Joshua let out an exasperated sigh. His eyes darting back and forth between the stack of papers on the desk in front of him , and the lawyer sitting
across the desk, impatiently drumming his fingers and pinching up his face in mock disgust of the documents contents.
" Why me?" Joshua whined, as if he was a small boy again, trying to get out of trouble.The larger man across from him, loudly cleared his throat,
and reshuffled the papers.
" Your grandfather was, shall we say, specific?"
Joshua shifted in his chair, as if he changed positions physically it would change the outcome of this meeting.
" Suppose I refuse to do it?" He blurted, staring directly into the lawyer's eyes. " What becomes of all of it then?"
The solicitor gave the briefest of smiles, then inhaled long and loud before speaking,
" Should you refuse to comply with the will, his estate shall be divided evenly among his chosen charity-and myself."
"You!"Joshua was up out of the chair now, almost tipping it over as he stood. " YOU and CHARITY? And I will receive nothing? "
The lawyer shook his head. " Nothing".
Considering his sad state of economic affairs, Joshua was left with no choice. " FINE!" He agreed through clenched teeth.
The lawyer opened a small top drawer in his desk and pulled out a manila envelope.He threw the contents across the desk at the young hot head,snorting
"I'll be in touch." Joshua spoke flatly as he grabbed the keys and made for the door. Grumbling to himself as he passed the receptionist, and lost
in thought as he walked out into the street, the chilly autumn wind that hit him matched his mood.As did the cold October raindrops as they began to
Luckily he hadn't parked far away from the office, and before the sky opened up a torrential down pour, he was safely inside his car. Furious still,
he smashed his fist on the dashboard...cursing his luck, cursing the lawyer, and cursing his grandfather.He hadn't planned to be here more than a
day. An inheritance, he was told, of some monetary value. "Great!"He spoke aloud. "Drive across the country, pick up a cheque, good to go! NOPE.
The conniving old bastard. Leave a mess for me to clean up, or I get nothing. NOTHING!" He punched the dashboard again, this time a bit too hard.The
pain of his frustration splintered across his palm and tingled like hot needles up his wrist.
Starting the engine, he pulled out into traffic,and mulled over his assigned task as he drove.
His grandfather had been an eccentric man. Not necessarily disliked, but not much liked either.Although he had lived his entire life in the same town,
not many could say they knew him well. Not many in fact, could say much about him at all. He was not one to socialize, nor even speak much.One would
wonder how he ever thrived as a small business owner without so much as a friendly greeting to his customers.Suppose it was simply because he
preferred the written word to the spoken, and those who frequented his book shop either accepted his eccentricities and did not engage him, or simply
didn't return. If anyone thought him rude, surely he had no care.
Joshua had grown up far away from this small town and it's judgements.His grandmother left his grandfather and raised his mother, and eventually
himself,clear across the country from this place. It was as if she needed to put as much space, as much land, as much time and distance between them
as she possibly could.Why- Joshua never knew. It wasn't spoken of.Nor did he really care.Yet obviously his grandfather somehow knew of them, their
whereabouts, enough to will everything to him upon his death.With his grandmother gone, and his mother passing at an age too young,he was the only one
left to deal with this " mess" his grandfather left behind.
Double checking the address on the envelope given to him at the office,he parked his car in front of an old delapidated building.
Glancing out his window through the pouring rain, he could see the broken bricks on the sidewalk, and the spaces on the wall where they once were
whole.The faded peeling paint gave away the age of the store to appear much older than it was supposed to be. Joshua doubted if the exterior had ever
been renovated or maintained in the last 50 years. The display window grinned at him with a half moon crack from frame to frame that had been hastily
taped over by god knew whom, and the heavy dust covering the inside only gave him the appearance of a silhouette of a display beyond the broken
"Why me..." He whispered again.
Fumbling in his pocket for the keys, he chuckled at the thought of the door being locked in the first place.Surely nothing left in here is valuable
enough to steal. He frowned then, as mentally a couple of zeros disappeared from his perceived inheritance.
As he opened the door,a cloud of dust filled the air,and the scent of mildew and old books filled his nostrils to a level of nausea.Surprisingly,
aside from the dust, the store was neat. Very neat and very organized. Even more shocking was that each aisle was specifically categorized, not just
by genre,but alphabetically, like a library.Likely so that customers could easily find what they were looking for without asking for help. The
lawyer's words earlier played again in his mind.
" The books and contents of the store and apartment are to be sorted, boxed, and liquidated by YOU and YOU ALONE.The building is in need of repair,
but it may have historical value due to it's age. I can only assume this was your grandfather's way of you getting to know him,because you were
never given the chance."
" I never wanted the chance." Joshua spoke as if his grandfather were still there in the store with him. sitting behind the cash register and
awaiting him to make a purchase.
He took a walk to the back of the store and into the office. It's appearance just as neat and organized, with everything placed neatly like a
painting from some by gone year, and the artist wanting to capture it all in it's state of perfection. Such a contradiction he thought, to keep
everything so tidy in a building that is crumbling around it.
Pulling the keys from his pocket again,he reached for the lock of a door in the back corner. It swung open with a loud groan and gave way to a long
staircase leading to the upper floor, where his grandfather had spent his years living alone till the end. The smell of old wood and lemon polish was
a pleasant switch from the dank musty smell of the shop. Odd that he seemed to keep the upstairs cleaner, he mused.Perhaps in his advanced age, the
upkeep was just too much.
A sliver of sunlight broke through the heavy drapes in the apartment, and Joshua realized the rain had stopped, and that perked up his mood somewhat.
Something about a grey rainy day just makes a task more heavy, and sunlight seem to lift the weight.
The small rooms were sparsely furnished,and as everything had been downstairs, carefully placed, so it was here as well.If nothing else, nobody could
accuse his grandfather of being slovenly, or disorderly.This at least, would make Joshua's task easier.
He scanned the rooms at the decor. the sun faded drapes and the aged plaster walls.The lack of art, or photographs struck him. Hung on the walls in
frames, in place of beloved family photos or brilliant landscapes, were book covers, and torn pages with highlighted passages.
(Continued Next Post)