Creative Nonfiction

“I want people to dance, to laugh, enjoy the life I’ve lived.” 

“You just told me the other day you don’t enjoy your life.” My friend and lawyer, Jake Smock, says, dropping his pen. 

“That's true, but they don’t need to know that.” I grin. 

“We are trying to write your will. We have the opening sentence and those paying for funeral and other expenses. Who you leaving your money and personal property too?”

“You in a rush?”

“I have other appointments.”

“Not until like noon. It’s only ten.”

“You checked my schedule?” He looked at me dumbfounded. Like its something I’ve never done before.

I roll my eyes, then look across the room. My mind wonders to his question. Who do I want to leave everything too? Sure I have my wife and kids I could entrust it too. That’s what they would expect. They are all waiting to get what I’ve worked for after I die. My wife never liked that I didn’t put her name on the title of the house. Dying would be the perfect opportunity for her to get my assets. That would mean I’d have to put her in the will. If I put my kids in the will and I die before the oldest turns eighteen, she would still get the house until they are old enough. Guess I’ll have to leave them all out. 

“How old is my goddaughter?” I ask with a sly smile. 

Jake looks at me in disbelief. He knows how bad my home life has gotten. I don’t understand it myself. Why do I stay with my rotten family? I guess I still love them. My wife isn’t cheating on me, that I know of. My children can be angels, but only when they want something. I always show up to games and school plays. I take my wife out on dates. I love them, but why do I feel as if they are using me? Do they love me back? I try and try to keep it together. I get kisses, I get ‘I love you’s’, but none of it seems real. They still backtalk me. They still argue with me. I can’t say no without a fight. 


“How was the meeting with Jake today?” My wife, Laura, asks as I walk through the door. 

“Fine. Got my will all straightened out.” 

“I still don’t understand why we didn’t do one together.” She says as she continues to make lunch. Chopping up tomatoes and lettuce. 

“We’ve talked about this.”

“I know, it just makes me feel like we aren’t really married. We are just two people who live together and have children together.” She shrugs her shoulders as she speaks. Trying to keep it nonchalant. 

The conversation we have, has happened before. I know we are married and married couples should do everything together. Though, I don’t want some of the important things done together. Like the will. We don’t even have a joint bank account. I’m the one paying all the bills anyway. I’m the one with a good job. A great job actually. I make more than enough money. Laura stays at home all day. She has her hobbies that keep her busy. We have a great house, nice cars. The kids go to well renowned schools. They all live a outstanding life. 

About two hours later, I’m finishing up some work in the office and I hear the front door open. This signals me that the kids are home. I close my programs and shut down the computer. I hear their feet run across the floor into the kitchen. Their mother gives a big greeting and I’m sure she’s giving them all hugs. I walk out of my office and go join them in the kitchen. The only one out of my four that come up to me, is the youngest. Marie, my precious little girl. 

“Daddy guess what I did today?” Her bright baby blues beam up at me. 

I get on one knee to get closer to her height, “What did you make?”

I see out of the corner of my eye, I notice my other children keep talking to their mother. I haven’t been close with my other kids in a while. They have all seem to have grown apart from me. No matter how hard I try, we don’t seem to get along anymore. I assume it’s because they want to be more independent. Yet, they talk to their mother about anything. I’m the piggy bank they come to when they want something. It isn’t something I enjoy, I try to do more with them, but they turn me down. I’m not sure what I did to sway them against me. At least they’ll miss me when I’m dead. 

There is a knock on the door. Laura, dressed in black, answers it. Standing on the other side is Jack, holding a briefcase. She assumes it’s filled with her husbands will and testimony. Something her and the kids have been looking forward too. Her husband had been sick for a while. With that and the family growing distant from him, it brought on a deep depression. A secret he kept with him as the sickness took him under. Not that his family seemed to care. Laura was more worried about how they were gonna keep living, at least until after the money ran out. Which it will be while, though she thought. As Jack walked in, behind him came his daughter. 

“What is Kathren here?” Laura snapped.

“Everyone in the last will and testoment has to be here.” Jack said calmly.

Laura pulls him to the side.

“She’s in the will?”

“Yes, she is.” He said sternly. 

Everyone gathered in the living room. The wife taking a seat in her husbands old chair. Her glare sent to the girl that's not hers. Jack sets the briefcase down on the coffee table and opens it. He grabs the stack of papers and gets ready to read. Everybody is at the edge of their seats. Jack starts reading the beginning of the will. 

“I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint Jack Smock as Executor or if this Executor is unable or unwilling to serve then I appoint Laura Gold as alternate Executor.”

“Excuse me. Please tell me your reading the wrong will. He did not name you primary.” Laura exclaimed standing up abruptly. 

“He did and I accept. Now sit down so I can continue.” Jack says through gritted teeth. 

“....the following property for up to a year until they may find a new place to live: Laura Gold, Wife, 187 West Woodrift road. Mason, NV. Then following that year the home will be bequeathed to Kathren Smock.” Jack points a finger at Laura, noticing her starting to stand up, her mouth open ready to argue.

Jack finishes the will. Everything, including the money, goes to his goddaughter. Laura and the kids get nothing. 

“This is an abomination! I am his wife! I only get a year to find a new place. I don’t get any of the money. I don’t get anything. I married that troll knowing he was going to die and I would get his money and I get none of it. He has no right to do this to me. I will take you to court. She is not even his blood.”

“You can’t go to court about a will that was signed by him and I am his lawyer. You wouldn’t win. You have a year to get your stuff together and get out. He knew all about your thoughts on him. He knew you never loved him. He knew everything. Especially that only one of those kids of yours are his and Marie is the only one who has a separate account for her when she turns 18. As I read in the will.” 

Jack stands to leave. His daughter has a bright smile on her face. While the family that is now fatherless, remains in anger and dismay. 

September 01, 2020 23:38

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Karin Venables
02:42 Sep 10, 2020

Doesn't that just figure. His wife thinks she pulled off the perfect long con. I love that she get her comeuppance. One of four children is his. And all his wife and his older three can think of, is how much money they'll have if he would just hurry up and die. Last wills and testaments can be quite the surprise. Nice job.


Shelby Schwartz
14:35 Sep 10, 2020

Thank you!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Arvind Kashyap
12:51 Sep 07, 2020

Being myself a lawyer I liked the way you wrote it. Keep writing


Shelby Schwartz
23:43 Sep 08, 2020

Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.