MASON BINKLEY – “An Unlikely Inheritance”

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In the charming country home of the recently-deceased Ms. Georgina Abernathy, Bob sat in the corner of the living room and licked himself. The court-appointed executor who had been reading Ms. Abernathy’s will to her twin nieces, Lana and Luna, momentarily lost his ability to speak.
“This is a joke, right?” Lana asked. “Because if it’s not, I might lose my shit.”
The executor shook his head and shrugged. He opened his mouth, apparently to say something, but closed it again. The pendulum of the grandfather clock in the living room swung back and forth as they all stared at each other. Bob’s breathing grew heavier, with saliva thickening on his lips.
“What’s Bob going to do with that much cash?” Lana asked, her fingers trembling.
“What’s he going to do with any cash?” Luna asked, her fingers also trembling.
“Do you really want to know right now how the money will be spent on him?” the executor asked.
“Yes,” Lana and Luna said together.
“Okay, but please don’t shoot the messenger.”
Lana and Luna listened to every word, every detail of their aunt’s plan to spend all of her remaining assets on Bob, a golden retriever. According to the will, he’d live the rest of his days on a lavish pet farm where he’d receive cooked meals, daily walks and belly rubs, and his own room complete with a king-size bed, a fireplace, toys, and bones of various shapes, sizes, and flavors. He’d also take vacations.
Lana and Luna took a few minutes to process in silence what the executor just told them. Meanwhile, a string of drool dangled from Bob’s lips and swung to and fro, mimicking the motion of the pendulum and the tick-tock rhythm of the grandfather clock.
“So what would happen to any leftover money not spent on Bob?” Lana finally asked, her voice cracking.
“Would we get it?” Luna asked, her voice also cracking.
“Unfortunately, no,” the executor said. “Any money not spent on Bob would be gifted to the Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.”
Lana and Luna turned toward each other. “Did she secretly hate us?” Lana asked. “I don’t know what to think,” Luna said. “After everything we did for her,” Lana said.
“Will you give us a few minutes alone?” Luna asked the executor.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Do you mind if I make myself a sandwich? I’m starving.”
“Seriously?” Lana asked.
“No, it’s fine,” Luna said.“Knock yourself out.”
“Thanks.” The executor picked up his briefcase and hurried down the hall toward the kitchen.
Lana and Luna stood in the living room and stared at the floating fish carcasses in the neglected fish tank. The water was cloudy and algae had tinged the glass green.
“Life is a parade of absurdities,” Lana said.
“It’s preferable to that,” Luna said, pointing at the bloated carcasses.
“It depends,” Lana said.
They faced Bob. He was staring at them with his tongue dangling out and his tail whipping back and forth. He spun several circles.
“What about him?” Luna asked.
“What about him?” Lana asked.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for that damn dog,” Luna said.
Bob could hardly contain himself as they hurried outside. His thunderous barks ripped through the air. When they sped off, the executor ran out of the front door and chased them down the driveway.
They entered the interstate and raced toward the horizon. Bob put his head out of the window and the wind peeled back his lips, forming a delirious smile.
“We’ll love you,” Lana said, rubbing his ears. “And it won’t cost a thing.”

 

Mason Binkley lives with his wife and identical twin boys in Tampa, Florida, and works as an attorney. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Jellyfish Review, Maudlin House, Ellipsis Zine, and other places. His twitter home is @Mason_Binkley

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