18 comments

Submitted on 08/29/2020

Categories: Drama Mystery Funny

(Write a story that starts with someone writing their will — one they know people won’t like.)


My birthday was a couple days ago! It was not a good thing! Well what I mean is even though I received more than a dozen cards in the mail, flowers from two different sons and families, a gift from across the world and all the normal stuff, it was still the pits! With a capital P.


There is something about the actual number that flips a switch in your brain. These levels that people imagine signify something. Just turned thirty, flip the switch, or forty and sixty is a real bummer, flip the switch. You can still feel young and desirable at fourth-five but after that it becomes harder to convince yourself so by sixty you have examined your skin and hair and maybe you’ve added a few extra pounds so desirable is no longer in your thought process.  


This brings us to my recent birthday. I think all the fuss and attention was because they, my darling family and friends, knew that the switch in my brain was about to be flipped...again.  


Last Thursday, I turned eighty.


And so, what is the significance of eighty?  


Well it is the beginning of “knowing”!  


Knowing what you might ask!  


It is the beginning of knowing that your days are numbered. You can no longer assume you will see another spring, another Christmas or another birthday. It is the beginning of wallowing in nostalgia. Deciding it is time to rid yourself of clutter so things are all neat and tidy when “they” have to come in and gather your clothing for the charity shop or the thrift store. It is time for you to give serious thought to what “you” want to happen to favorite things, or your money, or your estate in general.


It is time to write the dreaded will.  


Another thing you should understand about me is I’m a realist, I believe in an eye for an eye, or maybe better put, my offspring are not equal in their understanding of what makes a “good” son. To put it another way, I managed to raise two takers and one giver. These are my terms but basically my giver son thinks of others many many times before he thinks of himself, he is generous with his time and talents and it is just built into his wiring. My other two sons are more like most people, if you ask they will probably assist you but out of sight, out of mind, they are not very attentive.


And so here I sit, my intentions are clear. I will write up my will based on who did what and when.  


Who seemed to love me the most?  


Who cried with me and laughed with me.


This is no easy task, I keep remembering different scenarios involving my “boys”. I keep readjusting my list. I keep changing percentages of total estate value to each of them. A few times I got actually angry when a bitter memory floated to the top of my mind.  


I tried to ensure that the son that appeared to love and care for me the most got the biggest share.  


Ok….now what of the two that I consider takers? How should the balance of my 

estate be divided? I’m getting a massive headache!  


And I begin to rationalize! They can’t help how they are wired, they have been like this since they were kids. One was always generous and forgiving and his brothers took advantage of his sweet nature. But they are all my sons, all raised the same, how can they be so different?   


Should I be trying to make excuses by thinking they were naturally born that way? I think not! We all have choices, free will, they each chose to live the lives they led and now it is my turn to show them, or teach them that being a giver will result in a big bonus in the end.


I wrestle with this situation for hours. Then it occurs to me that I am in good health, relatively speaking, so I can take my time with this will writing thing. And then I remember a good friend telling me about her own soul searching as she aged and she was so happy she went to estate planning seminars to help her sort out the best plan for keeping as much as possible from the government.   


The government? Really? The government? And so I called for an appointment with my attorney. I told him I was ready to draw up my last will and testament and I would like his help making sure my sons were protected from the government!


~~~~~


The morning of my meeting with my attorney, I rewrote my list of a few personal items I wished each son to have, for sentimental reasons that resonated with me, how they might feel is anyone’s guess but no one wants real squabbling over things at the end. Then I boldly wrote out the division of the major estate.  


My massive headache was returning as I thought about how surprised and then hurt two of my sons will feel after I’m gone. My third son will feel confused about his good fortune and want to share it more equitably with his brothers. Anger and confusion but they need to learn how behavior can impact things.


As I sit across the conference table from my attorney, he studies the pages that contain my directives. The actual will, the power of attorney if I become incapacitated prior to actual death and my wishes for my corporeal body after death.


He coughs quietly and raises his eyebrows. He seems to be trying to comment about something in my wishes that he disagrees with or ??


I blurt out…


”What?, you don’t agree with cremation? Or you don’t agree with no memorial service or public viewing or announcement?” “What?” “Just say it!”


And so he begins.  


“I have no issues, none, with cremation or internment or anything you wish!” replies the attorney.


Then he adds, “Regarding the memorial services and announcements, you know these things are for your loved ones to say a final goodbye to you, to help them ease the loss, it is not for you BUT, here in my notes I’ve written... Patty, no party! That will take care of that, if you wish to disappear and leave many with very unsettled feelings.


Continuing he adds, “And now about your will!” “Only you know what your fears might be, if you know someone to be a drug addict or a violent criminal or ?? Someone who will waste or squander your hard earned estate, then your actions may be justified!” “If your sons were just typical human beings with short comings and different personalities then maybe you should seriously consider my next statement.”


After a respectable pause allowing me time to understand this point is important, he continues.


“BUT, my job is to remind you that the choices you make now, can create turmoil among your sons, anger and resentment, divisions that can last, perhaps, for a lifetime. If that is what you wish, I will draw up your will as written.”


The attorney cont, “OR, we can amend your terms to equal thirds and allow your boys to remain friends, no resentments or anger or jealousy!”


“You decide now if you wish them to be divided and carry life’s burdens “alone“, or remain friends and hopefully share love and concern for one another as they continue in life.”


What do you think Patty did?

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18 comments

P. Jean
17:09 Sep 19, 2020

Many just like stories. I hope they really read them before liking! I hope you do! Thank you for the likes!

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15:19 Sep 09, 2020

Dear jean, Very nicely you put the feelings that every adult goes through. I appreciate the attorney for acting as a conscious keeper. Good job

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P. Jean
15:29 Sep 09, 2020

Thank you for reading. It is hard to put oneself into a different age body or a different situation but we are all observers and if we watch, there is much to learn! Thanks again for your thoughts!

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Paula Martinek
14:53 Sep 05, 2020

I liked the conflict in the character, her struggle with who and what her sons are. However I think there could be a better ending. You can still make it ambiguous as to what Patty did without such a jarring question. For example, how does she react to what the lawyer says? Does she care, or not and why?

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P. Jean
14:58 Sep 05, 2020

Thank you Paula, story endings aren’t a weak spot for me. I have trouble with them in that, I’ve told the story now I just want to shut it down. So I often blurt out wrong or stupid things. Thanks for really reading and commenting, so many don’t bother.

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Paula Martinek
18:07 Sep 05, 2020

You're welcome. I look at endings as part of the story. It's characters and describing them that's my problem. If you get a chance please read The Will. I'd like feedback on the pastor and Gerald.

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10:13 Aug 31, 2020

A hard topic that you handled nicely! This story certainly is interesting, but it got confusing for me towards the end. Without any dialogue tags, it was hard to keep track of the speaker. Also, one thing I wondered about was grandchildren. Usually by age 80 and having three sons, there would be at least one or two grandchildren around. And just a nit picky thought is perhaps a reference to a passed spouse or thoughts about life passed could enrich your story. Personal details about childhood or jobs or even just a random memory coul...

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P. Jean
12:40 Aug 31, 2020

Thank you Jordan! Grands would have been a good idea. Yes more detail could make a more complete story.

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P. Jean
04:41 Sep 07, 2020

I have been thinking about this, how do you know when you have enough detail or too much detail. These are shots stories built on prompts not novels. So explaining grandkids or anecdotal stories of the sons youth could have been perhaps unnecessarily long. Just asking? I have little or no experience!

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07:12 Sep 07, 2020

Excellent questions, P. Jean! It's not necessarily about too much or too little detail, it's about which details are important to the story. In a romance short story, the reader will not be particularly interested in what the narrator ate for breakfast, unless she happens to puke it all up on the male lead later on. Do you get what I mean? For this story in particular, it's about writing a will. It's a heavy, dark topic, but it also forces you to think about your life and the effect you had on this world. What are your material possessio...

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P. Jean
11:49 Sep 07, 2020

Yes very much. I will read this a few more times to reinforce the concept. I very much appreciate your help.

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P. Jean
20:29 Sep 07, 2020

Is your name a nom de plume? I visualize a great heron!

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12:07 Sep 08, 2020

It is not! My name is de la Garza, a very old Spanish name that does mean heron, or in some translations, flamingo, waterfowl, etc. I'm very impressed that you know this!

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Eleny Mal
08:00 Aug 31, 2020

Wow! This was really good. I loved the descriptions and everything flowed so nicely!

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P. Jean
12:37 Aug 31, 2020

Thank you Sarah. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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Kat Stokes
22:40 Aug 29, 2020

Great story! :)

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P. Jean
22:51 Aug 29, 2020

Thank you! Strange subject!

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