Family Lies Chapter 9: Detectives?

Drawing of a partly-built brick wall with a sign saying: "Under construction." Caption reads: "Work in progress."

Family Lies Chapter 9: Detectives?

Emily called Detective Carstairs first, and explained what Elsie had said.  

“We’ll look into that,” the detective said, “and we’re having a word with your ex-husband as well.  The kid’s co-operating, but he doesn’t seem to know anything more than he already told you. We’ve traced the original contact he had back to a computer at the local library, and the only fingerprints on the notes apart from yours are his.  The person pulling his strings was smart enough to wear gloves, apparently.”

Emily thanked her, and then called Jessica.

“Do you have your own private detectives there?” she asked.

“Private detectives? You mean like fictional lawyers on American tv shows have on staff? No. We don’t have any of those.  Why do you ask?”

“I guess that was asking too much.  My father had another child. The mother would have been under aged. I want to know where my father went after he left my mother, and what happened to his child. Maybe who the child was.  I know the police are going to try to find all of that out, but I was hoping you might have the resources to find out faster?”

“Well I don’t have a detective, but I have a clerk who is good at searching public records, things like birth, deaths, marriages, electoral rolls. Let’s see what she can find out.”

“I know it might not lead anywhere.”

“But it could lead somewhere, and now you need to know.  I’ll do what I can.”

“And what about the kid? Jacob Henderson? Was he willing to have you tell me his story?”

“Yes, and it is a sad story.  When you said you didn’t think he had anyone, you were pretty close.  Mum’s in behind bars, serious drug offences.  She’s not getting out in the foreseeable future. Dad’s not in the picture, hasn’t been as long as he can remember.  He’s in the foster care system, been kicked from one carer to another over and over.  He actually told his foster parents about UNKNown.”

“And they didn’t tell him it was a bad idea, and probably illegal?”

“He told them U. N. Known had offered him two hundred dollars for each message he delivered.  They encouraged him and took the money from him.  He doesn’t have anything of his own and shares a room with two other foster kids.”

“I want to help him,” Emily said.

“You’re providing him a solicitor.  When you get our bill this month you might decide you’ve helped him more than enough.  You aren’t responsible for him.”

“But the adults who are responsible for him have let him down.  What do you think would have happened to me if my mother had been like the adults in his life?  What would have happened to my kids if I had been like them? Surely someone should do something.  I’m someone with the resources. Can I pay his expenses? Get him an education?”

“If you give him money outright, I suspect it will go the same way as the money U. N. Known paid him.”

“Can we bypass the foster parents somehow?”

“I could set up a trust, whereby the trust pays expenses that are invoiced to it, or reimburses on presentation of receipts. It’s not foolproof, they could submit invoices for things they then sell instead of giving it to the kid.”

“Would that be legal?”

“Submitting expenses, and then selling the item? No that wouldn’t be legal.  That would be fraud, but people do it. We’d also have to negotiate with the Family Services Department, since he’s in care. They might object to one kid in care getting something others didn’t.”

“I guess that’s fair enough.  I know I can’t help every kid in trouble, but there’s something about this one. I suppose because he’s the one who turned up on my doorstep.  And because, you said his father left him, like my father left me. Can you contact the Department, see if it’s doable, and if so start whatever paperwork needs to be done to establish the trust.”

“You’ll need to appoint trustees.  This firm could do that, but there will be a cost, and you’ll have to decide whether you want that cost to come out of the trust or if you’ll pay it directly. And you’ll have to think about how much you want to give him, and what happens when he ages out.  When he’s an adult does he get whatever money’s left, or does it go back to you.  That kind of thing.  It’s a lot to consider, so you’re going to need to think about it if you really want to go ahead.  It might be easier to just give the money to a charity for disadvantaged kids.”

“It might be easier, but I still want to help this particular kid.  So if you can look into it, I’d appreciate that.  Can you email me all those questions you wanted me to think about?  My thinker is all thunk out at the moment.”

Chapters of Family Lies

Note, this is the first draft. What eventually is published as a book (if it is published as a book), will be edited, rewritten, and re-edited, and may not have much in common with this first draft.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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