You don't expect to inherit an 87 year old man, but, tragedy struck and it happened to me. I don't mean that inheriting the old guy was tragic. I'm not a total asshole, right?
My point is I didn't know the guy and enough people died, which was the tragedy I referred to. Okay? Are you happy now? I am not because I have this old guy. The lawyer tried to explain how he is related to me, but, you know, my eyes totally glazed. Forget it. Who cares?
I leaned over to the lawyer... I didn't want the old dude to hear me. I whispered, "Can we talk privately?"
"What are you boys saying? Speak up! I say! It's rude to whisper in company, you know."
The lawyer took a deep breath and adjusted his tie. "Mr. Maverick, could you please give us a moment?" he asked the old guy.
"Certainly not. This concerns me as I understand it."
The lawyer sighed. "Please. Mr. Maverick. Trust me. I am your lawyer. Just five minutes?"
The old man frowned. He seemed about to say something and then he relented. The lawyer gestured to his assistant to wheel Mr. Maverick out, but Maverick wasn't having it. When he felt himself being pushed, he turned. "What? Unhand me, woman!" The assistant, who was a young man in his early twenties, looked taken aback and let go.
Maverick wheeled himself out of the large office room. His wheelchair was squeaky and his progress, with his weak, arthritic arms, was painfully slow, but no one dared offer to help, and he seemed intent, showing no sign of tiring or effort. Simply slow.
Once Maverick left the office, the lawyer looked at me and said, "Don't be a dolt, William."
I was surprised. "First, you tell me that I inherit some old guy and then--"
The lawyer rolled his eyes at me. "Cry me a river. I wish I was you." However, he wouldn't have said that if -- but I am getting ahead of myself...
He explained that Maverick was wealthy, but that he was also incompetent. "In a legal sense." He apparently has a living will that allows, in the event that he becomes incompetent, for a relative to take over his affairs. That relative, if certain stipulations are met, stands to inherit his estate.
"That sounds like a great deal," I said.
"Well, one small issue," the lawyer said. "You didn't ask in what way he is incompetent."
"It doesn't matter. I will just put him in a home and go to the nearest beach and--"
"You can't put him in a home. That is one of the stipulations."
"Oh," I said. This might not be as exciting as I had hoped. Nonetheless. "What's wrong with Maverick, anyhow?"
The lawyer shifted uncomfortably. "He doesn't like people."
"We will get along then. I am not too fond of the human race myself."
The lawyer laughed despite himself. "No. It's not like that, I'm afraid. You have to watch him. Limit access to sharp objects, poisons, weapons of course. It's much easier what with his being in the wheelchair."
I was not sure I understood. "He is homicidal? He tries to kill people?"
The lawyer wrung his hands. I had never literally seen someone do that. "Yes, but look on the bright side."
"The bright side?" I was incredulous.
"Of course. He doesn't kill animals. He only kills people he dislikes or is angry with. Oh, and he rarely sets fires anymore. Not since the last negotiation with his insurance carrier. It was a real hassle."
"I have a weird question."
The lawyer seemed eager. "Anything."
"Why would I take on this inheritance of a homicidal relative? Even if I stand to inherit a lot of money after, it seems like, at best, I would be living dangerously. At worst, I would be the gatekeeper, guarding a community from a dangerous criminal."
The lawyer laughed. "Ain't you dramatic. Would it help if I told you the old guy is worth at least $100 billion."
I sat in stunned silence. So many thoughts were swirling through my mind: 1. So this is why Maverick was literally getting away with murder. 2. $100 billion. Hell, I couldn't even wrap my head around one billion. One billion, not considering interest or taxes, would be one million per year for one thousand years. That is a fuckload of money! Multiply by 100.
I was still trying to understand this number when Old Maverick burst back in.
"So, what the hell is the verdict? Is this ugly son of a bitch gonna be my babysitter or what?"
"Be nice," the lawyer said. Apparently, this idea that Maverick be legally incompetent and yet not have to go to an institution was a compromise to keep the Mav out of jail.
As the limo pulled up to Maverick's mansion, with the old man sitting next to me stinking of gin and grinning like a Cheshire cat, I had the sense that I had made terrible mistake. This was one inheritance I would soon regret taking on.