When my cell phone rings I hear, “Unknown caller”. Must be a telemarketer. I let it ring, unanswered. Then the phone alerts me...now there’s a voicemail. 

I pick up the phone and listen to the message. “This is Attorney Carl Swanson, calling for Roger Sterling. Please call me back at 7853250595...I need to talk to you...I have something important to tell you. Thank you.”

I wonder what this can be about. Why am I getting a call from an attorney? Is someone suing me? I haven’t done anything wrong. There’s only one way to find out. I call the number.

After four rings I hear, “Hello?”

“Hello, this is Roger Sterling returning your 


“Roger, can you come down to my office? I have some good news for you.”

I need some good news. “Good news? What’s this about?”

“I prefer to tell you in person, not over the phone. Please come down to my office, at your earliest convenience. “

I’m a little suspicious. “Am I in trouble?”

“No, sir. I really do have some good news for you.”

I’m curious now. “I guess I could come in today. What time?”

“I’ll be in the office ’til noon. Then I have an appointment at 1:30. I don’t know how long that will take, so I may not be free again until 3 or 4.”

I look at the blank page on my computer...a clear sign of writer’s block. “I can come in this morning.”

“Good. I’ll be waiting for you.”

I hang up the phone, save the previous pages of my novel, and go shave.

Twenty-five minutes later I enter the law office of Carl Swanson, JD. A pleasant looking man with grey hair and horn rimmed glasses is sitting at the desk. “Let me call you back,” he says into the phone...someone just walked in.” He stands and greets me. “Good morning. May I help you?”

“I’m looking for Mr. Swanson.”

“That’s me.” 

“I’m Roger Sterling.”

Mr. Swanson shakes my hand. “I’m glad you could come in, on such short notice. “Follow me to my office...it’s more comfortable in there. Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes, thank you.” I can always drink a cup of coffee...even late at night.

“Help yourself, over there.” Mr Swanson points to a pot of coffee sitting near the window. I just made a fresh pot, ten minutes ago...there’s sugar and cream there, too. I hate that powdered, artificial stuff...I like real cream.”

I pour myself a cup of coffee and add some cream before following the gentleman into another room which is furnished with a mahogany desk a leather couch and leather chairs. There’s a print of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers on a wall. On the opposite wall is a photo on Churchill Downs.

“Sit down and make yourself comfortable.” Mr. Swanson sits down behind the desk and opens a manilla folder.

I sit down in the nearest chair, take a sip of coffee, and set the cup down on the coffee table. 

“Roger, I have here the will of Roger Abernathy.”

I look at the lawyer and wonder, Who is Roger Abernathy? I have never heard that name before.

“You look puzzled.”

“I am. Who is this Roger Abernathy?”

“He’s your uncle.”

I gulp on my coffee. “I have two uncles on my father’s side...Sam Sterling and Bill Sterling. My mother’s maiden name is Abernathy, but she only has two sisters...no brothers. How can I have an Uncle Abernathy?”

“Let me read parts of this will to you and maybe that will help...I’ll skip through the legal mumbo jumbo, if that’s okay with you.”

“That’s fine.”

Roger Abernathy is your mother’s older brother who was disowned by your grandfather when he was 18. 

“Why” I ask.

“He never told me. He did explain that he was close to your mother who was only ten when he was kicked out of the family. He believes your grandfather must have forbidden your mother to be in contact with him.”

This is unbelievable. I interrupt, “Did you know my uncle?”

“I met him once. It was shortly before your mother died. He came into my office and asked me to help him write this will.”

I stifle my emotions as I think about my mother dying, alone in that car accident. 

“Are you curious to know how much your uncle left you?”

“I guess.” I was still thinking about my mother. I take another sip of coffee. “Go ahead, I’m ready.”

“Your Uncle Roger has left you his entire estate, including his house in Scottsdale, his cabin in Colorado, his Mercedes, stocks, bonds, and other investments, as well as what is in his bank accounts. The appraised value of his estate is three and a half million dollars.”

Am I dreaming? Is this real? “Why is he giving me all this?”

“Although he was married, he had no children. His wife died five years ago. He knew your mother named you after him, the brother she loved but was not allowed to have contact with.”

Words cannot explain how I felt. Dumbfounded is the only word that comes to mind.

“There is one clause, a condition precedent, which you need to read.”

I knew it...there has to be a catch, it’s a joke...it’s not real...like that powdered creamer.

This letter, I believe explains the clause and stipulation. I have not read it, as it is addressed to you.” Then he looks at his watch and stands. “Roger, why don’t you take the letter with you, read it over, and call me if you have any questions.” 

I stand and he hands me an envelope with my name on it. “Thank you.”

When I get home I grab a cold beer from the refrigerator before I sit down to read the letter from my Uncle Roger.

Dear Roger,

Although we have not met, I have loved you since you were 

born. Your mother and I were best friends until the day

your grandfather disowned me. I know he threatened your

mother and forbade her to contact me. But, she did name you 

after me. I so wanted to be a part of your life, but I was not

allowed. Through the years I kept track of you and your

accomplishments, including your high school football years

and your chosen college, my alma mater. 

I want you to have all I have accumulated, but with one

stipulation. I want you to talk with your grandfather and ask

him why he disowned me. I want you to know why I was not

your favorite uncle and why I was not a part of your life.

Your Loving Uncle,


I have never felt very close to my grandfather, on my mother’s side. He has never spent much time with me, like my other grandfather. How can I ever approach him and ask him about my uncle, the child he disowned? 

I finish my beer, squeeze the can, and toss it into the wastepaper basket. It’s not the inheritance that has me thinking, although I certainly could use some money right now; but I want to know why my grandfather denied me a relationship with my uncle. I dread the thought of a confrontation with that self-righteous man. 


I have been vacillating over my dilemma for hours now and I have finally come to the conclusion that I have nothing to lose, even if I confront my grandfather and he disowns me. 

December 12, 2020 05:08

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Niveeidha Palani
21:46 Dec 23, 2020

This was all beautifully written and a pleasant plot. Overall nicely penned together and I loved the last line. :)


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Betty Craven
14:16 Dec 20, 2020

Well written and aligned with the prompt. Keep writing.


Elizabeth Rogge
15:31 Dec 20, 2020

Thank you.


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Nancy Tuttle
23:46 Dec 19, 2020

I like your style of writing.


Elizabeth Rogge
00:27 Dec 20, 2020

Thank you.


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Betty Crawford
21:13 Dec 19, 2020

You've got a knack for writing a good story.


Elizabeth Rogge
00:26 Dec 20, 2020

Thank you.


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Frances Flynn
20:13 Dec 19, 2020

Thanks for another good story. I love the pictures on the office walls. I wish I had a rich uncle. Cheers!.


Elizabeth Rogge
00:26 Dec 20, 2020

Thanks. I wish I had a rich uncle, too! I’m from Kansas...that’s why I chose the Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.


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