March 28, 2020
Victor’s brand-new Mercedes is sitting in his driveway. He just bought it in early February so it probably has no more than a hundred miles on the odometer. I wonder how long he will be at the hospital. If he’s not home by tomorrow, I’ll make sure someone puts it in his garage. Sitting out like this is too tempting for our local thieves.
I call Marian and ask her what she has heard about Victor. Marian says she talked to Jenna a minute ago and Gary, Jenna’s firefighter husband, says they’ve taken him into the ICU but they don’t know what’s wrong. The EMT’s found him unconscious in his kitchen.
It’s five o’clock and I take my glass of Merlot to the porch.
I sit and think about Victor. Our neighborhood sort of revolves around him in a way. When Victor throws one of his parties, we all go. All but Angus Mink, his next-door neighbor who can’t stand parties or the traffic Victor’s parties bring. Over the years those two have had some epic arguments across the privacy fence installed, of course, by Angus. Angus used to be invited to Victor’s parties, but no longer.
Victor was fresh out of law school and newly married when he went to Viet Nam. A land mine took off one of his legs but he returned home, joined a law firm, had a son, and was on his way to a happy life when his wife died. His son turned out rotten—one quasi-legal scheme after another—after which the son was killed in a cocaine smuggling deal gone wrong. He left a young wife and a son, Matthew, the kid who left that bag on Victor’s porch.
He is a real leader. I try to think what this town would be like without him. Victor is like the honored elders in the old Native American tribes. He’s the one our mayors and city managers consult before they make a big decision. Even our local “usual suspects” avoid our neighborhood, loathe to be caught doing mischief on Judge Anderson’s turf. Even so, that brand-new Mercedes is a bit too tempting, I think.
After all the troubles he’s weathered, he’s still the most positive, dynamic man I know. And in spite of the prosthetic leg, he’s an amazing dancer. I pray he’s all right.
A car pulls up in Victor’s driveway. It’s his daughter-in-law Megan, mother of young Matt. I hope she takes that Trader Joe’s bag inside.