Good Morning Ted and Jody:
It turns out that snow we drove home in from Vancouver Tuesday evening was the start of something big—OK regionally big. 30 minutes after we drove through I-5 literally came to a standstill for several hours. The result of the snow the next day was Portland and Vancouver had a snow say. The local television stations preempted the network broadcasting to tell us, over and over again, that this was the most snow the area has had in over 40 years. They also mentioned that people should stay home. What they should had said, was people should stay off the roads. For, the rest of the days coverage showed vehicles parked in places that made driving hazardous even without the foot of snow on the ground. One news program reported that a convoy of snowplows loaded with salt were on the way and would be in the area in the middle of the night. (I do hope they did not get stuck in the Columbia Gorge.) So regionally it was a very big deal. As for the amount they got it was about a foot. It was similar to the picture of you, Jody, blowing the snow in your drive.
The only driving I did yesterday was to move the Aztec to beside the garage and put the Honda where the Aztec was to make our front gravel more hospitable to delivery trucks and the mail lady. I did take the Aztec as far as the mail box and saw that Hall Road was largely passable ruts.
The temperature plummeted again so we started the paying higher water fees again (let the faucet in the small bathroom very slowly run all night). Things are once again promised to be winter normal with temperatures in the 40s by Tuesday when it starts to rain again. They are expecting a lot of rain. Between now an Tuesday we are to experience an icebox effect (first time I ever heard that term in a weather report) with sun and clear skies. Nancy is demanding that I do something about this cold and snow. I am looking for my old chemistry set to see if there is a weather changing experiment I can do to meet her needs.
I did write another segment in the Amanda Saga. It is attached.
I do hope this finds you healthy and warm.
Warmest Regards, Ed
036 Trying to Make Sense of Judge Belemany
Fiction in 1556 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
When Detective Batan and Special Agent Fleishman opened the door to Edith Gunderson they saw Detective Philipson had moved a large white board down from the detective squad and it had three columns of Patent Holder Names. Several entries had children’s names after the Patent Holder Name. As the two men watched, Technical Officer O’Brian called out another name. “Mr. and Mrs. George Wythe tried to adopt Patrick Sullivan 19 years ago.”
As Detective Philipson wrote George White on the white board, Edith Gunderson shouted, “NO, W Y T H E,” she spelled out one letter at a time. “Not White! My God, the Judge must have thought I said Wythe instead of White.”
Everyone looked up. Jeremy Eastman spoke first, “An easy mistake. But why does it matter?”
Edith Gunderson looked around. “Who has Patrick Sullivan’s folder?”
Mr. Murphy picked it up off the conference table and handed it across to her.
Edith Gunderson opened the folder and began reading. After a few minutes, while all watched she put it down and said, “They were the folks who threatened to sue me when their adoption petition was denied by the court. That is the reason the Judge told me he would represent me in the matter. Remember,” she said, turning to Detective Batan who was still standing in the open door to her office. “I told you he was my attorney?”
Detective Batan nodded.
Edith Gunderson continued. “It was after I saw the Wythe’s interact with Patrick Sullivan that I recommended and I assured them that his adoption would get a very strong and favorable recommendation from me, from Child Protective Services. “
“Why, what did you observe? “Asked Jeremy Eastman.
“George Wythe has an electronics repair business. He was one of the very first places one could go to get one’s computer repaired and at a reasonable cost. I dropped by and found George’s and Patrick’s heads together putting together a broken computer. Now, you have to understand that Patrick was 15-years-old and came into the system from a good home. Unfortunately, his parents were killed in a drive by shooting when they were shopping in an open-air market one night. The boy was devastated. His parents’ murders happened when he was 13. He did not smile or interact with anyone for more than 18 months. But, when he went to stay with George and Marion Wythe the computer repair business brought him out of his shell. The way George told it was that he, George, was working on a mother board and the Patrick was watching closely. George said he shook his head and said, ‘I don’t see the problem,’ and walked away. George said, it was a simple disconnected wire. George said, ‘Patrick picked it up and turned it over in his hands and then asked me, could it be this wire.’ Well I made a big deal over that and Patrick asked lots of questions’ George said. That month in the shop with George and Marion’s cooking brought Patrick back to life.”
“So, why was the adoption turned down?” Asked Jeremy Eastman.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t in the court that day, I thought it was a slam dunk. The files were sealed and kept in chambers. The Judge said it was best and that not to worry, he would be my legal representative if the Wythes ever followed through on their threat to sue me.” Said Edith.
“Why would they sue?” Asked Jeremy Eastman.
Edith Gunderson replied. “Adoptions are not cheap and they are intrusive into a family’s lives. They take time. I just have no idea why that one fell through.”
Special Agent Fleishman held an index finger up and said, “Perhaps I can find out? Officer O’Brian, what was the date of that adoption hearing?”
Edith Gunderson handed him the case file and pointed to the date on the bottom of the second page.
Special Agent Fleishman nodded and said “I’ll be back in a jiffy” as he disappeared.
When Agent Fleishman had vanished, Detective Philipson said, “I don’t believe I will ever get use to that.” Then he turned to Mr. Murphy. “Which patent did the non-existent Patrick Wythe hold?”
Mr. Murphy read the computer screen he was using for a few moments and then stuck his head up and said, “Something called ‘force sensor multi-touch touch screen glass’.” Then he looked puzzled. “Whatever that is?”
Jeremy Eastman replied, “That’s the glass on your smartphone that lets you use your finger to make calls, play games or get it to do anything.”
Mr. Murphy looked impressed. “My that was one hell of a breakthrough.”
“Who holds the actual patent?” Asked Detective Batan.
“Judge Belemany’s estate.” Replied Technical Officer O’Brian.
Detective Batan said. “Inventing glass touch screens is a rather strange sideline for a family court judge.”
Technical Officer O’Brian said “That is not even scratching the surface, the late Judge holds patents in at least a dozen different technical fields, even one in space craft design.”
The conversation was interrupted by Special Agent Fleishman popping in to where he had left a minute or so ago. He was silent for a moment as he assessed the dynamics of the room and said, “I hope I am not interrupting anything.” No on responded, so he continued. ”It seems the late Judge used blackmail to stop the Wythes from adopting Patrick Sullivan. The judge asked the couple to join him in his chambers. That made it a bit tricky for me to hear everything, but fortunately, I know a fellow who has all sorts of equipment for such purposes and he lent me little device, I put in the judge’s chambers and picked up afterward—sound and video, I believe you call it. The Judge began by remarking that George was a deacon in his church and Marion a Sunday School teacher. He then wondered if their congregation knew about what he called their childhood indiscretions and time in the juvenile facilities or the abortion Marion had while in her early teens. George was very angry and did say the files the Judge referred to were sealed. And what did that have to do with anything as that was more than twenty years prior. The Judge played it cool and allowed as how they were attempting to adopt a child their sealed record had to be unsealed to see if they were fit. And the guy spread his hands and said, ‘once unsealed they always end-up in the hands of the press. However, if the adoption is off, then the records are resealed again.’”
Edith Gunderson had been fidgeting while Special Agent Fleishman told the story of why the Wyeths did not adopt Patrick Sullivan. She stood, indignantly and said “That is not how it works. Sealed records are not opened in adoption cases. Indeed, they are sealed for a reason. Did you happen to find out why the Wythes’ records were sealed? Or, did you happen to find out how Judge Belemany was able to find and unseal them?”
“I did put a few investigators on that.” Said Special Agent Fleishman. “What they found is the Judge made a number of transports before he transported to this time period. The judge transported to this city in future times and picked up files from various archives that were supposedly shredding or disposing of files that were no longer current. In short files that were over 200 years old. I think he picked this time because they, er, you are just past using paper files and have almost converted to computer files. We figure the Judge thought since you were starting to use computer files, the paper files would be useable but not stand out, and not be noticed.”
Detective Philipson said, “So that is why the paper is brittle, it is over 200 years old.”
Special Agent Fleishman replied “Precisely.”
Detective Batan then said, “So, the attempt on Ms. Gunderson is because the Judge thought she said Wythe instead of White. And the Wythe case in the hands of the press would do exactly what?”
Jeremy Eastman replied. “If I got part of a story about a judge taking adoptive parents into his chambers, the adoption not continuing despite a glowing report by Ms. Gunderson here, I would track down the people and talk to them. Enough could have changed for the Wythes in that time that they would be willing to go on the record about a judge blackmailing them into dropping an adoption case. The names are on paper files. Who better than the Judge knew the power of paper files. He would have realized that the paper existed in Ms. Gunderson’s domain and she obviously remembered as she called him and gave him what amounted to a warning. Kill her and the paper would not have someone to remember the Wythes were in any folder at all. Kill her and I would not have a clue. Investigative reporting over before it started.”
Special Agent Fleischman turned to Detective Batan. “Would you mind if we went to talk to Mrs. White now?
Detective Batan with a concerned look on his face checked his watch. “Aren’t we late?
Special Argent Fleishman chuckled, “This does take some getting used to, doesn’t it?” With that, he and Detective Batan disappeared—vanished.