The impasse between truth and injustice finally reached its boiling point inside the chambers of the Supreme Court.
After putting the final touches on one of his scathing dissents, Michael Abramson reached for the note at the far corner of his desk just as he had always done. The handwriting on the envelope was all too familiar to the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Every three months he received the same inconspicuous package.
Michael Abramson turned the manila envelope over in his hands before opening. He knew what he would find inside—a hefty stack of large denomination bills. "Thanks for your hard work, commitment and oversight," would be scribbled on the note. No signature. No date. But it didn't matter. He knew exactly who sent it. Every three months—always the same.
The judge returned to his chair behind the large, cluttered, mahogany desk. Some of the greatest minds of all time sat behind this very desk. Or so the historians said. Always expected to be unbiased when delivering justice to the American people, his predecessors had been careful to avoid scandal and corruption. Or had they? Were they corrupt? Were they just like him? Those questions weighed much too heavily on Abramson’s mind, especially in recent months.
In an open bottom drawer, the Chief Justice entered his twelve-digit security code into a small electronic safe. The opened safe revealed bundled wads of cash, very similar to the one just received. With a crooked grin on his face, Abramson put the most recent delivery on the top of the stack.
He then removed a file, closed and locked the safe, and pushed back from his desk. His grin was now long gone as he tightly gripped the secret file.
Standing in front of his office window, with the afternoon sun warming his tanned face, he opened the file. He slowly and methodically flipped through each page, reading every word and scanning every picture. Scenario after scenario played through his brilliant mind as he closely guarded all of the file’s contents.
A single droplet of sweat fell from his brow onto a picture inside the opened file. As he continued to digest all of the information, his stomach knotted and his palms grew increasingly moist. What would the world think if they really knew the story behind Michael Abramson? The dark past. The money. The crimes.
Abramson walked back to his desk and placed the file in his briefcase. Never before had he even thought of taking the file away from its safe place, risking it falling into the wrong hands. However, everything in his corrupt little world was finally coming to a head as a power struggle ensued among his close allies. His livelihood, his reputation, and his legacy were all on the line. It would only be a matter of time until the house of cards collapsed.
He leaned back in his plush office chair, loosened his tie, and then closed his eyes. He escaped back to a time twenty-five years earlier when it all began—when he ventured across the point of no return.
Michael hadn’t been in a fight since his junior high days, but the two young college kids had been given their orders. And every order was always obeyed. Michael followed several steps behind as he trailed his best friend and the condemned stranger.
“Give him a beating he’ll remember,” the order had been handed down from the top. “Make it count.”
The uninvited guest was to never show his face around here again, and he would surely get the message from the fiery youngsters. To Michael, the stranger seemed like a nice, easygoing man. But an order was an order, and it was to be carried out well.
With an old Louisville Slugger in hand, Michael’s best friend continued to force the poor fellow down the path as the threesome traveled deeper into the wooded surroundings.
“Let’s just let him go,” Michael said to his best friend. “I think he gets the point.”
The stranger turned his attention to Michael’s friend, hoping for the best. But it was too late. He never had a chance.
The painful grunts went unheard throughout the dense forest as the man tumbled down a steep bank into a dried creek bed. Michael’s friend delivered a forceful shove, sending the man flying backwards down the bank. And then the sickening thud echoed among the trees as his head hit the rocky creek bed.
It marked the first time Michael witnessed his best friend’s brutality. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning as the twosome carried out similar orders for years to come.
“I’ll keep an eye out for others,” Michael said, taking position at the top of the hill. He had no intention of partaking in the beating in any shape or form. Besides, it looked like his friend had everything under control.
“You’re worthless! Just more work for me,” hollered the friend, bounding down the hill to finish the job.
Before his friend was halfway down the bank, Michael watched the stranger lunge to his feet and take off sprinting down the creek bed. Instinctively, Michael joined the chase and the duo was soon involved in a frantic foot race.
The stranger showcased an athleticism the two young college kids couldn’t match. The gap between the pursuers and their escapee widened as the stranger leapt over boulders and logs alike, and all after taking a powerful hit to the back of the head. Who was this man?
Soon, he was out of sight. The two young men stopped to catch their breath as they listened to the scampering footsteps fade into the distance.
“Forget about him,” said Michael, bent over at the waist gasping for air. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Good call,” replied the friend as he leaned against a tree, sweat pouring down his face. “He’ll be lucky if he can find his way out of here alive. He can’t outrun the coyotes.”
Defeated, the two young men turned around to walk back up the creek bed from where they came.
No more than ten steps into their journey back, they froze in their tracks as a flurry of gunshots cracked in the distance. The two friends quickly turned back around and sprinted in the direction of the gun shots, not knowing what they may come across. Michael now clutched the baseball bat tightly, prepared to defend his life.
After a short run, they came upon a bloody scene in front of an old, abandoned mine. Two imposing figures that were all too familiar to the boys were standing over the dead body, gun smoking.
That was it. It was too late. Michael was in deep. He wasn’t a mere bootleg whiskey and drug runner. He had just witnessed his first glimpse into the intimate details of the gang. Worse crimes would happen over the years following this incident, but this was the beginning.
Much too quickly he became desensitized to everything—the drugs, the beatings, the murders, the women, all under the guise and protection of senior government officials. It was a terrifying, yet exhilarating world for a young man.
The Chief Justice quickly turned his attention to his computer screen when he heard the knock on the door.
“Come in,” he called out.
The door snapped open and one of the Supreme Court clerks hustled over to deliver another folder full of notes.
“Thank you,” replied the judge accepting the paperwork.
The clerk disappeared just as quickly as she had appeared, closing the door behind her.
Once again alone in the privacy and safety of his chambers, Abramson pulled out his stationary and scribbled a return note to the old man. The once fruitful relationship, with cash flowing freely, had soured.
There was no love lost between the judge and the old man. In fact, the old man placed most of the blame for the estrangement from his son on the Chief Justice. A younger Michael Abramson had profited personally by encouraging disloyalty between father and son, all for the young judge’s personal gains.
But the old man knew no drastic actions could be taken against a talented, rising federal judge. No matter how connected the old man was, he could never get away with taking out a federal judge. And he had to admit he no longer possessed the energy to pull it off.
Now, the future of the organized crime ring was imploding in front of the Chief Justice’s eyes. The senior members were growing older and the direction of the group had been blurred as the government had cracked down on organized crime over the past twenty years. Everything he had worked for in his legitimate legal career would be tarnished forever unless he acted soon.
The brilliant, decorated judge had a plan. The only question was whether he could pull it off.
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This page contains the first chapter of Senate Proof by Logan Snyder as a sample. This sample has been published with permission from the author and/or publisher of Senate Proof, whoever originally submitted the book for review.