Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lost & Found

The son of middle-class parents, Ralph became a business magnate through a wining combination of mendacious charm and ruthless cunning. His first wife divorced him because of his philandering, but he paid her off to have custody of their son Justin. Outwardly, Justin had everything, yet there was something missing in his life until he discovered the Bible. Or did the Bible discover him?

Ralph was diagnosed with cancer when Justin was 15. Ralph had the best treatment that money could buy, but unlike most things in Ralph's world, cancer couldn't be bought off. It just wasn't impressed by his portfolio. 

Before he died, Ralph bribed a judge–an old acquaintance–to make Justin an emancipated minor, so that his ex-wife wouldn't claim the estate. Ralph was always good at buying people. Only the cancer rebuffed his financial solicitations. 

At 16, Justin became the sole heir when his father succumbed. Rummaging through his late father's private and legal correspondence, Justin discovered that he had a younger half-brother named Jason, age 14. Turns out his father had a mistresses. When she became pregnant, he tried to coerce her into having an abortion, but she refused. She was holding out for a settlement. The child was a bargaining chip. She understood the value of leverage as well as Ralph. So he bought her silence with a princely onetime lump sum payment. That's what he did best. Buying and selling people in his life. 

Justin was eager to track down his long-lost brother. Partly out of duty. It wasn't fair that his brother was banished. But also out of genuine curiosity to meet the brother he never knew he had. 

Yet Ralph was good at covering his tracks. So Justin had to hire a private eye to locate Jason. Turns out Jason was living in the slums. His mother had a very comfortable existence at first. The hush money was considerable. But she had poor judgment in boyfriends, squandering the settlement. Then she died of cervical cancer when Jason was 11. In and out of foster care, he wound up in a halfway house due to minor juvenile delinquency. School was hell. He was beaten up everyday.

Just to confirm his identity, Justin arranged for Jason to take a DNA test. Jason was also shown pictures of Ralph and his mistress, as well as handwritten correspondence, to see if he recognized the handwriting and the woman in the pictures. He never knew his father. But the rest was familiar. 

Jason was naturally curious about what was all about. The physician whom Justin retained to collect the sample didn't wish to get his hopes up in case the results came back negative, but he had to provide some explanation. 

Jason was astonished to find out that he might have real family. The existence of a brother he never suspected. A brother who was looking for him!

The suspense was all-consuming. Two sleepless nights. In the daytime, he wandered around in a daze. Oscillating between elation if true and desolation if not. It seemed too good to be true. 

Finally the physician who collected the sample phoned him to confirm that the results were positive. An hour later, Justin phoned him to see if Jason wanted to meet him. Jason could hardly wait.

Justin flew over by private jet. They arranged a rendezvous at a park a few blocks from the halfway house. Jason got there early, looking intently at anyone and everyone who might possibly be his brother. Asking them, "Are you my brother?" They flipped him off. 

Finally he sat down, discouraged, staring at the pavement. Then someone quietly came up to him, casting a shadow. Jason looked up. "Hi Jason, I'm your brother Justin!" 

Jason jumped up. Justin, who was taller, and athletic, gave him a big hug, lifting him right off the ground. Although it was the first time they saw each other face-to-face, there was a built-in bond. 

After a few minutes, they took a limo to a private airport and flew home. He had a real home! It only took him 14 years to get there. Like he was left behind..abandoned…until his brother came back for him. 

Because Jason was technically a runaway, he had to maintain a low profile until he turned 18. Justin arranged for fake ID. Ironically, the fake ID was his true identity, using his father's surname. Justin also arranged for false records to be input in official databases, to maintain his brother's cover–until he reached majority age. A flawless fictional backstory. From Ralph, Justin had mastered the art of paying people off to get what he wanted, but unlike his father, Justin did it for a good cause. 

Over the following months and years they had to make up for lost time. Perhaps, had they grown up together, they'd take each other for granted–but because of the separation, they made the most of their newfound opportunity, due to the lost years. It didn't take long to learn out how much they had in common. The bond of blood transcended time and space. 

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