“I hate that thing.” Wendy’s vehemence seemed disproportionate given our current state of affairs. It was this horrid figurine’s influence in my father’s life which led to our, perhaps undeserved, opulence.
Her appraiser’s eye valued everything in her line of sight and it met with her approval. Her sneer at the place of honor for the strange statuette and pen marred her otherwise beautiful countenance.
“We can move it into the basement. You’ll never have to see it. Or perhaps I can move it into the study where I’ll be working now.” My father was a writer. A Pulitzer prize-winning, best-selling novelist.
A writer so good at the end of his life, people wondered where his talent had been in the earlier half of his career, where he published bomb after enthusiastic bomb. My father was irrepressible. His zeal for writing was only matched for his inadequacy for the craft.
Until his trip to Fiji ten years ago. Then he was a man on fire. Getting rid of his computer, he started writing by hand with an ornate fountain pen. It took him longer than he did with his laptop but each word sizzled with a new manic energy.
The subject of my wife’s ire sat in his office while he wrote, wrapped in a silent communion, the two of them made literary magic. His first post-Fiji book won him a Pulitzer. He would write one successful book a year for the next decade, each selling more copies than the last.
He did this, almost ten years to the day my mother died in a car accident. Like my father, I appeared to have no aptitude for writing but maintained an overwhelming compulsion just the same.
My wife hated my work. Until my father left us his estate, I insisted we live within our means in our tiny hole-in-the-wall, letting hunger drive my work; to no avail, I might add. I was just a hungry hack with a half a dozen books I couldn’t give away.
Wendy was too happy to marry me once she learned my father left me his estate. She had been reticent when I was poverty-stricken, but I thought she would relent once my work got the recognition it deserved. My father dying and leaving me millions seemed to be the impetus she needed. My father was an honest, detailed-oriented man. Nothing was left to chance.
I was the sole heir with one proviso: I had three letters given to me by the executor.
“Your father was specific. You are to read this letter first. Then you must pick one or the other of these. You cannot choose both. Whichever one you choose, I am to destroy the other unread.” The attorney’s face was impassive, but the steely glint in his eye, assured me he was serious. We agreed to meet in a week’s time at the house.
“I’m going to go upstairs and take a long hot shower, while you handle the paperwork.” Wendy gave me a quick kiss and disappeared up the staircase. The attorney walked past me carrying the statuette. Sitting the icon on the desk, he hands me the first letter.
“My son, this will likely be a shock but I am asking you to trust my words though they are from almost ten years before today.” Confused, I checked the date on the letter. It was dated March 23, 2004, a year and a day after my mother died. “You are now faced with the same dilemma I was. To write, or to be happy.”
The attorney pushes two letters toward me. One says on the envelope: “Write” the other “Be Happy”. He gives me an empty smile demanding I make a choice. I look back at the letter. It’s final words were: “I trust you will make a better decision than I did.”
There never was any other choice. I take the envelope marked “Write.”
Ripping it open, a press release written in my father’s hand, dated next year prophesied my writing success while mentioning my wife’s tragic death.
My wife’s scream was cut mercifully short as she fell in the shower.
The executor threw the other letter into the fireplace. “I’ll see that you are not disturbed…”
Legacy © Thaddeus Howze 2015, All Rights Reserved
Thaddeus Howze is a California-based technologist and author who has worked with computer technology since the 1980's doing graphic design, computer science, programming, network administration and IT leadership.
His non-fiction work has appeared in numerous magazines: Black Enterprise, the Good Men Project, Examiner.com, and Astronaut.com. He maintains a diverse collection of non-fiction at his blog, A Matter of Scale. He is a contributor at The Enemy, a nonfiction literary publication out of Los Angeles.
He is a contributor to the Scifi.Stackexchange.com with over a thousand articles in a three year period. He is now an author and contributor at Scifiideas.com. His science fiction and fantasy has appeared in blogs such as Medium.com, the Magill Review, ScifiIdeas.com, and the Au Courant Press Journal. He has a wide collection of his work on his website, Hub City Blues. His recently published works can be found here. He also maintains a wide collection of his writing and editing work on Medium.com.
His speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies: Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short (2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (2012), and Possibilities (2012).
He has written two books: a collection called Hayward’s Reach (2011) and an e-book novella called Broken Glass (2013). In 2015 he will be releasing Visiting Hours and A Millennium of Madness, two collections of short stories.
If you have enjoyed this publication or any of the other writing he does, consider becoming a Patron. For what you spend on one cup of coffee per month, you can assist him in creating new stories, new graphics, new articles and new novels. Creating the new takes a little support: http://patreon.com/ebonstorm.