Episode 192: August 10, 2021

by Andrew J. Lucas

I should have known better than to go to the reading of the will.  Twenty years hadn’t mellowed the old man – even in death he was a total bastard.  When that pencil necked lawyer trotted out the tablet with the e-will and that fancy wi-fi enabled pen I should have just turned around and walked right out.

The old man and I didn’t have much of a relationship when I was a kid.  Always engrossed in writing his next novel, with no time for a son.  The situation certainly didn’t improve when I left for the Marines.  Sure, it was the cyber corps and all three of my deployments were served in Tallahassee riding herd on drone swarms over Yemen.  Booyah!  Today’s army doesn’t need stereotypical soldiers, no sir.  No chiseled pecs on me.  The Corps wanted me for my brain, not my body, and that just didn’t sit well with the old man.  He figured I was wasting my time and my potential – bastard was so smug when I was cashiered.

Been about fifteen years since I’ve seen the old man, enough time to earn three stripes, settle down with a nice girl and have a couple of kids.  Of course, that was before the accident.  Blew out the part of my medulla oblongata that allowed a cyber-marine to control a flight of combat capable drones from a continent away.  I left with a small medical pension, muscle tremors and in debt up to the eyeballs.  The wife was working double shifts at the VA, and I fell into writing features for the local webpaper – must have inherited some of the old man’s talent.

Now I don’t miss the old man, not a bit. Only reason I’m here is to see if the old bastard left me anything.  Selfish?  Sure but anything to get this crippling debt off my back.

Turns out the old man was loaded, invested in some high tech neuro-net stock before the government nationalized all that stuff.  Good of the nation, national security and all that.  Anyways, he’d made out like a bandit, had a cool half billion according to the lawyer, and it was all mine for the taking.  A windfall like that would not only clear my debt but set me up to fulfill what I really wanted to have – the freedom to write.  I’ve had that bug since I was a teen, it was part of the reason we’d butted heads so much.  He was a national treasure, a living legend I could never live up to, though it didn’t stop me from trying.

Papers were pretty standard, the only stipulation was that I wouldn’t get any of the money unless I used his favorite pen for all my affairs, writing included.  Crazy old goat had lost it.  Still – half a billion dollars…  I took the pen and signed.

‘Are you sure you want to use the passive voice there, son?”  My father’s voice said from the pen.

Andrew J Lucas has contributed to dozens of anthologies and roleplaying game books over his decades of writing.
Copyright © 2021 Browncoat Enterprises, All rights reserved.

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