photo of end signage

Getting Evan

28 days of Flash — 21 of 28 — Part 3

Read: Breaking Ben and Thea Beginning

When Evan looked at his phone, it was still showing “Do Not Disturb” and had five notifications silenced in the background. Two of them were sales texts, one was a missed phone call from his erstwhile trainer Drew, and two notices from his dad’s house: an open garage door sensor before midnight and a power outage.

He tried to pull up the cameras. It said “system unavailable.”

He looked at the garage door notification again. 11:58 PM. Evan had only gone to bed a half hour before. He tried to call. It went to voicemail.

Instead of “Hi, this is Ben. Leave a message,” he was greeted with “Hi Evan. If you’re looking for me, go track yourself. Ciao.” What followed was a system note saying the user’s mailbox was full.

Evan’s eyebrows knitted together. “Ciao?” he said as he opened the “Find My…” app on his phone to see his dad’s location. It showed he was still at the house.

Evan threw on gray sweats, slipped his black flip flops on, and pulled a sweatshirt over his head. He jogged to his car as he put his baseball cap on. No need to rush or panic. Another one of dad’s pranks, he thought.

He turned onto May Avenue and saw an unfamiliar car parked in dad’s driveway. It was deep red. Sporty. “One last car deal,” Evan said to no one. When he pulled into the driveway, however, his dad wasn’t sitting in the Tesla. His dad’s lawyer was.

Evan looked at the clock on the dash. It was just after seven AM. The garage door was still open and Stephen Miller, Esquire, was smiling and waving at him as he got out of the car.

“Good morning, Evan.”

“Morning, Stephen. I’m guessing you know what’s going on so how about you catch me up.”

Stephen pressed his lips together in what pretended to be a smile but showed an inherent smugness. “Evan, your dad has decided to leave.”

“And go where?”

“I’m not at liberty to share that information, and given what I know of your relationship, I wouldn’t even if I could.” Stephen had a large manila envelope in his hand that he held out to Evan. Evan held his hands up like he was at gun point.

“Give me a break,” Stephen said, suppressing a laugh. “I’m not serving you. I have people that do that.”

“Then what’s that about?”

“It’s the house. Your dad has signed it over to you.”

“He was doing that anyway, as part of his extended care plan.”

“Well, Evan, your dad considered his options and thought your plan sucked, to be precise. So he’s signed the house over to you to do with what you will.”

“What about everything else? His investment accounts?”

“Again, I’m not at liberty to discuss those personal matters.”

“These are very personal matters. He’s my father, Stephen.”

“And you’re frankly a jerk, Evan, who never cared to ask what your father wanted.”

“You don’t know our conversations,” Evan started.

“Oh, actually, yes. Yes, I do know your conversations. See, after the security cameras went in, your dad figured out how to record your Sunday brunch conversations and share them with me.”

“That’s illegal.”

“Au contraire, sir. In the state of Idaho, it’s legal if one party knows a conversation is being recorded. And it’s not being used in litigation. It’s content to show the validity of his decisions.” Stephen stopped and held out the envelope again. “It’s all in here, everything you’re entitled to.”

Evan clenched his jaw. “This is ridiculous.” He turned, storming into the garage. He saw the agreement with the assisted living facility on the impeccably neat work bench underneath his dad’s cell phone.

“You’ll find his car at the turnout for Castle Rock’s historical marker. He said you have a key.”

“Of course I have a key!” Evan shouted. “Because I’m the one who has taken care of everything for the last 4 years since mom died. Is that in your envelope?”

Stephen tipped his head to the side and gave that same smug smile. “What you’re entitled to is in this. If you don’t want it, I’ll be happy to tell my client you are declining your interest in his estate.”

“I am his estate! I’m his only heir. What the hell is he going to do? Leave it all to animal rescue organizations?”

Stephen smiled again, half nodding and but more shaking his head. He shrugged.

Evan ripped the envelope from Stephen’s hand and tore it open. Scanning the document, his eyes immediately landed on a bulleted list. The house on May Avenue, the 2018 Toyota, and an investment fund.

“This is maybe one tenth of his estate. Where’s the rest going?”

“It’s not my place to share that.”

“Fine, I’ll sue the estate.”

“Go ahead, but you should remember any legal action taken against the estate automatically disinherits you from it.”

Evan turned and charged into the house. “Dad! Where are you?” He walked over to the electrical panel and flipped all the breakers back on. The familiar hum and whir of cameras and appliances coming back up filled the house.

Stephen had walked in behind him, having collected Ben’s phone and the envelope left for Evan in the garage. He held the small envelope out to Evan. “Maybe this will explain some of what you’re trying to understand.”

Evan grabbed the envelope and tore it open. Without even taking the paper out, he knew what it was by its yellowing, rough texture, and combination of solid lines and dashed lines. Evan had written it when he was in kindergarten.

“What does it say?” Stephen asked.

Evan looked out the windows into the backyard.

“It says, ‘My dad is mean’ on every line.”


About Christine Wilcox Anderson

Writer, former corporate communications exec, and perpetual student of life on this rock.
%d bloggers like this: