts to pay as much child support as possible, but it simply hasn't been enough to satisfy the court order. In fact, I doubt that any of us in this room, with the possible exception of Angela Cleaver are capable of generating that kind of income, and ironically, Ms. Cleaver is the recipient of the income. Your honor, please release my client, he is on his last legs and he needs to save his business both for himself and his children." "Mr. McDonald?" Judge Quinlan asked looking for a response. "Your honor, we've heard all of this before. Men come through this court every day claiming hardship, poverty and the inability to pay their child support obligations. We've not see one shred of evidence, which tells us that Mr. Woodbright is about to lose his business. For all we know he is rolling in dough and shipping boat loads of money to the Cayman Islands. The fact of the matter is simple. There is a child support order in place. Mr. Woodbright has not met the conditions of the order. He has been given many, many chances to comply and he has willfully avoided clearing up his arrearage. He was held in contempt by your court and now in an unimaginable act of defiance he has the gall to ask that he be let out after serving only a month of his sentence. This is unacceptable to my client. Thank you your honor" I wanted to strangle that little weasel. I'm not a violent man by any stretch of the imagination, but I really wanted to strangle him. The judge thought for a moment. "I'm sorry Mr. Yurkoff. Your motion is denied. There is no valid Agreed Order. The credibility of this court is at stake here. Your client will serve the entire ninety days." Judge Quinlan banged her gavel and stood up to leave the bench. "What!" I shouted back at the judge. "Credibility of the court? Credibility? How about the credibility of you and Angela doing the lesbian lambada in my old bed, in my old house! How's that for credibility.....huh....how about you showing up at Angela's house to arrest me, coincidence? Credibility! My ass!"

364

A Crack In The Dike

The judge glared at me. The bailiff removed his nightstick from its holster. Yurkoff sat and rubbed his temples as I went on. "This whole Court is a tickling farce! It's a sham. It's a set up, bought and paid for by Cleaver money.....you are just the latest in a long line of people that the Cleavers own...I'm tickling out of here." I screamed at the judge as I turned to leave the courtroom.

365

Part V ­ The Betrayal

366

Information

Microsoft Word - 42E56D97-71A2-202C9A.doc

76 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

583328