When the advent of Tim’s young adult birthday was on the horizon, Arnold Jones began to make preparations. He wanted the transition to be smooth and without any delays. He purchased a lot near his own home. It was a small lot, but big enough for a young, single man. He had a fabulous tudor-style home built on it. It was way more than Tim actually needed, but then again the Joneses always had much more than they needed. There were only two bedrooms and a nursery just in case. He didn’t think Tim would be a huge family guy, but he hoped somewhere along the line a child would come. Arnold was very serious about his legacy and wanted to make sure it was secure. The old man was anticipating Tim working for his company and had a huge office built adjacent to the master bedroom. Downstairs, visitors came into a large vestibule which Susie turned into a mud room. There was a formal dining room, a very large eat-in kitchen, family room, small bar, small gym, a full bathroom, and a small but beautiful and cozy outdoor living space. In Jones-like fashion, Arnold made sure to employ every kind of personnel Tim would ever need. He wanted to make sure his grandson lived the luxurious life that was taken from him when his father sinned. But also, he knew Tim wasn’t very mature and would need as much help as he could get.
Grandpa Jones gave the boy a few days to settle in and get reacquainted with Newcrest before he invited him over to talk business. He had a shiny, new, prestigious position waiting for him with his company and was giddy with excitement about having his grandson working with him. Eventually, he wanted Tim to takeover the company when he was ready for retirement. However, Arnold didn’t factor in Tim’s indifference to the Jones dynasty. Tim had zero interest in science and declined the offer without a second thought. Arnold’s first reaction was to pound his fist on the desk and accuse Tim of being an ungrateful turd. However, it was only the beginning. There was still time for him to change his mind. He’s still a child, he had to remind himself. There were times when his mind shifted to many years ago when he fired John and cast Mary away. Truthfully, sometimes he regretted acting so hastily. The situation was perfect even though it was contrived by manipulation and deceit. John just so happened to be a geek and loved science. Mary couldn’t have picked a better person to be with, in Arnold’s eyes. He knew he was a short tempered man, but he was too prideful to repair the damage.
For the time being, Arnold is content to allow Tim to do whatever it is he wants to do. And what is that? Well… Contrary to what people think when they see him, there is a lot that goes on in that brain. Tim has always been intrigued by trouble. All of his life, he watched kids his own age getting into mischief. They always appeared to have the most fun. There was always a lot of laughing and high fives when said kids were actively getting into trouble. However, life with Mary didn’t lend itself to trouble, and he was content to admire it from afar. That is until little miss Breanne Pancakes schooled him on all things bad people. He went and found “the bad people.” They called their operation “Mob Wives Inc.” It is a very intriguing and cleverly run organization. First of all, they call it a family. They say family takes care of each other. So, they have an intricate profit sharing model that is so good no one could deny its brilliance. From the outside looking in, the model looks just like any other system of wages and salaries corporations use. Heck, some of the family members even use it as a cover in the outside world. When someone is first adopted into the family, trust must be built. The newbie is assigned light tasks, and the family gives them a very small percentage of the profit because, after all, the noob needs to know the family can be trusted as well. If the person performed well, he will be rewarded with a bonus, small gift, or maybe even supplies for the next job. The family then gives the new person more responsibilities. This system of trust and reward continues all the way to the top, but at some point the family has to make a very important decision. Every family member has a meeting with someone at the top of the food chain—not the top, of course. One could think of it like the reviews employees have with their bosses in the corporate world. The two “cousins” go out for dinner or drinks and chat. They each discuss what the cousin in question does well and where he sees himself within the family. See, the family is split into two operations: inside jobs and outside jobs. The inside people are the thinkers. A lot of them are geniuses with the computer. Some of them are more administrative and handle the family’s business such as the profit sharing, phony tax records, etc. The others conduct the family’s “operations” electronically. They believe in diversifying their income and not putting all their eggs in one basket. There is always a risk with the outside business; one could imagine it’s the physical labor. The family who works the outside require more resources and support for there is always the risk of being caught, turned, or even killed. The family also has to employ a security system to protect itself from members who become ungrateful and selfish. Those who were unfortunate enough to go down this path are dealt with quietly.
The family is led by two people: the leader of the outside and the leader of the inside. Naturally, most family members dream of being one of them. So, in order to prevent anarchy and internal discord, the leaders have terms. There is an annual vote for the next leaders. The previous leaders are compensated very well for the rest of their lives and serve on an advisory counsel which support the current leaders.
Everyone is encouraged to have friends outside of the family. Realizing that the work is hard and at times traumatizing, the leaders know it is healthy for everyone to have someplace or someone to escape to every now and then. So, when Tim was told to find some friends, he sought out a group who call themselves the Renegades. They were basically Mob Wives Inc. wannabes that aren’t exactly bad enough to join the family. The Renegades consist of Tim’s old classmates, and they thought he was just some dopey rich kid who would ruin their reputation. They rejected him many times, and Tim was discouraged. He spoke with his “Uncle Tony” (all the noobs are assigned a family member to consult with during their probation period) about it, and he agreed to help.
One afternoon around lunch, Tim got a call from Uncle Tony.
“They’re where? … I’ll be right there.”
Tim was stoked. The Renegades had the illusion of being sneaky and not letting onto what they were going to do next, but Mob Wives always had eyes on them. Although they only got up to petty mischief, someone in the family always kept tabs on them just in case they got too big for their britches. Having Tim in the family and wanting to be friends with them was a great service to the family. So far, Tim’s future in the family was pretty bright, but he had to get the Renegades to agree to accept him first. They were hanging out at the pool in Windenburg. Tim arrived just as they did. Morgan Fyers—whom he thought was beautiful and was always secretly in love with her—saw him coming and continued walked inside. She wasn’t in charge, but she acted like it. She felt like Max Villareal was too young and didn’t have what it took to be a leader. He and Wolfgang Munch were best friends, so at least he got some support. Max was completely clueless about what to do about Tim. He was indifferent, but Morgan said no. Her word was final. Wolfgang was always caught in the middle, but he often acted a lot tougher than he really was.
“Hey! Look who it is! It’s our favorite mama’s boy,” Wolfgang taunted.
“Oh boy,” Max said under his breath.
“You’re going to let me hangout with you guys,” Tim yelled.
“Oh yeah? Why would we do that?” Wolfgang asked.
Tim didn’t exactly have a reason why. He just wanted a group of friends who understood him—not that they actually did, but they would if they let him in. He didn’t want to be the kind of person who always had a card to play. Like, back in the day in Newcrest, his family constantly played the Jones card. He didn’t mind, of course, but he wanted to be someone who didn’t need cards. If he was gonna be someone who was respected, he wanted to be someone worthy of respect. If he was gonna be someone to fear, he wanted to be someone to give you something to be afraid of. He wanted to own his own reputation. However, he didn’t have any cred yet and would have to borrow from the family’s stash.
“…because…I’m friends with Uncle Tony!” He hoped that meant something to them.
“You know Uncle Tony?” Max asked.
“Psssh, he don’t know Uncle Tony,” Wolfgang said.
“I do too! How do you think I knew where to find you?”
Max and Wolfgang weren’t the smartest guys, but they weren’t dummies either. They turned to each other. “You think he’s for real?” Wolfgang asked.
“I dunno, man. Maybe we should talk to Morgan about this,” Max said.
“UGH! You’re such a baby! You’re in charge, man! Make a decision!”
Tim’s eyes darted between the two of them as they spoke. The scowl remained on his face, but inside he was hopeful that they would finally let him be part of their gang.
“Ok,” Max said. “My decision… I have decided to… To get back to you in a few days.”