Insert Chassis Albuquerque: The Butterfly Effect - Chapter 1: "The American Family"

The Butterfly Effect - Chapter 1: "The American Family"

Outside, the weather looked okay.
Although sunshine with occasional Nazism was probably a more accurate description. But, despite small patches of terrorism, life continued.
Wolffe got out the cab.
He removed his hat and coat.
“You gonna be long, Detective…?” the cab driver wondered.
“Depends,” Wolffe said.
The cab driver didn’t say anything more and looked out the front windscreen instead, down the road. There was a man walking toward them, eating an ice-cream.
Wolffe had been observing the family for a few days now. Their home life was clearly Catholic, probably abusive, but on Fridays they always had fish - so that was dependable. The father had a high-powered job in the city and drove an expensive, imported family saloon. The wife was very pretty and on the social ladder attending galas and events, spending money to help ensure they remained on the top societal rungs. And the boy, he was a mean little bastard. So in all the usual ways they were a decent upper class American family instilled with all the expected decent virtues of any very successful American family. However, given the number of scumbags that had walked into his office over the years - the hoods, the thugs, the murderers - Wolffe was familiar with scum, he’d a pretty good feel for them: This family were scum.
The boy’s friends and him had singled out a young Japanese girl at their school and the bullying - mostly the usual ill-informed, prejudiced bullshit - had recently become physical and the Japanese girl had been attacked. Held down by his friends, the boy had shaved one side of her head with a goddamn razor.
The school wouldn’t pursue the matter - the boy’s family made weighty donations and, you know, for the right price, people were willing to overlook anything. One of the teachers Wolffe had done work for (he’d investigated the suspicious death of a relative in the military, “suspicious” in that the relative had been thrown from a helicopter) had reached out to Wolffe for help.
As the family were pulling into the drive and the father emerged from the car, Wolffe struck, hard. He didn’t say much, just kept beating the father - an inherently genetic quality, Wolffe had found the best way to get to the bottom of anything was always by force.
Or bribery.
Using bribery and other irregular means you could always shortcut the whole system, so whichever’s easiest; but bribery saved on the knuckle-work.
Several neighbor's appeared out on their similarly precision-trimmed lawns to see what all the commotion was about but none intervened or ventured to their neighbor’s assistance. Reserved in the way smart money often is, they’d held back.
That was another thing about money, sometimes money felt some principled entitlement and other times, sensibly, it was more reserved.
Wolffe said to the boy, pointing at the father (who lay mostly unconscious and bleeding generally from the face on the clean, expansive, precision-trimmed lawn while the mother fretted and screamed over him): “The Japanese girl, Aiko, anything happens to her I come back and do that to your father again, so badly this time you won’t be able to recognize his face through all the blood and broken bones - understand…?”
The boy nodded.
The boy was crying, but now he knew the score.
It was a fancy neighborhood and police always tended to respond more swiftly to money but there was no sign of them.
The neighbor's were waiting for Wolffe to leave so they could call the police and pretend they weren’t able to identify the attacker.
Occasionally Wolffe helped people out, pro bono. In the interest of fairness, Wolffe had investigated the Japanese  family, too, by the way: They’d no money, the mother and father worked two menial shift jobs each to pay the private school fees. They’d practically no life to speak of; they just wanted their little girl to have the best life.
“See you around, kid,” Wolffe said to the boy.
Wolffe walked calmly back to the waiting taxi, got in and the taxi driver quickly sped off.