Returning to the Genovese Estate
As the former boss of the Genovese Crime Family crossed the mall of his courtyard, leaving the taxi cab behind with a "thank you" and a modest tip... he was both relieved and disappointed by what he saw. The chateau was in decent condition- and staff were clearly still present on the grounds- as the upkeep showed in the neatly-trimmed hedges and maintained gardens- and the paint on the building was clearly still maintained despite the harsh weather of the Brooklyn area.
But there was disappointment too- as he looked to the car park and saw only a handful of vehicles in "staff" parking. None of the family spaces were filled.
In his years in federal lockup, he'd been out of contact with his entire family. He'd been legally withheld from contact with any known member of the Genovese family- a ruling that was taken to mean both the "Family"... and the family.
He'd heard and seen nothing from his siblings, his advisors, his enforcers, or even his children. He'd been unable to access news or updates on the outside world. No one had even been notified when he was released. Apparently the release had been organized due to a certain old ally in the Senate- to whom Dante owed a great debt... otherwise he would surely be in lockup until his dying days.
When he reached the intricately hand-carved double doors of the estate, he found them open- a cleaning crew was currently shampooing the carpeting in the main foyeur... and the hose to their device required the door to be ajar. As he stepped through the door... he frowned deeply. The overwhelming smell of clean carpets and fresh air told him a sad truth- the building was not being lived in. This estate had been his Mother and Father's years before... and he and his two siblings had grown up on its grounds. Yet now, as he gazed up the grand staircase... he knew that his empire had not been run through this building as he'd hoped. In fact, he was certain now that the building's upkeep was likely only due to the nostalgia of one or more of his children... like an empty grave for a missing Godfather.
The cleaning crew stared as he approached the grand staircase and began to ascend the still-uncleaned carpeted stairs towards the second floor of the building. The crew whispered amongst themselves in what Dante recognized as Spanish. They hadn't the slightest idea who he was... or even if he should be there.
His eyes looked back and forth. The expensive paintings that had hung on his walls had been swapped out for obvious prints and cheaper artists. Probably a wise decision given the lack of Genovese personnel around the grounds. It wouldn't do to allow a priceless Rembrandt to be pinched by a tempted maid or security guard.
His eyes fell sad as he saw his office door just at the top of the stairs... the family crest on the door shiny and new- yet it looked somehow sad and downcast- the flawless shine of the handles, which he might have normally found splendid- only confirmed the lack of life to this tomb of an estate. There was no one here.
He paused at the door- taking a long breath before daring to open the door and cross his office's entryway. What would he find inside? What would he discover about the fate of his family... or even his empire?
It was at this moment a case of Shrodinger's Cat. Until he opened that door and searched his office... his Empire both existed and didn't exist simultaneously. His family was both well and unwell. They remained in an infinite state of uncertainty until the box- his office- was opened and the fates revealed.
The aging crime boss took a final breath... then twisted the door handle- and pushed the door open.
The main window was open, allowing light to fill the room.
His desk sat much like it had for most of the Don's career. And with a cursory glance- the rest of the room looked almost as if no time had passed since his incarceration. However- as the man looked around his officer... small chinks in the illusion of timelessness began to appear to him.
The pictures of his children were gone.
His old lounger for guests was missing- replaced with a red-leather couch decorated with brass Lion's heads- the family's patron animal.
But the thing that stung him the most- that gripped his heart in an icy grip- was that his desk was clean and bare. No papers- no photos- nothing. No indication of any kind as to the fate of his family or his empire.
As he moved to sit in his old office chair- he found it comforting. Nostalgia overwhelmed him as he wrapped his hands around the soft leather of the armrests... and eased back into the well-constructed chair. Good. It had been cared for as well- the material hadn't stiffened or cracked as aged leather so often wanted to do.
He then brought his shaking hand forward to his desk drawer... and pulled at the handle. It clicked with a metallic sound that told him the drawer was locked. Indeed- all of the drawers were locked. And he didn't have the slightest idea where the key was. He reached for his corded desk phone... but again stops with a pained grimace. He didn't know who to call. He didn't know anyone to contact to learn anything.
He had never- in his life... felt more helpless and isolated. Don Genovese had never been a man to allow himself to appear weak or helpless... and he'd never felt that way either.
.... No- that wasn't true. When his first daughter Cecily had been born... she'd had a complicated birth. It was feared that neither the child nor mother would survive. He'd felt exactly then as he did now. Only then, he'd had his siblings and sons with him. Now? He had no one.
"Excuse me, sir? I'm going to have to ask you to..." The polite voice stopped after going quiet. Dante looked up... blinking as he sees a small man in a smart suit- a young greek man? Or perhaps Spanish? Mediterranean, at least- though he doubted the man was Italian. The man stared at him slack-jawed in such a way that immediately, Dante knew the man recognized him- though Dante hadn't the slightest idea who the man was.
"D-Don Genovese?!" The man sputters out with a tone of utter disbelief.
Dante frowned at that. "After all these years, I'm not the Don of anything." He nods, then asks. "I take it you are a member of the staff?"
The man swallows, then nods. "Uh... yes sir! Stellio. I'm the caretaker of the grounds." He blinks wildly, then states with a questioning tone. "I hadn't heard you'd be returning! I... w-welcome home, sir!"
Dante offers a forced smile. A sad smile. He hadn't seen a familiar face since leaving prison. Not even in a photograph. "Stellio... I need you to do something for me."
The man nodded rapidly, clearly still shocked- but willing to assist the seriously- toned Sicilian man.
"I'm afraid I'm a bit lost at the moment. I'd like you to please contact whoever in my family you can. And tell them to come here as soon as they can." He offers with a small smile, then adds. "And- I don't suppose any of my clothing is here?"
(Note- no killing is valid in this blog. I reserve the right to remove trolls or random silliness from the blog.)