Dan O’Shea, over at http://danielboshea.wordpress.com/ is giving away money again… to a very worthwhile charity, that is. For every entry – deadline is July 23, 2011 – in his “The Happy Birthday to Me Estate Planning Flash Fiction Challenge, over at GOING BALLISTIC, Dan is donating $5 to Heartsprings, a center for children with Autism in Wichita, Kansas.
Prompt: There’s a death in the family — Dad, Mom, a rich uncle, etc. And now something is up for grabs. The lesser angels of everybody’s nature come out to play.
Word Count: 1000 words
Deadline: Saturday, July 23, 2011
THE OLD BASTARD IS FINALLY DEAD
By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
The family is scattered around the library, trying their best to look solemn… hypocrites! At least two among them would like nothing better than to dance on dearly departed Daddy’s grave right now… fuck the money! The old bastard is finally dead… good fucking riddance!
Not I, though. I was really hoping that the old bastard would hang on for a few more years. Not because I loved him. Don’t get me wrong. I did love him… after a fashion… although, I’m not really sure why. For as long as I can remember, loving my parents always seemed more of a duty, like picking up one’s room or doing schoolwork.
No, I wanted Daddy to hang on a bit longer for only one reason… so that I could watch my older sister beg and squirm, desperate for her inheritance. The bitch never could manage her money!
The library is redolent with the smell of old books and Daddy’s cherry pipe tobacco… the room is thick with memories. It is probably the only one of all forty-two rooms in the Edgefield manse that I have pleasant memories of. As a child, I would spend hours in here, lost in all the wonderful, amazing stories resting in silent repose on the bookshelves… waiting for me to unlock their secrets.
“And, to my eldest daughter, Claire Elizabeth… I hereby bequeath the sum of £5m, and the penthouse in Montreal.” Coopersmythe, the solicitor pauses, looking around the room, which has suddenly gone still. The air of disbelief in the library is palpable. Daddy’s estate is worth well over £850m.
“And!?” Claire’s sharp voice cuts through the silence.
“And what… Miss Edgefield?” Mr. Coopersmythe looks over to Claire. She stares back.
“Where’s the rest of it? I am the eldest… you are not going to fucking tell me that this is all I get?” Claire is livid and getting more pissed by the moment. Time to throw a little petrol on the flames.
“Claire… Claire… Claire… dear sister! Did you really think that all of those years of sucking that old bastard’s cock were going to get you anything? Really? You poor deluded soul!”
“You bitch!” Claire shrieks, out of the chair and purple with rage. “You fucking cunt!” I push her back down, none too gently.
“Oh, do sit down, dear… you’re making a spectacle of yourself!” I walk over to the side table and pour myself another drink. My brother clears his throat. I look over to him.
“Yes, dear brother?”
“A little hard on Sister, weren’t you?”
“Oh please, Thomas… Claire is a big girl. Besides, it’s not like it’s a big secret.” Turning to Claire…
“Veritas vos liberabit. Be honest… you feel better already, don’t you?”
The look on Claire’s face… if she had a sharp object at hand right now…
“Don’t you think that some things are better left unspoken?” Thomas is not going to leave well enough alone.
“Oh! Do you mean, like the fact that your little company, which Daddy financed completely, is the second largest porn distributor in the United Kingdom?”
Thomas doesn’t say anything… he just looks down at the carpet and shakes his head.
“Doing your bit to bring disgrace to the family name, Tommy? How pedestrian… how utterly pedestrian! And to think, that Daddy has now left you all that money.” Daddy left Thomas £75m and a string of storage companies in London and Southeast.
“I suppose it would be asking too much for you to do something decent with the money, dear brother?” My voice drips sarcasm.
“Stop it! Stop it! Must you be so horrid, Emily? Must you?” From the sound of her voice, baby sister is close to tears.
“Oh dear! Baby sister does have a voice, after all!”
“Please stop, Emily… please! I beg you!”
“Dear Kate… or, should I say ‘klepto’ Kate? You know… it really is getting quite tiresome… those weekly trips to Harrods, to deal with your little ‘indiscretions’.”
The words are no sooner spoken, when I regret them. Kate’s face has gone ashen, and her look of disappointment stabs at my heart. I start to say something, but she recovers.
“I’m sure it won’t be too much of a hardship for you now, dear sister!” Kate alludes to the fact that the bulk of Daddy’s estate, £500m, has come to me. A cunning look comes over her face.
“One wonders… would you have still been Daddy’s favorite, had he known of your sapphic ‘inclinations’?”
“Really, Kate… must you always be so bloody proper? You can say the word, you know… lesbian. Emily is a lesbian!” A sharp gasp from my mother. I turn to her.
“Oh, Mother… don’t look so shocked. After all… I get it from you.” Mother looks up at me, puzzlement and confusion on her face. I look around the room. Oh well… in for a penny… in for a pound.
“Yes, Mother. I know all about you and the upstairs maid. I can’t count the afternoons I would hear the two of you going at it. ‘Oh, Esmée… yes… yes… don’t stop… lick my c…’” SMACK!!
I take an involuntary step backwards, my left cheek stinging from the slap.
“That is quite enough, young lady!” restrained anger in her voice… “Quite enough! You will not speak to me in that manner!”
The room has gone silent, all eyes on me. I touch my cheek, looking at Mother, not quite believing what just happened.
“You struck me! You have never struck me, Mother. Can it be… you really care?” She looks at me for a moment and then turns away. I hear a soft, almost silent sob.
Turning to the others…
“You asked me why I was Daddy’s ‘favorite’? It’s very simple… I told him ‘no’. Claire never had the nerve to. Do you know what Daddy told me, as he lay breathing his last?
‘If Claire had only told me ‘no’… just once… about anything.’”