Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Will

Dad had opened the garage door for me so that I could come in through the door to the laundry room. This was his regular routine and I had long ago stopped asking him why he didn’t just let me use my key and come in through the front door. I walked past the space heater he had going in the garage to keep his plants warm during the winter. Another subject I no longer bothered to debate.

I found dad in the TV room sitting on the couch with his head down wringing his hands. I sat down next to him, put my hand on his shoulder, “What’s the problem, Dad?”

“I’m shaky,” he said in a high, squeaky voice.
“Why are you shaky?”
“I don’t have a will,” he croaked. “What’s going to happen when I die?”
This business of the will came out of left field, because he and mom had made out their wills long ago, and then updated them when they’d moved up here to be close to us.
“You have a will, dad,” I said, in what I hoped was a reassuring voice.
Dad glared at me and waved his index finger at me like I was a naughty boy. “No I don’t!” he shot back.
“Well, let’s just check,” I said. I went to the desk where my mom had organized all their important documents and quickly found the will.
Dad hardly looked at the will when I brought it over to him.
“Your mom was very organized,” he said.
“Did we leave any money to Joey’s kids?” Dad asked.
“Joey’s kids?”
“You know, the gambler, and the…”
“The alcoholic?” I finished the sentence for him. Joey, Dad’s long deceased second cousin from New York, had two children, Chuckie, a compulsive gambler, and Dominick, an unreformed alcoholic.
Dad looked at me. “Yeah,” he said, uncertainly.
“You think that’s a good idea, Dad; giving the gambler and the alcoholic money?”
Dad switched gears without blinking an eye.
“What about that guy, Corlini?”
“Yeah. He’s been nice to us.”
“Wasn’t he the guy that you gave the jewelry to on consignment?”
“Yeah, that’s the guy. Your mother liked him.”
“Dad, he disappeared with that jewelry.”
Dad squinted at me through smeary bifocals.
“Anyone else we should leave money to?”

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