You Don't Pull On Superman's CapebySlirpuff©
Do you know how big an eight by eight room is? Since I wear a size ten and a half shoe I can step it off in just over nine steps, and I've done that a lot lately. You see, I've had too much spare time on my hands for the last four months and since I don't have my laptop with me right now, I'm trying to find something to keep my mind occupied. I either recite, in my mind, the periodic table or the formulas I was previously working on. Sometimes I lie in bed and listen to the sounds around me and try my best to identify them to bide my time. I keep telling myself what I did was in my best interest of my daughter. I know it was, but now I'm wondering if I also had an ulterior motive in doing what I did. Well, I'm not sure about anything anymore, but that's the story I'm sticking to, at least until I get out of here.
"Good morning, Mr. Moore. How are you feeling today?" my lawyer Victoria Howe asked as I was ushered over to the long shiny wooden table and my handcuffs removed.
"Pretty good. I've dropped another two pounds. I figure by Christmas I'll be at my ideal weight again. Did you know that I can do one hundred military push ups without stopping?" Our conversation was cut short.
"All rise, the fifth circuit court is now in session. The Honorable Judge Thomas presiding," the bailiff announced to everyone in the courtroom. The judge took her seat and adjusted her reading glasses before looking our way.
"Ms. Howe, are you and your client ready to proceed?"
"Yes, your honor," Victoria replied.
"Very well, then please proceed."
Victoria, or Vicki, as I like to call her, tried to submit another round of motions. The judge listened to her go on and on for what seemed like ten minutes without her even so much as taking in a breath. Vicky alleged that since I had been granted full custody of my daughter, Linda, what I was being subjected to was nothing more than cruel and inhumane punishment.
"Ms. Howe, is your client ready to tell the court the location of his daughter and allow his ex-wife her visitation with said daughter? Those are the only issues we are addressing today. The court doesn't dispute his custody claim. However, his ex-wife's visitation rights are not being met, and have not been for the last seven months. The condition of his release, as previously stated, is to relay to this court the location of his daughter. He also needs to allow his ex-wife her court ordered visitation rights. It further states that his ex-wife is willing to consider court supervised visitations if she is allowed to see her daughter again." I looked up at Victoria and shook my head.
"Your Honor, Mr. Moore, at this time, refuses to disclose the location of his daughter. Further we would like to submit a motion that he be allowed access to his laptop computer so that he can keep updated on his company's daily activities."
Distain, disgust, no, it was more like anger flowed over the judge's face. It was almost like she was saying to herself, "how dare you not comply with my order?"
"Motion denied," the judge told Vicki loudly.
"Mr. Steven Moore is to remain in custody in the county jail until such time that he discloses the location of his daughter, Linda Moore." With that the judge pounded her gavel and said, "next case."
Before the bailiff could come over to return me to my cell Vicky whispered, "She has it in for you, you know that don't you? She's going to keep you locked up until you tell her where Linda is." I could tell Vicky, like the judge, was getting more and more frustrated with me.
"Vicki, just do whatever you have to do to get me out of here, I don't care what or how."
"Steve, tell them."
"Can't do that and you know why. Just go back to your office and do what I'm paying you a lot of money to do. Also, have Carl stop by tomorrow and give me an update on how my company is doing," I said looking at a grim Vicki.
"Steve, I'm running out of options."
"Vicki, I have faith in you that I'll be out of here and celebrating Christmas with my family again. So, no matter what the cost get me the hell out of here." At that, I was cuffed again and escorted back to my cell.
That's the way my last three court appearances have gone. Vicki was right; the judge had a hard-on for me. She had the reputation of being a hard ass. She let no one fuck with her in her courtroom, no matter how much money they had, and I had a lot. Carl stopped by the following day and gave me an update on how my company was doing without me there.
"Carl, I'd wish you would smile once in a while, it would really lift my spirits for Christ's sakes," I said with a grin.
"Steve, how can I smile when there is a ton of stuff not getting done because you're rotting in this place? Tell them what the hell they want to know so we can get back to running your company." I gave him a look. "Ok, I tried, let's get on with it."
Over the next hour he gave me a run down on how everything was going. I trusted this guy with my life and he never disappointed me. We were still making money, but the negative publicity in the papers was hurting some of our new business.
"Carl, those idiots are doing it to make themselves look good in the eyes of media and their stockholders. You and I both know they can't get our products anywhere else state side, so they'll have to deal with me eventually. However, there are two companies I want you to make pay dearly when they do come back. They've slammed me in the press and they're going to pay ten fold for each word that was printed. By the way, how is our other project going?" I asked knowing fully well that my conversations were always being recorded.
"Making progress but it's slow and expensive."
"Carl," I said looking him directly in the eye. "I don't care how much money or people you have to throw at it, I want it done and done soon. Do you understand?"
"Yes boss, I just wanted you to be aware of the costs."
"I trust that my company will still be in good shape when I'm out of here and don't worry, you'll be amply rewarded. On another note, find another group of lawyers to help Victoria Howe. The judge seems to have a personal vendetta against me. See if we can get her removed from my case."
"You know if that doesn't work you're just going to piss her off even more, don't you?"
"And your point? What's she going to do, throw me in jail?" I snickered.
"Also do a background check on her. There's got to be something there we can use," I told him standing up since our hour was now over. "Take good care of my baby will you?" I turned and walked back to my cell. That night I recounted the cracks in the ceiling and came up with one more after counting and recounting five times; twenty-one, "I'll have to complain about my accommodations to the judge," I joked to myself before lying back on my bed.
The divorce was ugly if for no other reason than I thought it would never happen to us. Thank God, my father had talked me into having an iron clad prenuptial agreement drawn up or it could have been a whole lot worse. I had just established myself in the industry and my eyes were blinded by my love for Shelia. I didn't see any need for one back then. Hell, we were going to be in love forever, I guess forever only lasts eight and a half years. Thankfully she agreed to sign it. I guess she thought forever was forever too, even though it wasn't.
Like I said before, I'm rich but most of all, I'm smart, and maybe a little arrogant too. I guess I could have skipped high school altogether, but my mom said I needed to have a normal upbringing. That included the high school experience, even though I was bored most of the time. She did agree, however, to allow me to take college courses on line, as long as it didn't interfere with my normal life. I finished college and had my BA by the time I became a senior in high school.
Mom also saw to it that I dated at least twice a month. Most girls I met were dumb as rocks compared to me, and I tired easily of their stupid teenage attitudes and games. At five foot ten and a hundred and sixty five pounds I wasn't a jock and had the build to prove that, but I didn't wear geeky glasses or use a pocket protector either. I was pretty average looking. You know, the kind girls would say to each other about guys like me, "well, he has a great personality." My parents weren't rich and I drove their hand me down car. I guess you might joke I was a good catch for the prom queen, yeah right.
"Mom, I really don't want to go tonight," I'd tell her over and over while she drove me to one social function after another.
"Honey, do it for me will you? Find a nice girl, talk to her and even ask her to dance. Young man, you may be book smart, but you also need to know how to interact with others. You can't learn social graces from a book, you have to live it first hand," she would always remind me with a smile on her face. "Now go in and have a nice time."
My mother never took no for an answer. She was going to make me a social butterfly one way or another. Me? I would rather blend in with the surroundings and live my own life as inconspicuous as possible. That however proved to be pretty hard after someone gave me the nickname Brain and it stuck; kids can be so brutal some times.
High school graduation set me free. I had received a full fellowship to our state university and could pretty much do what I wanted to after that. I had a double major in chemistry and biology with a minor in math. Through the college I got a research grant to do work on food enzymes and that's how I met Shelia. She was studying to become a lab tech. At 5'4 with light brown wavy hair, sparkling blue eyes, and a nice body, she was both smart and cute in a geeky sort of way. I may have been the consummate academic, but I could also appreciate a pretty girl when I saw one.
I spent most hours in the lab and when she came in to do class work I was always there. Every once in a while she'd get stuck on a problem and ask me a question or two. I was always more than happy to help her out. What started out as just a question here and there became full-blown discussions on what I was working on. Though Shelia could comprehend the concepts of what I was trying to do, the principals of how I was going about it usually eluded her. When I invited her to dinner we shared a pizza and pitcher of soda, and I was starting to like her a lot more than just a lab partner. Alas, much to my dismay, she told me that her schoolwork came first and that even though we could date, she was not looking for a relationship right now. So, we remained just good friends and dated on and off, as she would allow.
A double doctorate in chemistry and biology and a master's degree in business ended my short years of college. I'd learned all I could and was now applying for my own government research grants. With help I obtained two and set up shop in a small storefront building. I took out loans and my parents even put a second mortgage on their house to help me finance my new lab and equipment. When I started working fourteen to sixteen hours a day, my mom quit her job to help me with the endless governmental paperwork. This allowed me the time to concentrate solely on my work. When I made my first breakthrough it was especially wonderful since it was after my grants had run out; the results and future profits were going to be all mine. When I made my second and third breakthroughs, my dad quit his job and became my business manager. Life was busy but good.
The one thing I never realized was that when you want to hire someone good, you don't need to look for them; all you need to do is put out feelers and they'll find you. I felt I needed two top-notch people to help me with my work. I was looking for the best in the field. I wasn't making a ton of money, but with the right people I felt I could be within a couple of years, especially after knowing that my four patents were probably going to be approved next year. I must have interviewed twenty people who thought they were good and by the time I was done with them they walked out with their tail between their legs.
Kathy came recommended by an old friend of mine from school. She was extremely shy and almost never looked me in the eyes; but she was super bright.
"Kathy, tell me about yourself, what's your home life like?" I asked.
She looked at me and said she lived with her parents and younger brother. No boyfriend, which didn't surprise me, but needed a job now that she was out of school.
Her grades were great and although I couldn't pay a hell of a lot, I offered her a job.
"Kathy, I can offer you two thousand dollars a month to start. You'll be on salary and not punching a clock. I expect you to do your job, because I won't have the time to baby-sit you. If you do what I ask, you'll grow with the company and so will your salary."
"Mr. Moore, will there be a certain dress code here?" she blushed slightly when she asked me that.
"Kathy, I don't care if you work nude, just so long as you get the job done." My reply caused her to blush even more. She accepted and I was down to needing only one more employee.
Carl was working for a big pharmaceutical house. He was pulling down a huge salary but had been passed over for a promotion because of office politics. He was more than a little pissed. He was what I was looking for, but we were a long ways away on what I could afford to pay him and what he thought he was worth.
When he received an offer from another company we met one more time. He threw the offer on my desk to show me he wasn't bull shitting me about the amount.
"Carl, if I were you, I'd take that offer and run with it. "However, in three years from now when I'm doing great and that amount is chump change, I hope you'll still feel the same way," I said handing his papers back to him. "But, if you accept my last offer next year I will give you one percent ownership in my company, and every year there after up to five percent. So, you can take the money on the table now, or work your ass off and have a real future down the road; it's your choice." It took him two days, but he took my offer, I was set.
We were growing rapidly and I needed additional help both in the lab and in the office. One day when I went out to grab lunch for everyone at the nearby Subway I ran into Shelia. She was standing in line, about four people ahead of me. I hadn't seen her since her senior year in college.
When she walked by me with her order she stopped to talk, hell, we ended up having lunch together. She was working at a small lab about two miles away and not making a whole lot of money. Shelia figured she needed the experience before asking for what she thought she was worth.
"What are you looking at, money wise?" I asked.
"Right now I'm making fifteen hundred a month without any benefits. I figure I'm worth at least two grand and full medical," she told me without blinking an eye.
"Can you type?"
"What do you mean can I type?"
"It's a simple question, can you type more than just pecking at a keyboard?"
"Can't everyone?" she replied not knowing where this conversation was headed.
"Well, if you can type, and you're not above doing filing and miscellaneous lab work I'd like to offer you a job."
"Steve, who are you working for?"
"Myself. I've got my own lab over on Canal Street. I've got two employees and my parents working for me right now and we all could use a little help. Here," I said giving her my card. "Think about it, come around after work one day and I'll give you the tour. I'd love to talk more, but I've got everyone's lunch here and they're not going to be happy I'm so late. Think about it Shelia," I suggested once more.
"Where have you been, I'm starved?" Carl asked.
"Met an old friend and offered her a job," I said passing out the food.
"Her? Someone I should know about?" he pronounced with a stupid grin.
"Just a girl I dated in college a few times, that's all."
"And what will her duties be, pray tell?"
"Carl, you really are an asshole," I shot back throwing him a can of Coke.
"Just asking, boss, but you don't have to tell me if it's too personal." Everyone laughed except mom.
Shelia came by on Thursday after work. She knocked on the door and when no one answered the bell in front she tried the door, found it unlocked and walked in.
"Anyone here?" she yelled out as she walked through the door into the lab. Dad and I were the last ones there and I rose to greet her.
"Shelia, I'm glad you could make it," I said walking over to her. "Shelia, this is my dad, Ken," I introduced them to each other. My dad held out his hand. "Dad, Shelia and I went to school together," I explained.
"So, this is the woman you offered the position?" he said sizing her up.
"Shelia, let me give you the nickel tour of my baby."
For the next two hours I went into great detail showing her where we currently were and where I expected us to be in the next couple of years.
"We've just signed three new contracts and are expanding to a larger facility. My dad has secured financing and by Christmas we'll be twice the size we currently are. Sheila, I think you'd be a good addition to our group and I can match the salary you are looking for."
"Don't you want to look at my resume or anything before offering me a job?"
"You forget we already worked together at the college."
"Steve, you worked, and I studied."
"Well, I know you're smart, a hard worker and have an open mind when it comes to new ideas. With those attributes you'll make a fine addition to our staff."
"Well, in that case, I accept your offer. I do need to give my present employer a week's notice, but I can start right after that."
We shook on it. My dad watched on without saying a word.
"I'll expect to see you bright and early on the fifteenth. Wear whatever you are comfortable in. We have casual Friday every day of the week here. You also don't have to worry about lunch, one of the perks is we supply lunch, and dinner if we have to stay late."
Ten minutes later she was gone and dad and I finished up.
"You like her, don't you?"
"Dad, she's just a girl I dated a couple of times, that's all."
"Steve, remember it's me you're talking to," he replied without cracking a smile. "We've got a tough six months ahead of us and I need your head in the right place until we've moved and settled in our new place."
"Dad, you worry too much."
"Son, that's my job."
Shelia started and she was better than I even expected. She picked up on everything fast and became an asset almost over night. Everyone was happy for me except my dad. He watched my feelings for Shelia grow and although he was receptive he was also cautious.
"How come dad doesn't like Shelia?" I questioned my mom one night.
"Steve, he likes Shelia but feels you've got too much on your plate right now for romance."
"Mom, dad proposed to you on your third date and you guys were married two weeks later; and he thinks I'm moving too fast?" She laughed.
"You know your dad, he'll be looking out for you until the day he dies, but I will talk to him."
Shelia and I dated when there was time, and when there wasn't, we improvised. After doing an inventory late one Friday night we finally did it on a bail of packing material in the shipping department.
It started off as just one kiss. One turned into ten and then with probing tongues our clothes melted away. We finally did what I had planned on doing the following weekend.
"I was hoping our first time would be on a big bed with satin sheets," Not, on a bail of bubble wrap," I said popping a few of the bubbles with my hands.
"Steve, I thought it was romantic; noisy but romantic. And, if you still want to do it again on satin sheets, you're not going to hear me complain." We did it again the following Friday at the Hampton Inn. We had Friday night through Sunday afternoon together; it was heaven.