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Principal Desires

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Michonne sighed. "My older brother Theodore is best friends with Merle Dixon's younger brother Daryl. As a matter of fact, Daryl Dixon is like family to both of us. We all went to high school together. Merle’s about seven or eight years older than we are though… I didn’t meet him until after I graduated from law school.” She let out another sigh and took Rick’s hand. “I probably shouldn’t tell you this but I know I can trust you not to blab the man’s business to anyone. Merle Dixon lives in Savannah now but the family is originally from Senoia. He was kind of rough around the edges back in the day. He struggled with alcohol abuse, and got high on occasion and worst of all he had… well has… a REALLY bad gambling habit. He was always getting into fights over high stakes poker games, billiards, boxing matches and other sporting events, as well as horse races and illegal car races and was repeatedly arrested, and occasionally on the run from bookies and thugs he owed money to. He was also dealing drugs around that time and as a high ranking member of The Wolves, that notorious biker gang down in Senoia Trailer Park, he was constantly in and out of trouble with them with the law for bar brawls, drug raids and other disturbances. Daryl had always said that their father wanted Merle to take over the family business when he retired but doubted Merle could stay straight and do it because he was always in and out of juvenile detention and later, the county jail. One night there was a big fight at some honky tonk bar on the outskirts of town and Merle’s gang was mostly to blame. The place got trashed and a few people were injured. No one died thankfully but it was serious business nonetheless and Merle was arrested along with the guys in the biker gang, but for once he wasn’t involved and in no way personally responsible for any of what happened. Not long after he and his gang arrived at the bar that night, he ran into a woman named Lisa that he’d dated off and on in the past. The woman was a member of one of the female bike clubs that also frequented the bar. They had a few drinks and ended up at the motel across the street screwing each other’s brains out for the next couple of hours, but when they came back across the street to rejoin their friends inside the bar, the police were locking all of Merle’s cronies up for the big fight that had broken out and he got caught up in the fracas. He ended up getting charged with disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, as well as destruction of property and possibly assault and battery of one or more of the injured victims inside of the bar who’d by then been taken to the hospital by ambulance. The woman Merle had been with told the officers that he hadn’t been there, but since the police only cared about taking his gang in, and recognized him from causing trouble in the past, they ignored her and when she persisted, they threatened to lock her and her friends up as well. Since he was on his third strike in the county and on probation he was up against serving a considerable amount of time if he were found guilty for any of the charges against him. The senior Mr. Dixon was so through with his wayward eldest son that he practically disowned him and refused to pay another red cent on lawyers for him and figured that letting him sit in jail might make him finally learn his lesson. Merle was desperate; he swore he was innocent and had an airtight alibi; the woman he’d slept with wanted to make a formal statement and his credit card receipt from the motel listed his check in and check out time, which was before the fight broke out until twenty minutes or so after the police arrived, but he had so little money he doubted he could get a good lawyer. I’d just graduated from NYU and had only recently moved back to Atlanta and had just passed the Georgia bar exam. My specialty has always been family law, but Daryl begged me as a friend to help his brother in any way I could. Of course I couldn’t say no. I defended him in my first case ever; pro bono, right here in Atlanta Civil Court with the woman’s sworn statement, the credit card receipt and testimonies from the motel manager and a few other people as my only arguments on his behalf. Even thought I was fresh out of law school, I fought like hell with every trick in the book I knew and won the case. Before we were dismissed from court the judge warned Merle to stay away from that biker gang and better yet to think about getting the hell out of town altogether because if he EVER saw him in his court room again he was going to throw the book at him, and he might not be so lucky as to have a hot shot New York City lawyer like me to save his ass. Merle took his advice and got the hell out of town. He moved to Savannah with relatives and has been living there ever since, only returning to Atlanta to visit their immediate family for the holidays. Deep down he’s a wonderful person, just woefully off track for most of his life. He got himself straight however and after rehab and taking a few electrician, plumbing and carpentry classes he finally made his folks proud when he opened Dixon Brothers’ Savannah location; as their father says, he ‘extended the family business all the way to the shore.’ Problem is, Merle is still a drinker and never completely cut all ties with his friends in the biker gang, nor ever stopped gambling here and there and we always worry that he may get into trouble because of the gambling in particular because every few years he has some kind of a flare up and has major money problems. I know it sounds horrible and it’s highly unlikely since he’s been straight for so long, but a situation like this is only making me worry and think the worst right off the bat. He has an assistant that helps him out sometime with repair jobs but he mostly works alone and usually calls right away to handle any requests personally. I’m just hoping that he’s okay."