Molly and the Geezer
and the Death of Grandma Claire
A joyful look at the highest of human values: greed, double-crossing, poor parenting, love, spite, and come-uppance!!
Copyright 2012 Michael Spooner
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but do not copy the text, print, or re-post it on any other
site, personal or public.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters herein
to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.
“Jackie? Hello, dear. This is Georgia Haugen.”
It is 6:55 a.m., and Aunt Georgia is calling Jackie Taylor, Notary Public. Aunt Georgia is about to show once again why they love her in Laketown.
“I know it’s just criminally early to call, but Mother has been asking for you. . . . She has. . . . Oh, Jackie, you’re far too kind. . . . You did? That’s marvelous. Why, just for saying that, I’ll send you a pair of tickets to our new show. Oh, no, I absolutely insist, dear. We’re doing Brigadoon, and you will simply die when you see it. It’s a fabulous production. Just fabulous. There’s no other word for it.”
Molly is at the counter wolfing down a bowl of frosted choco-sugar bombs with milk. After faking Grandma Claire’s voice for Nurse Joanne, Molly is suddenly starving for milk and sugar.
“Yes, Mother is doing fine, darling. Thank you so much for asking. Well, I say fine, but you know the circumstances over here. We all know—and that includes Mother. . . . Yes, and she’s been a trooper. Just a trooper, Jackie.” Aunt Georgia allows herself a quiet sob.
A shadow falls across Molly’s bowl of cereal, and Aunt Sonia appears at her elbow like the ghost of breakfast past.
“Since your little performance for Joanne,” Aunt Sonia murmurs, “I finally put it all together.”
“What’s that?” asks Molly cautiously.
“That phone call last year. Those checks in the credit card statement. The fact that Claire remembered nothing about it.” Aunt Sonia’s cigarette breath moves over Molly like a toxic cloud.
“Well, actually, there is one thing you could do, dear,” says Georgia. “You’ve been a dear friend to her, Jackie, and you know she is so grateful for all you’ve done.”
Molly slurps the last of the milk and sets her bowl down slowly. The counter is dusted with powdered sugar. She speaks in a voice quite a bit louder than necessary. “What checks, Aunt Sonia?”
“Shut up!” Aunt Sonia whispers ferociously. “The checks, Troll, that have me in debt to the tune of fifty thousand dollars!” Sonia’s knuckles are white where she grips the counter. “Believe me, I will have my revenge. And I will have it just as soon as this is over, my little mocha scam artist, when you and I get home.” Behind her yellow teeth, Aunt Sonia smiles and nods her head slowly.
“Exactly,” croons Georgia, “the will. Well, who really knows? But I think she only wants to adjust it. . . . I know, Jackie, and we’ve all told her just to let it go. I mean what can it matter at this point? What difference could it possibly make? But, well, you know Claire.” Aunt Georgia chuckles melodically.
Molly swirls her finger in the sugar dust, without looking up at Aunt Sonia. “I think you must have me mixed up with someone else,” Molly whispers.
“You know, I’m really not sure, Jackie,” says Georgia. “She keeps talking about St. Ignatius. We all told her ‘Mother, it’s perfectly fine. The orphans surely need the money more than we do.’ But she’s adamant, Jackie. Just adamant.”
Molly continues to dab at the sugar. “Because I’ve never heard three words about your debts, Aunt Sonia.”
“Don’t,” growls Aunt Sonia. “Play games. With me. You will soon pay my debts, you little Dot-Indian, and you will pay them with your inheritance.”
“Well,” says Molly innocently, “maybe I have heard three words.” She presses her finger between her black eyebrows, leaving a white dot of sugar against her warm brown skin, and she looks Aunt Sonia in the eye as she counts on her fingers. “Ricardo. Costa. Rica.”