"Four Minus Four Leaves Zero"


Logline: Oscar may lose the kids to their grandparents

  It was a week before Thanksgiving Oscar sat in his office. He was waiting for a call from Steve who was due back from assignment at any minute. Callahan buzzed him Oscar reached for the phone and picked it up. “Steve?” All that answered was a dial tone. Then he heard the Buzzer again. He reached over and pressed the button. “Yes Callahan?”

“Mr. Goldman, there are two men here to see you. They say their names are Paul and Frank Jenkins.”

Oscar thought for a moment. “Send them in.”

The door opened and they stepped in. “I don’t know if you know who we are?” The first man said. "I’m Frank Jenkins. Tom Jenkins was my son.” He pointed to the man standing beside him. “This is Paul he is my other son, and Tom’s brother.”

“Yes my sister Julie told me all about you. Please sit down. What can I do for you?”

“Well,” Frank began, “you could start by giving me my grandsons.”

“Of course I think we can arrange a visit.” Oscar agreed.

“No Sir, you don’t understand. I want my grandsons. Paul and his wife Carla have agreed to take them. They don’t have any children. They can’t. We feel that the children will be better off with Paul and Carla.”

“You don’t seem to understand. My sister and your son left them to me. Their lawyer contacted me, and brought them here to DC.”

“I am aware of that, but don’t you think they would be better off if they were raised by a mother and a father?” Frank argued.

“I am doing just fine thank you.”

“Could we at least see them?”

“As I said before I’m sure we can arrange something. But in light of the conversation we just had, I feel that a supervised visit is in order.”

“We would like to take them to dinner and we would also like to have them spend the Holidays with us.”

“That won’t be possible. I have already made arrangements.” Oscar lied. But there was no way he was going to allow Frank and Paul to just take his kids. "You can come by the house this evening for dessert and coffee. Then maybe we can make arrangements for you to see the boys after the Holidays. If you will leave the name of your hotel with my secretary I will have a car sent to pick you up tonight.”

“If you would give us your address I’m sure we can find it.” Frank stated.

“I’m not comfortable with giving you my address at the moment.”

“Ok I’ll accept that for now. I just never expected any trouble. I thought a man in you position would be more than willing to give up four boys.”

“Well I’m not; they are a part of my life now. If you want them you will have to fight me for them.”

“We will see you tonight then. Come on Paul.” Frank and Paul left Oscar’s office.

“Who were they?” Steve asked as he came in. “They seemed awful upset.”

“They were Julie’s in-laws, her father in law and brother in law. They want the kids Steve.”

“Did you tell them they can’t have them, especially now with all the problems Marc is having. How is he by the way?”

“He doesn’t seem to have the nightmares as much I think that’s because he has convinced himself the it wasn’t a dream. And we are all against him.”

“Maybe I should try talking to him again.” Steve suggested.

“I don’t know. He is pretty upset. I don’t know if he will talk to anybody. He barely talks to Matt.”

“How is Matt dealing with it?”

“He tries to understand, but it’s hard for him. He is only seven.”

“How about the other two?”

“Danny is very understanding. And Joey well he’s only four. I don’t think he even knows what’s going on.”

“How is Joey by the way?”

“He is doing great. He loves his new pre school. And the good thing about it is he will remain a Bates till he graduates high school.”

“I have heard that is the number one school in the area.” Steve said.

“You heard right. By the way I have a favor. I need you to come over tonight; I want to take the bunk beds down. It’s Rudy’s suggestion. He said that if he ever needed to come over and treat Marc for anything, It would make it easier on him.”

“Yea, sure. What time?”

“Well I have them coming over after dinner. How about as soon as I get off work?”

“So around six then?”

“Yea, I’ll see you at the house.” Oscar said as Steve left. He reached for the intercom “Callahan get me the law firm of Brice, Beck and Thompson. I need their Washington Office. I think I’m going to need a lawyer. Oh by the way, those men that left did they give you the name of the hotel they are staying in?”

“Yes they did. They wanted your address and were quite upset when I refused to give it to them.”

“I’m glad that you didn’t.”

Steve was at the house when Oscar and Danny arrived. “Why is Steve here?” Danny said when he saw his car.”

“He’s here to help disassemble the bunk beds. Rudy said the if he had to come and do anything with Marc it would be easier if he were in a regular bed.”

“I guess you are right.”

“I have something to talk to you boys at dinner so be prepared.” Oscar forewarned.

Together Steve and Oscar got the bunk beds taken down. “Steve I would ask you to stay to dinner, but I have some things I need to discuss with the kids.”

“I understand. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“See you tomorrow pal.”


The five of them sat at dinner. Oscar had dismissed Mary early “I have something to talk to you about. I had a couple of visitors today. Your grandpa Frank and Uncle Paul.”

“How is grandpa?” they all asked.

“Oh he’s fine in fact they are coming out here to see you tonight. They wanted to take you to dinner, but I wouldn’t allow it.”

”Why not?” Danny asked.

“I’m afraid they want to take back to New York to live with them.”

“We won’t go. We want to stay here.” The children cried.

“I’m glad to hear you say that. That’s why I didn’t let them take you. I was afraid they would leave with you. You are not to go with them at all unless you hear it from me first.”

“Ok dad.” Danny and the twins agreed.

“They will be here after dinner.”

“I have homework to do.” Danny stated. “I’ll go get it done so I can visit.”

“Dan, does Rudy give you time to do your school work?”

“Yea, That’s all I do for the first half hour. I can’t start anything until it’s done. That’s Rudy’s biggest rule.”

“That’s good.”


Later that evening the doorbell rang. Oscar went to answer it. “Hello Paul, and Frank.” Oscar said as he let them in.

“Millie is here too.” Frank said.

“I’m sorry Millie I didn’t see you.” Oscar stated. “ Please come in. If you will just follow me, I’ll show you to the living room.”

The children were all sitting on the couch but got up as soon as their grandparents entered the room to allow them to sit down.

The children gathered around their grandparents. They were glad to see them.

Mary came in with pie and coffee for the grownups and milk for the kids. “I’ll see you in the morning Mr. Goldman.”

“Yes thank you Mary.” Oscar replied

Matt showed them his schoolwork. Marc had already dismissed himself and gone up stairs. Millie saw that Matt had written that his last name was Goldman.

“Why do you sign your paper that way?” She asked.

“That’s my name.” Matt said. “Dad adopted us.”

“Where did Marc go?” Frank wanted to know.

“Marc isn’t feeling well he went on up to bed.” Oscar told them.

“Does he also sign his paper Goldman?”

“They all do Frank, Like Matt said. I adopted them.” Oscar explained. “I was having trouble with a social worker who wanted to put them in foster homes. That’s why I moved out of DC.”

“Well you should not have given them your name. They are Jenkins.” Frank said.

“I didn’t worry about that at the time. As I said earlier Julie and Tom gave me custody. It was my decision to make.”

“Well we need to tell you. We have hired a lawyer, and we plan to have that overturned especially now that you did this.”

“You do what you feel is best. However you may not see the children or anything until we go to court. I spoke to my lawyer today. I have a court order saying you are to stay away from the children. Now if you don’t mind, I wish you would leave my house.”

“This is not the end of this.” Frank said “We will have them with us by Christmas and you will be the one out in the cold. You will never see any of them ever again!!”

“We will see about that. Right now I’m what’s best for them. They have been with me since the beginning of the school year. No judge in his/her right mind would rip them away from that.”

“We will see!!” Fran screamed.

“You may go now!!” Oscar demanded. “I don’t want you to come around here again.”

The three left. “I want you kids to get ready for bed. I ‘m sorry you had to here that. I have nothing against your grandparents. I just don’t want to lose you.”

“We understand dad. We want to stay with you.” Danny said. He took Matt and Joey upstairs to get ready for bed. Oscar put the court order he had obtained that afternoon into his pocket. “Mary I have to go out for a bit. I’ll be back.”

“Ok Mr. Goldman, I’ll hold down the fort.”


Oscar drove into the city he went to the OSI building and went to the vault. He filed the document under his file ‘eyes only’ Oscar Goldman. He didn’t trust those people at all. He was afraid they would break into the house and steal it.

He started down the hall and noticed a light under Rudy’s door. He stopped and knocked. Rudy opened the door. “Oscar, what are you doing here?”

“I wanted to store something in the vault. You’re working late.”

“I have Steve here for some tests. Come on in.” Oscar stepped in.

“I’m glad you guys are here. I had that meeting with Frank and Paul tonight.”

“And?” Steve looked up at Oscar.

“They are going to fight me for the kids.”

“They can’t do that.” Steve said.

“Well they seem to think they can.” Oscar informed him.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m not giving them up, not for anybody.” Oscar told them.

“Oscar, if they win custody, what will happen to Marc?”

“I’m not worried about that right now Rudy. I want what’s best for them. I feel I’m what’s best for them. They have lived with me for sometime now. The judge will take that into consideration. But they are part of my life. I couldn’t imagine a day without them.”

Oscar sat for a while “I better go. I left them with Mary She wants to get going. Now that Joey has no more problems we don’t need her as much she only comes for the afternoon and to get dinner ready. She stayed extra tonight.”

“See you tomorrow Oscar.” Rudy said as he left.


The next morning Oscar’s lawyer called him. “We have a hearing with the judge this afternoon.”

“That soon?”

“It is just a hearing to determine when and if there will be a trial

That afternoon Oscar sat in the courtroom. “You say you adopted your nephews Mr. Goldman?”

“Yes your honor I did. The judge said that since they were related they would waive the waiting period.”

“That’s how it works. May I see the document your sister and brother in law signed giving you custody?” The judge ordered.

“Yes I have it right here.” Oscar removed the document from his pocket.

The judge took the paper. He looked at it. “There is nothing here that says Mr. Goldman could not adopt the boys.” He stated.

“But your Honor!” Frank protested.

“Mr. Jenkins, your son agreed to this. It was decided that your daughter-in-law’s brother would have custody of the four minor children should anything happen to them.”

“That is not fair!!” Frank shouted.

“Please don’t speak to me in this tone in my courtroom.” The judge ordered. “I am not holding this over for trial. The decision has been made.”

“We want them for Christmas!” Millie said.

”That will be up to their father.” The judge stated.

“We will appeal this.” Frank threatened,

“You can’t appeal a hearing.” The judge told him.

“We will try. We will keep this in court till we get our grandchildren.”

“Mr. Goldman, do you have any objection to them having the children over Christmas?”

“Yes I do. First of all it is our first Christmas as a family. Second I’m afraid if I let them near the kids, they will take them.”

“I understand your point. I don’t want to have this case cross my docket again. Do I make myself clear?”

The Jenkins family nodded in defeat. “Maybe someday we can see the kids.” They asked.

“If you hadn’t drug me to court and threatened me I might have asked you to Christmas at my house. But you have blown any chance of that.” Oscar said as they left the court house.”

“This isn’t over Goldman. We will have our grandchildren for Christmas no matter what we have to do. I would just a soon see you dead as raising my son’s children.”

To be continued in
"A Thanksgiving Story"

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