Joe returned to 1952 and found himself in his grandfather’s body with his grandfather’s memories and experience. He wanted to stop his grandfather from turning state’s evidence on the small-time gangsters of the day hoping that the rift between the two families would vanish and positively affect his future.
This week’s installment of Extra Innings gives us a glimpse of how this turned out for Joe. Hang on. It’s a fun ride.
If you want to catch up on the previous installments of this serial, you can click on these links:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26
Joe quickly ran the options through his mind. He could lie to these mobsters and end up beaten to a pulp, or worse. A wrong move could end up with his grandfather, grandmother and father dead and no future to go back to. The men squeezed through the office doorway and began to crowd in on Joe. He decided to give the truth a try.
“They were here looking for incriminating information on your boss’s finances. They want to haul him in on tax evasion or some other charge.”
“What did you tell them?”
“I told them I didn’t have anything to give them and that my client information is confidential.”
“That better be the truth. If it’s not, we will be back to chat with you again.”
Joe decided it was now or never. He reached into the desk for the folder with Roselli’s files. Both men instinctively reached inside their jackets.
“Whoa. I’m just grabbing a file,” Joe said.
He took out the folder and handed it to one of the men.
“This is everything from Mr. Roselli’s file that the FBI might find interesting. It’s the only copy. You can take it with you and Mr. Roselli can do with it whatever he wants.”
The man looked at the file pretending to understand what was there.
“And you say this is the only copy,” he said after closing the folder.
“It is. Take it. When you give it to Roselli, tell him he’ll need to find a new accountant. I don’t want to be part of his dealings anymore.”
The man with the folder chuckled.
“That’s not really up to you McLean. You’re done when he says you’re done.”
He glanced at the other mobster bookend and they both turned to leave.
“We’ll be in touch, McLean. You better hope this is the only copy. Any funny business and you and your pretty little family just might wake up dead.”
They turned to leave and as Joe heard the front door close, he wondered if he had done the right thing. He left the office and headed back up the stairs to his grandparents’ flat. It was surreal, but, thankfully, almost over.
“What did those other men want, Bill?”
“They were just some guys who work for one of my clients.”
“Not that awful Mr. Roselli, was it?
“Well, as a matter of fact, they were. It was just routine stuff, though. Nothing to worry about. I gave them what they needed. I also told them I wanted to stop being Mr. Roselli’s accountant.”
A look of worry crossed the face of Joe’s grandmother.
“Do you think he’ll just let you do that?”
“We’ll find out.”
“Well, Mr. McLean. I’m proud of you. Our son is in bed asleep. If you’d like, I can show you how proud I am,” she said with a devilish grin.
Joe wasn’t sure how to answer this one. His grandmother was still young and more than a little attractive, but the resemblance to the woman in her 60s and beyond that he knew was still there. He needed to get himself out of this awkward situation without making her too suspicious or hurting her feelings so that his grandfather would feel her wrath when he ‘returned’.
“I’m just going to watch the news for a little bit and then I might take you up on that offer.”
That seemed to make her feel better.
“Okay Mr. McLean, but don’t you fall asleep in that chair. I don’t want to have to come in here and wake you up, although that might be fun.”
Joe began to realize that his grandmother had a frisky side in her youth.
“I won’t. I promise,” Joe said although he fully intended to fall asleep as soon as possible and return to his timeline. Hopefully, his grandfather would be back in control and can receive his reward. A win-win, Joe hoped.
Joe’s grandmother went off to bed and Joe settled into the familiar easy chair that he remembered from his grandparents’ home as a child. It was much newer in this time period, but no less comfortable. He absently looked around for the television remote and then realized as he looked at the black and white television in its ornate wooden cabinet, that there was no remote. He got up, turned on the television and adjusted the antenna until the news broadcast was visible with minimal snow, shadows and rolling of the picture.
He then settled back into the chair. The local news was actually broadcast from Erie, Pennsylvania, the closest large city. There was the usual docket of stories that you would expect from 1952. More about fires and auto accidents. Less about the weather and murder. No scandals, no celebrity melt-downs, just good old fashioned small-town America.
Luckily, that quality in these stories combined with the comfortable easy chair started to make Joe feel drowsy. He put his head back and began to doze. Suddenly he was awakened by a loud sound that he couldn’t pace in his state of semi-consciousness. He opened his eyes and the space he was in went quickly from pitch black to light like a giant, noisy eyeball ascending.
“What the hell are you doing in here?” a voice said shaking Joe out of the darkness and slumber.
“I’m sorry. I was looking around and got sleepy,” Joe said.
“Mr. McLean. You must have been going through all of that baseball stuff again.”
Joe squinted as he looked toward the voice and the roundish silhouette that blocked part of the sunlight. It was Jaba, a.k.a. Randy. He was being polite and knew who Joe was. Those were positive signs. Joe stood up and realized he was no longer in his jeans and shirt from the previous contemporary timeline. He also smelled a whole lot better. He was wearing a suit and tie that, judging from the tailoring and the material, was not off-the-rack or inexpensive. Another good sign. Joe walked out of the storage unit and Randy stood aside to let him pass.
“I saw your Jag parked out in front of the unit and figured you might be in here. You should take all of that baseball stuff home. It’s probably worth something now, with the name change and all.”
Joe let that comment pass. He didn’t want to make Randy suspicious, but that was the first revelation about this timeline that gave him pause. The name had changed from the Chiefs to something else? He had a Jag?
“Thanks, Randy,” Joe said.
He felt the urge to tip him for some reason. He reached into his right front pants pocket and found a substantial wad of bills. He peeled off a twenty and put it in Randy’s chubby paw.
“Thank you Mr. McLean. I won’t let anybody know you were in here if they ask.”
Randy was being polite to the point of subservience. This also made Joe feel that tickle on the back of his neck like things weren’t quite right. He saw a beautiful black Jaguar XKR-S GT. He knew from browsing the Jaguar website that this model cost upwards of $350,000. He actually owned one. Things must have turned out well in this timeline.
He opened the door, but first stopped to remove his jacket. It felt like high-end silk and he didn’t want to wrinkle it. He noticed that he was wearing a very expensive dress shirt with French cuffs and what looked to be solid gold cufflinks with a letter ‘M’ monogrammed on each. His taste was very extravagant in this timeline. Much more than he would have imagined. Somehow, it felt natural.
The Jaguar had a pushbutton start and Joe must have had the keys with him because it started when he applied the brake and pushed the button. The powerful engine roared to live and Joe felt a low vibration course through his body. He carefully maneuvered the vehicle out of the rows of storage units and then a though hit him. He didn’t know where to go.
He picked up his jacket and felt a wallet in his left breast pocket. He extracted it and found that it was also very high-quality, but a bit garish. It was made out of some type of reptile skin, maybe alligator. There was a clear compartment inside which held his driver’s license. When he looked for the address, he had to glance at it twice. Two timelines ago, he had what he thought was his dream house. If the address on this license was correct, his standing, as far as residences go, had improved significantly. His house was on East Shore Road. This was a very exclusive area just outside of Langerton along a beautiful, and highly regulated, lake. Just the small plots of land that occasionally came for sale started at about a million dollars. The houses that were built on the land were significantly more. Joe couldn’t believe that he lived there. Maybe his concerns about this timeline were unfounded.
He put the car back in drive and maneuvered toward the exit of Langerton Deluxe Storage, only the sign at the entrance bore a different name. Roselli-McLean Deluxe Storage. All of a sudden, Joe felt the urge to vomit all over the inside of his expensive car. He pulled into a parking spot near the entrance and opened the window. As he took deep breaths, he tried to piece together what might have happened. Apparently, his grandfather hadn’t ended his relationship with Roselli. It also appeared that Roselli hadn’t gone to jail. What happened? Joe needed to find out. He decided he would drive to his house and get to a computer before he jumped to conclusions.