Family & Friends Series


By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

©2008 All rights reserved

Part 1

Phillip Francisco Pizarro


Pip parked his car and ran through the pouring rain to the door of his basement apartment. The wind driven rain was almost too much for his umbrella. Some inconsiderate driver had parked in the restricted parking area once again, blocking the entrance to the building. The car's bumper was so close to the door that Pip had barely enough room to squeeze through. It really annoyed Pip that some people could be so inconsiderate. The police were pretty faithful about issuing parking tickets, but people kept parking there anyway.

Pip was soaked to the skin by the time he got inside. He unlocked his door and checked with his roommate to make sure that the parked car was not one of Joel's friends. When he found out it was not, he dashed out again and let the air out of two of the tires on the offending vehicle. When he returned to the apartment, he called the police.

The apartment was in a fashionable neighborhood off Peachtree Road near Phipps Plaza. Pip chose the area because it was close to the restaurant where he worked as a part-time waiter. The local residents were tolerant of Latin Americans and more accepting of people of mixed ethnic backgrounds.

Pip received his doctorate in medicine from Cornell University and had interned at New York Hospital, in Manhattan. At present, he was completing his postgraduate degree at Emory Medical School. His specialty was in plastic surgery.

His salary as a resident at Emory was not enough to cover all his expenses, so he supplemented his income by waiting tables at La Grotto Ristorrante. La Grotto was one of the posh gourmet restaurants in Atlanta. He liked working there because of the good tips, and for the clientele that frequented the restaurant.

His father was punishing Pip for not attending a medical school in South America by giving him just enough to subsist, and no more. Pip, a native of Lima, Peru, has been a resident in the United States for over eight years. His decision to study medicine in the States did not sit well with his parents. His father was not happy that he attended Medical School in the first place, let alone the United States. If his Uncle Juan, an eminent physician in Lima, had not championed his cause, he would never have made it to medical school in the United States.

Pip was homesick in the beginning, he missed his family and friends in Lima. He didn’t realize how unfriendly New Yorker’s were to Latinos. His classmates and teachers were friendly enough, but once he left Ithaca and moved to New York City for his internship, he learned how dangerous New York City could be. He learned this after he was mugged twice. Ironically, both times it was by Latino's. Pip could never understand this, because he was a Latino himself. He became cautious, particularly after dark. He would only leave the hospital in the company of other people after his second attack.

When the opportunity opened up at Emory University in Atlanta, he pounced on it. He was in the top ten percent of his class at Cornell and was highly praised by his teachers at New York Hospital. Emory welcomed him warmly. He had liked New York as a city, but could not cope with the people, or the high cost of living. He spent a week surveying Atlanta before making his final decision. Atlanta, as it turned out, was a cosmopolitan and charming city. He found the people to be friendly and the weather to his liking. He fell in love with the city. It turned out that Joel Cohen, a fellow intern at Cornell, was also being accepted at Emory. Since Joel and Pip were friends, they decided to share an apartment together.

After Pip returned to the apartment from doing his little number on the car, he was dripping wet. Joel smiled at him, “Boy, are you cheap! Can't you spend fifty-cents and use the Laundromat like everyone else?”

“I'm short this month,” Pip said. “All kidding aside, I'm getting tired of these inconsiderate jerks. This driver left less than ten inches to squeeze through that door. Let's see how he likes the idea of changing a tire in the rain, unless the police decide to tow the car away before he gets back to it.”

“Why do I get the impression that you're not a happy camper tonight?” Joel asked. “It's not just the car thing that has you so upset, is it?”

“This has not been my night,” Pip said. “Tonight I served this customer that gave me a hard time. He made me feel extremely uncomfortable. The guy was coming on to me big time. I've never experienced that kind of behavior before at La Grotto. Sure, I run into the usual complainers, but that goes with the territory.”

“What did he say, or do, that got you so upset?”

“Things like, 'You've got nice buns,' and 'How's about a date tomorrow night', or 'I want to see that beautiful body naked.' He kept it up the entire time he was there.”

“So what's the problem,” Joel asked. “You do have a nice body and nice buns.” Joel laughed, “So, what time is he picking you up tomorrow?”

“Very funny, everything is a joke with you,” Pip said. “I can't make it tomorrow anyway, I'm on duty.”

“Did you tell Emile, that jerk you work for, about what happened?”

“I sure did. He said that the guy was Grant Westerville, and I should forget about the incident. As it so happens, the Westerville's are regular customers and spend a lot of money every year at the restaurant. Emile said Grant Junior was a little hung over and that an experienced waiter could handle him. In other words, get with the program; waiters are a dime a dozen, good customers aren't.”

“What finally happened?”

“Emile helped me serve the spoiled brat and I got through the ordeal.”

“He left me a fifty-dollar tip with his card attached. He scribbled a little note on the back that sounded threatening. Here, take a look.” He handed Joel the card. “I also showed Emile the card and told him to have someone else wait on him, or I would press charges, good customer or not.”

“Did you have any witnesses?” Joel asked.

“No one overheard him as he spoke very softly,” Pip said. “Hell, I could barely hear him myself. There is something about that guy that I find disturbing. You know Emile will fire me if I make waves, he's not going to lose a customer because of me.”

“What does the guy look like?”

“He's a good-looking all-American type, clean cut, well built, green eyes with blond curly hair. I would say he is in his mid-to-late twenties. For sure, he's not going to make it into his thirties. Grant is heavy into drugs. I've treated enough junkies to spot the signs.”

“Look, don't let pretty boy scare you off, you keep his card in a safe place, and try to get a copy of that bill he signed. Ask the other waiters if they had any trouble with the guy and let them know what happened to you in case he tries it again. At least they'll know the score. Are there any other attractive waiters working there besides you?”

Pip smiled, “It's hard to tell with gringos, they all look alike,” Pip said. “I guess you could say that Brad and Tim are not bad looking.”

“You tell them what a big tipper this Grant Westerville is and that you don't like waiting on spoiled brats no matter how much they tip. These guys will fall over each other to serve him. If he hits on them, you'll have the evidence you need.”

“Cover yourself on this guy, Pip. This Grant sounds like he usually gets what he wants, you on the other hand are a poor struggling waiter. If he pulls the same stunt again go to the cops and file a complaint.”

“You know how powerful the Westervilles are in this town? They own Peachtree Industries, and Grant Senior donates big bucks to Emory,” Joel said. “The old man seems like a square shooter. I've met him at one of the fund-raising benefits.”

Pip saw Grant at La Grotto several more time after that incident. Emile kept his word and assigned other waiters to serve him and he was never bothered again.

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Brad and Pip were in the dining room setting the tables for dinner. “Have you ever gone out on the town with Grant Westerville,” Brad asked?

“No, why do you ask?”

“Level with me, Pip. Did he ever come on to you?”

“Yea, that why I refuse to wait on him any more.”

“He has taken me with him a few times, bar hopping,” Brad said. “After the evening wears on, he gets high and the subject always comes around to you. Grant has the hots for you in a big way. The only reason he wines and dines me is to learn everything he can about you. I thought you swung both ways and had a good time with him?”

“The only time I've ever met him was at La Grotto and he came on strong,” Pip said. “I don't like the guy and I'll have nothing to do with him. My advice to you is to give him a wide berth.”

“I think he is bisexual,” Brad said. “I know he is into kinky sex and wants me to go to bed with him. We've been out on the town several times. He's not a bad guy at all and he pays for everything. He's harmless enough, into threesomes, and he'll pay big for the ride.”

“You mean you would go to bed with him?”

“Only in a threesome,” Brad said. “I told him I'd do it for a thousand bucks if he supplies the girl and the motel.”

“What about Tom, has Grant made a pass at him,” Pip asked.

“Grant is not interested in anyone else,” Brad said. “I told you, he only has eyes for you, old buddy.”

“God, I hope you didn't tell him anything about me, this guy could cause me problems.”

“Cool it, I told him you were a struggling Latino who was saving every penny to bring your family to the United States,” Brad said. “I also told him you live in a dumpy rooming house on Pounce de Leon Avenue.”

“Thanks, Brad, I owe you one; watch yourself with Grant, he'll try to get you hooked on drugs if he can, I know the type.”

The next day at lunch, Pip told Joel what he had learned from Brad. “That guy is bad news, Pip. I hope Brad takes your advice,” Joel said. “But somehow I feel your advice has fallen on deaf ears, as far as Brad is concerned. He's looking for a good time with a big spender. You've warned him and there's not much else you can do.”

“I don't understand why Grant Senior doesn't try to save his son,” Joel said. “Jesus, he's got to know how these drugs are ruining his son's life.”

“It would take a lot to cure him at this point,” Pip said. “I wonder if the old man is up to tough love, to straighten out his son.”

“You’re probably right, you would need complete control over Grant, and that guy has the bucks to buy his way out of anything.”

One Month Later

The telephone awoke Pip at two o'clock in the morning. The call was from the doctor at the trauma center at Grady Memorial Hospital to let him know that there was a Brad Baker in the emergency room asking for him. The doctor said they brought Brad into the emergency room an hour ago in bad shape. He gave Pip a run down on his condition and told him he notified the on-call surgeon of the emergency.

“What was that all about?” Joel asked.

“Now that you're awake, would you come with me to the Trauma Center at Grady? They brought in Brad an hour ago and he's in bad shape.”

“Sure, let’s go; you can tell me about it on the way.”

The ER doctor took them over to see Brad. “We're prepping him for surgery now. As soon as we can reach the specialists on call, we'll be ready to move on him. All of a sudden they can't be found.”

“The chief of the surgical staff said to give this case to you two, so, doctors, he is all yours.”

Pip and Joel examined Brad and studied the x-rays. “What a mess,” Joel said. “Someone did a number on him, would you like me to assist you on this one, Pip?”

“God, that would be great,” Pip said. “I'll owe you big for this one, Joel.”

The facial reconstruction surgery took Pip four hours to complete. Joel did a beautiful job repairing the bones in Brad's right hand.

“Lucky for him he's young,” Joel said. “He'll knit fine; it's fortunate that he had the two best resident surgeons on the job to patch him up. I'll send you a nice fat bill, doctor. Do you want to sleep in the doctor's lounge, or would you prefer the Hilton?”

“I think I skip the Hilton for tonight,” Pip said. “Thanks for your help, Joel. I'll stick around until he is out of recovery. You go on home and get some sleep.”

Pip was in the recovery room when Brad came around. Pip sat on the edge of the bed going over his chart.

Brad opened his eyes and tried to smile, but winced from the pain. “You were right,” Brad said, “Grant is a crazy bastard.”

“Was Grant responsible for this?”

“More or less,” Brad said. “His two goons took care of me, after he had raped me. We were all doing drugs, but Grant went wild when I didn't give him your address and telephone number. He going to get you, Pip, he kept saying that over, and over. I told you he has this thing about your rejection of him, and he is bound and determined to find you.”

“Did you fill out a police report?”

“You bet, I told them everything except about the money part. I don't know what good it's going to do; the Westerville's have high-priced lawyers on their side. It really comes down to his word against mine. Who do you think they will believe?”

Pip discussed the whole situation later that afternoon with Joel and explained his plan.

“Are you out of your mind?” Joel asked. “You'd be throwing away your certification for this guy. Don't you think you're overreacting? Why would you throw everything aside, on the possibility that this guy might track you down. What makes you think this jerk is going to break your hands, or throw acid in your eyes now?”

Joel could see that Pip was annoyed with his comments. “Okay, I'm sorry, it’s easy for me to say, right? Look, Pip, I hate to see you waste your time on this guy, that's all.”

“That's all right,” Pip said. “I happen to take Grant seriously. So I'll lose another year, but look at it this way, not only will I be well compensated for my efforts, I will have removed any possible threat to my life. I really don't have a choice. How do we know at this point that Grant has not put a contract out on me? I'm calling Grant's father, now.”

When Grant senior arrived, Pip took him into one of the small conference rooms where they would not be disturbed.

“Will you kindly tell me what all this nonsense is about my son?”

Pip explained his story from the beginning up to his meeting with Brad earlier. “I can assure you, Mister Westerville, I'm not making this up. I can verify everything I have told you.”

Grant's dad let out his breath, “I believe you. How much will it cost to hush this up?”

“Two million dollars,” Pip said. “I will need a million dollars deposited in my account if you accept my offer, and another million dollars when Grant is cured.”

“You don't beat around the bush, do you, Dr. Pizarro?”

Pip smiled, “That's a small price to pay for the life of your son. If Grant was my son, I wouldn't hesitate to spend whatever it took to save him, but we see things differently.”

“I'm giving up a year of my career to treat Grant. Your son had threatened to destroy my career and I'm not going to allow that to happen. If you give me Grant for one year, I'll cure him of his substance abuse and return him to you whole. At that point, we can both get on with our lives.”

“You have yourself a deal,” Senior said. “You're the first doctor that has told me that he can help my son, and I believe you. I've tried everything I could to help Grant. I'm the first to admit that I've failed so far. You are my only hope. If the police get involved in this, or the news media get a smell of this, I won't be able to keep him out of jail.”

“Doctor, what guarantee do I have that you will do as you say? How do I know that your treatment plan won't harm my son even more?”

“I am a doctor, Mr. Westerville. It's my job to save lives, not to destroy them. I've anticipated your concerns and have prepared my biography, together with a list of references that you are welcome to check. I don't feel that the drugs have destroyed his brain yet; of course, I'll know more after I've reviewed his test results. He must be examined by my own team of doctors.”

“I suggest you don't waste any time to locate him and admit him to a sanatorium under your control and keep him under sedation until you decide what to do. I believe your son is determined to harm me and will succeed unless he is stopped. In the meantime, I will be leaving Atlanta until Grant is securely in a sanatorium, or in police custody. If I don't hear from you within seven days, I will take my case to the District Attorney and file charges against Grant for harassment. Perhaps, sir, you would be kind enough to drive me to the airport, my plane leaves in less that an hour.”

“No problem, and please call me GW.”

Pip handed GW a large envelope as they walked out the front entrance where GW's limo was parked.

As they were heading to Hartsfield International, GW said, “You don't have to leave, Grant will be in the sanatorium within the hour.”

“A smart move, but I have no way of knowing whether Grant has already put a contact out on me,” Pip said. “I suggest that you freeze all of Grant's assets until you have resolved this problem. Your son is no fool and he'll blow his top if he learns about our plan.”

Grant smiled, “You're a clever man, doctor; you're right, of course, I've already checked you out with the Dean of the Medical School and he vouches for you. You'll have your money within two days. Go ahead with your plans and call me when you're ready.”

“You've made the right decision, GW, Grant should be fine. It will take me at least two weeks to arrange to move Grant. When you admit Grant to the sanatorium, use my name as his personal physician. I'll be sending in my team of specialists to do a complete work-up on him. In addition, I will need your son's medical records and the names of all the doctors that have treated him in the past. Please arrange to have that forwarded to me next week.”

“Finally, I will need a letter of authorization from you stating that Grant is under my care, and finally, I'll need his passport.”

“Make arrangements to have Brad Baker moved into a private room at Grady. Brad is the man your son had beaten-up. If you agree to pay his hospital bills and reimburse him for the salary he will be losing due to his injuries, I think I can talk him into dropping all charges against Grant. Brad is a nice guy, GW. His mistake was in getting involved with a junky like your son. His right hand was so badly mangled that he will not be able to work for some time.”

Pip smiled, “Of course, I did an excellent job putting his face back together again. I must confess, I'm a damn good plastic surgeon.”

Pip called Brad from Hartsfield and told him of the deal he made with Mr. Westerville. In return for his cooperation, he had to drop all charges against Grant. He warned Brad not to play any games with GW if he comes through with the deal. If he did, he would bill him twenty grand for the operation. Brad assured him he had learned his lesson the hard way and planned to be a good boy.

The next two days in Miami were hectic. Pip developed a detailed plan for the transport and care of his patient. He called his Uncle Juan in Peru to outline his plan. Pip explained the treatment plan and his need for an isolated location, close enough to a medium-sized village to set up a fully equipped clinic to treat the locals. He still wanted to practice medicine and to hone his skills in plastic surgery.

He asked his uncle's help in implanting three electronic devices in Grant when he arrived in Lima. The devices are ordered and should be ready in two weeks. Two specialists at Emory developed Grant’s treatment plan. It was their suggestion to implant the devices to control his aggressive nature. His immediate need was to hire a staff and the services of a security agency to provide him with the guards he would need to protect Grant and secure the complex he would be using. He also needed to hire a reliable company to supply his facility with provisions and a staff.

Pip questioned his uncle about the possibility of renting one of the small facilities that the CIA had turned over to the Peruvian government several years ago. He recalled a visit he and his father had made to one of those facilities several years ago. Each facility was a self-sufficient unit, complete with its own electric power and water supply. It had all the creature comforts that you would expect in your own living quarters.

His uncle said he would contact one of his friends at the Defense Ministry to see what he could work out.

Pip asked his uncle to meet him in Lima at the end of the week to work out the details. He had already arranged for a private jet to transport Grant from Atlanta to Lima.

“Why are you doing all this, Pip?” Juan asked. "This man is a total stranger.”

“I've already told you, Tio,” Pip said. “I was afraid he would get to me and do harm to me, and besides, I will be paid handsomely for curing him.”

“There's more to it then that,” Juan said. “This man is not a threat to you now. Why not treat him in the hospital in Atlanta and let your specialists take care of him?”

“I want to cure him of his drug problem because I'm attracted to him, if you must know the truth,” Pip said. “Is that what you wanted to know?”

“Not really, Pip. I cannot understand why you would want to waste your time on this drug addict. You could have found a nice clean-cut male in Atlanta. Do you realize the problems you're facing with this patient, he is a confirmed drug addict, and there are no guarantees with drug addicts. He could fall right back into drugs after his treatment. Or, is Grant your penance because you are a homosexual?”

“I make no excuse for what I am doing and I have no crosses to bear,” Pip said. “Grant is the only man I've felt this way about. Even though he has a drug addiction, I still want him. I realized he could be trouble. That is why I gave him a wide berth. However, this did not mitigate my feelings for him.”

“I seized on this opportunity as a way to find out about myself and to get him out of my system. I don't feel I will be wasting two years of my life. I will still continue practicing medicine and at the same time help my own people in the process.”

“All right, Pip, I'll do what you ask,” Juan said. “But I warn you, be careful; I don't want to see you get hurt.”

“Thanks, Tio, I knew I could count on you.”

Four days later, Pip had worked a few minor miracles. He had received and reviewed Grant's medical records, and also had the letters of authorization that he had requested from GW. The specialists that examined Grant were evaluating their tests. Pip prepared the necessary transfer documents and releases to get Grant to Lima. He used his family's connections to smooth the way when they arrived in Peru.

GW lived up to his part of the agreement. He had wired the million dollars to Pip's bank in Nassau. In their last telephone conversation, GW told Pip he was taking Brad under his wing and he would be moving him into his home until he was well enough to work again. He also is insisting that Brad go back to Georgia Tech and finish his degree.

In the meantime, Tio Juan had found two sites for Pip to evaluate. One was in the mountains; the other was close to a large village. He could decide which one he wanted on Friday. They were also scheduled to meet with the security agency and with the company that was to handle the provisions and maintenance of the complex.

Lima, Peru

Pip and his uncle made the tour of both sites, and Pip selected the complex in the mountains. The buildings at that site were all above ground and the complex resembled a typical farm in the area. The entire complex was built to U.S. standards with modern bathrooms, running hot water, modern kitchen and laundry facilities, a generating plant and a fresh water supply. The main building was a large, spacious residence including several guest bedrooms.

In addition, it had a completely equipped surgery with private bedrooms for patients and staff alike. The complex sat atop a mountain with a service road that was cut into the side of the mountain. The site was only thirty minutes, by helicopter, from Lima. It was completely isolated from the rest of the area, and could be reached by the road, or helicopter.

“This is an ideal location, Tio. Will you have the papers drawn up for a one year lease with an option for a second year? One thing, does this area still have those severe thunder storms every year?”

“It sure does, nature never changes,” Juan said. “If you have decided on this place, I have something to show you; come with me.” Tio led Pip back into the library and locked the door behind them. He pressed a hidden button next to the bookshelf frame, whereupon a section of the bookcases swung open, revealing a concrete staircase. They descended the stairs and faced a large steel door. He pulled the second door open. This was a soundproofed steel door that locked from the inside with a mechanism like a bank vault. Beyond the door was a large combination bedroom and sitting room with doors that led to a small kitchen area and a bathroom. The other door led into a large walk-in dressing room. At the back of the closet was a smaller steel door. Juan inserted the key in the lock and opened the door. This was a room as large as the dressing room, packed with racks of communications equipment. One wall contained racks of color TV monitors.

“This was used as the command center,” Juan said. “From here you can monitor the entire facility, including the main road. The site is equipped with infrared and video cameras. This equipment is operational and very sophisticated. You have your own satellite communication system to connect you to anyplace in the world.”

“The main security building has the same equipment, but you can control that location from here. They don't have the sat-com equipment. You can shut that equipment off from here. I suggest you keep this bunker closed and locked at all times. Don't let anyone know this room exists. You can also monitor and control the implanted devices from here as well, once they are in place in your boyfriend.”

“He is not my boyfriend, Tio, and for God's sake don't breathe a word of this to my father. I'm sure Dad would shoot me on the spot if he knew.”

“Your sex life is your own business, and I never discuss our private conversations. Now, let’s move on to our next meeting; we don't have much time left.”

“I'll handle this deal with the Minister, he will send you an invoice for the rental,” Juan said. “You can reimburse me for the cash I will give him as his finder's fee. The same applies to the security people. Is that a problem for you?”

“That's fine, Tio, just let me know how much I owe you and I'll wire the funds directly to your account,” Pip said. “I really appreciate your help.”

They met with the other two contractors and closed the deal on the security people and the staff. Pip had them draw the contracts while he was there and asked them to start their operations the next day.

Pip told the contractors he wanted everything operational by the following week. The staffing organization began ordering provisions and supplies. The team’s staff director said he would assign a full time manager to the facility that would supervise the staff and keep track of the supplies. They would purchase all supplies and provisions at the most favorable price and add their handling fee to the overall invoice. The staff was to be paid semi-monthly and the vehicle would be leased on a monthly basis. “Gentlemen, the arrangements are fine with me,” Pip said. “I will be ordering my medical equipment and supplies from the United States and would like you to handle the shipments through customs. That equipment should be arriving in two days.”

Pip moved into the complex two days later. His uncle hired an experienced male nurse and two male orderlies experienced in working with mental patients. They had the surgery set up and the medication cataloged in a matter of days. Pip worked out his treatment plan and contingency plan with his new staff. They also prepared the special room that they would need for Grant.

“You know, physically, Grant could be a handful,” Gregory, the nurse, said. “From his records I can see that this guy is not that tall, but he has a powerful build. Sometimes these druggies have the strength of three men.”

“I'll be able control him,” Pip said. “For the record, the guy does not have a penny to his name, so he cannot buy his way out of this one. All his assets are frozen. He is going to have to do things my way from now on and he is not used to taking orders.”

“Always bear in mind that he is our patient,” Pip said. “Not only are we treating a long term drug problem, but we are treating an attitude problem as well. I'm going to reach this guy and turn him around. According to my experts, we can cure him of the drug dependence. I have two years to make a human being out of him and make sure he does not go back on drugs.”

“The real problem is his attitude,” Pip said. “I can't start on that until the drugs are out of his system. I figure three to six months to detox him. Then we can start on a physical exercise program to get him back into shape. That is the time he will be difficult to handle. We won't know his game plan until he gives us the script. The physical therapist will devise a workout plan for him. I want him to spend as much time as possible in the fresh air. He cannot escape from this facility, anyway where would he go without money, or passport.”

Pip explained the special devices that are to be implanted in their patient and how the electrodes worked. The staff was relieved by this news.

Pip told them that he would not come into direct contact with the patient until after the detox phase of the program was over. He felt that Grant would resent him in the beginning. Let him think what he wants; always refer to me as Doctor Pizarro.

“Well, gentlemen, I think that about covers everything. Your patient will arrive tomorrow afternoon and I have decided to have my Uncle Juan fly in with the patient tomorrow. He will be given a complete physical and have the implants inserted at the same time. While he's under, I want his head completely shaved. He is to stick to the regular routine I've designed until I change it.”

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To be continued
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