Thad sat in the attorney’s office, proud of the way he’d handled his wife’s funeral. He had followed Bunny’s instruction to the letter. Still, his three stepchildren, all older than he, glared at him as if he were some kind of insect; but he was used to that. He knew in his heart that he had loved their mother and had made the last ten years of her life pure joy.
With his Scandinavian good looks and his Mr. Universe physique, the stepchildren thought he was simply a dumb jock; but Bunny and Thad had recognized immediately, the first time they made out in the shower, that they had exactly what each other needed. He was a steroid junkie with a shriveled dick and she was a nympho with a tiny vagina. They fit like a glove. Unlike the girls his own age, Bunny never laughed at him. He was grateful for every moment they had together. To prove it, he had gladly signed a prenuptial agreement; he would inherit only a small share of her estate. Not that there was much left.
Thad smiled to himself.
Bunny enjoyed spending every cent she had received from her late husband on him for cruises, fast cars, dog racing. She particularly loved to watch him work out in the nude. He now owned every piece of Nautilus equipment imaginable. Still, Bunny claimed that her estate would be worth about $30,000. Something to do with that book she wrote.
Bunny was a Pulitzer Prize winning author whose single book had won her critical acclaim and fame during the Great Depression, but little money. She had foolishly sold off all her rights to the publisher for a lump sum of $20, a large amount to a poor dirt farmer’s daughter. Only 500 copies were printed at first. Then it took off and made the publisher a fortune. Thad remembered it was required reading in high school; of course, he hadn’t read it, but he did love the movie. Where the money was coming from he had no idea, but if Bunny was right, his share would be enough to put down a security deposit on a health club he had his eye on.
The lawyer shuffled some paper, cleared his throat and said, “Thad, Mrs. Lions had the last known original copy of her book in her den, but when I made a search, it was gone.”
“Yes, sir,” said Thad. “Bunny was very clear that she wished to be buried with a copy of her book.”
The stepchildren gasped in unison and the attorney’s eyes went wide.
“Do you mean to say,” asked the attorney, “that you cremated Mrs. Lions with the last known first edition of her book?”
“Of course,” said Thad. “What’s the problem? If you’d like to read it, there’s a copy in every public library.”
Richard M. O’Donnell‘s works have appeared in Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Sniplits, North Coast Review, Bear Grrr, Binaryorganic, Mind Fair, Kaleidoscope, Heartlands, Many Voices, The Gamut, Diskazine, The Alchemist, Telescope, Intro and The Plum Creek Review. His short story collection, Rice Wine, was published on Disk 1983, and he has received two Ohio Arts Council grants. His has a MFA from BGSU. He is the co-founder of The Oberlin Writers Group where he is working on his novel, Flowers and Arrows. His online publication links can be accessed at www.wormsview.com in the Bio section.