WHITHER THOU GOEST 7 - ADRIAN'S STORY PART 1
My name is Adrian Charles Kaufmann. I am sitting here in my motel room in a strange town, staring at a large brown envelope full of papers which my Dad’s attorney handed me this morning. I have also got a glass of my Dad’s favourite poison, a good Bourbon. I sure feel in need of that at this moment!
I’ve read this stuff over and over, and I still can’t get my head around it.
I got a letter from this attorney a few days back. I was hoping that this guy may have news of my Dad, as I hadn’t heard from him for a long while. Although he moved out of the family home and into a small apartment some years back when Caroline and I had our first child, he would come by to see us and the kids whenever possible, and although he was often away on business, even in older age, as he had been all my life, we would keep in touch by phone. So when I hadn’t heard from him for several weeks, and his cellphone just went straight through to Voicemail, I was worried. I went to the Police Department and reported him as a missing person; but hell, you know what it’s like; he wasn’t a kid, and though elderly, not a vulnerable adult, and what with his habit of travelling around a lot, they were not interested. Now it’s been almost a year. It’s a long time to be without news, even for him. Must be real big business this time.
The letter read:
Dear Mr Kaufmann,
I respectfully request that you ring this office on the above number and make an appointment as soon as possible. I have a communication from your Father which I have been instructed only to hand over in person. I look forward to meeting with you.
John M. Donnelly, Attorney at law.
Of course I rang at once, and today I made the four hour journey to Cincinnati, Ohio. I headed straight for the address he had given.
John Donnelly, a tall, good-looking man a little younger than my Dad, greeted me with a firm handshake and insisted on having his secretary bring me a cup of coffee before getting down to business.
I soon found out why.
His first task was to inform me that my Dad had passed away a year ago. This was a terrible shock. I was so upset; but also, boy, was I angry! ‘Why’ I shouted, ‘Why the hell did it take you so long to let me know?’
‘I realise what terrible news this is for you; but I am merely following instructions passed on to me by an attorney in Philadelphia. I believe he followed all the instructions left him by your Father as soon as he was informed of the death’
‘So where did he die? And what was the cause of death?’
‘You will find a Death Certificate in a separate envelope clipped to the package’.
‘Surely the funeral couldn’t be done without informing me, as next of kin? Surely my family and I had a right to say a proper goodbye to the old man?’
‘As I have said, I believe everything was done in accordance with the instructions he left. I’m sorry for your loss, but I don’t know much more than that; even if I did, client confidentiality would prevent me from disclosing any more information. I suggest you take this package away with you, and read it carefully. I have no knowledge of what it contains, your Father lodged this with me two years ago, when he first knew he was sick, with orders to hand it to no-one but yourself one year after his passing. I believe the contents should explain all. You can of course ask me any questions after you have read it, and I will answer where I can. If you would like to open it now, I can provide a private room for you; or if you would like to maybe rest up and take your time over it, there is a good motel just down the street – you may find you want to stay around a while’.
My head reeling, I took his advice and booked in to this motel. I had packed a small overnight bag in case I stayed over, and after a shower and change of clothes, I couldn’t put the moment off any longer. I sat at the dresser and opened the smaller envelope. I read the Death Certificate – it made no sense. What had he been doing in Philadelphia? His mysterious ‘Business’ no doubt. And who was this Ruth-Anne Thomas who had reported the death? I put that to one side and opened the larger envelope. A passbook for a Swiss Bank account slid out.
It was in my name – and contained over one million dollars. I had never seen that many zeros on the same page as my own name!
I gulped my Bourbon, poured another and reached for the rest of the package.