Short Stories Archives

The Will

To put it mildly, Ralph was tired.  After the last couple of weeks he’d had all of the vacation he could stand for a while.  The first sign of what was to come was when he came home to find his wife looking over information about London hotels.  Since they’d just gotten back from a family vacation a couple of months ago he didn’t figure it was anywhere near time for the next one.  Besides, he was loaded down with work and didn’t see himself getting away for at least a week or more and that would only give him about five days.  Long enough to rest before the next project but not long enough for another vacation.

“I heard from my aunt’s lawyer this morning.” she said.  “Oh? Does that mean they’ve finally settled the lawsuit over her will?”  “Yes, we’re going to have to be in London for the reading tomorrow.”  Ralph was stunned.  “Tomorrow?!  You can’t be serious.”  She turned to him with a sparkle in her eye, “oh, yes. I’m serious alright.  She was worth a fortune and we’re named in the will.  The lawyer says that the will is written so that whoever doesn’t show up gets nothing.”

With that, they got down to business and made the hotel reservations and arranged the plane tickets.  About twelve hours later they arrived at the lawyers office in London.  The lawyer met with them briefly and explained that their arrival has been noted and that as part of the requirements, they had to be at another lawyer’s office in New York in exactly twenty four hours.  They went back to the hotel and started looking up New York hotels and making more reservations before going to sleep.

They arrived in the New York law office five minutes ahead of schedule.  This lawyer made a record of their arrival and told them that the next step they had to fulfill was to appear before a third lawyer where the will would actually be read.  Once again they had twenty four hours.  Again they return to a hotel room only to spend time looking up Dublin hotels and making more reservations.  Late that night they boarded the flight to Dublin.

When they finally sat down in this last office the lawyer told them that they were the only family members that had been willing to do all of the traveling required to qualify under the terms of the will.  “Here is your inheritance.” he said as he gestured to a crate in the corner of the room.  When they opened it and looked inside Ralph wondered about the sanity of this whole thing.  The box contained a two foot high green ceramic frog.

“I’ll understand if you don’t wish to keep it.  In any event I am authorized to reimburse your travel expenses for the last several days.” the lawyer told them.  “No,” Ralph replied, we haven’t been through all this only to go home empty handed.  They closed the crate and returned to the hotel to make arrangements to return home.

When they arrived home they decided to just un-crate the frog and use it for a lawn decoration and put the whole mess behind them.  Ralph was carrying the frog out to the front yard where it would sit at the edge of the garden when he tripped and almost fell.  He recovered his balance but not before the frog hit the walkway in front of him and shattered.

Lying amidst the shattered ceramic were hundreds of small to medium sized diamonds.

Getaway Time

madrid-night.jpgHe had to get away.  Ever since he won, there had been a non stop stream of newfound friends coming out of the woodwork.  Most were nothing but friendly, too friendly in fact, willing to do anything they thought would convince him to hand them some money.  The problem was that if he was going to get away it had to be someplace where he could disappear for a while and take some time to decide what to do next.  Just taking some time to enjoy himself for a few weeks was a big part of it also.

He didn’t have any idea where to go until he noticed the posters in the window of a travel agency.  One paper printed in Spanish had “Hoteles en Barcelona” printed across the top.  He’d passed this window every day for a couple of years without giving it more than a passing glance but now with the flood of new friends and relatives he’d never even heard of appearing everywhere it suddenly seemed like the perfect escape.

Entering he quickly found someone eager to tell him all about the nightlife in Barcelona, the theaters, the opera and more places to see and things to do that he couldn’t imagine getting to even a large part of it in less than a month.  Hotels in Barcelona were very impressive looking and thanks to his newfound wealth he decided that he’d visit some five star hotels and live it up to the max.  Then, after a month or so there he’d pick one of the finer Hotels in Madrid and spend another month there.  Maybe after a couple of months like this he’d have a better idea what he wanted to do with the 25 Million he’d won.

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Time was running out.  He had been working almost nonstop for nearly seven days now with only small breaks to eat and nap.  The structural work had gone entirely according to plan.  Oh the beginning of it looked like a spontaneous festival of destruction but it was actually carefully planned in order to prevent accidents.  Then the editors would put everything together in a quick nonstop scene of demolition.

After that came the planning phase.  This was done while the main cleanup operation was getting the site prepared.  Basic plans were made and explained to architectural experts who filled in the details and created the final blueprints.

When actual construction began the madhouse was in full swing.  Everybody seemed to be everywhere at once.  It was sort of chaotic but still, with most of the block lined with trucks bearing supplies and equipment everybody had all they needed to get their parts of the job done.

Then almost as suddenly as it began, construction was done.  Suddenly everybody was drafted to move and set up furniture.  His part of the job was to get the theater finished.  Everything was there, ready to move in but not one stick of it could be moved.  The home theater carpet was nowhere to be found.  This was his first panic of the whole adventure.  He hurried through the entire site, searching everywhere, digging into every pile of supplies.  He had just managed to duck the maniac with the bullhorn one more time when he found the carpeting by the new grill in the backyard.

Quickly calling for nearby workers to help and things started to move.  He was safe now.  If the job wasn’t done in time it wasn’t going to be his fault.  Now he just needed to stay clear of that blasted bullhorn for another two hours…..

Now THAT would be a challenge.

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