“It’s our money,” the sister says.
“You’re right off course,” the brother says, “But….”
“Do we have to cut Gus out entirely?”
“His life’s been a complete waste,” the sister says, brushing crumbs off the table. “Why should he get part of Mom’s estate?”
“He is our brother.”
“Nonsense,” the sister says. “Mom didn’t want him to get anything.”
“Mom had Alzheimer’s,” the brother says.” How do we know what she wanted?”
“Trust me on this.”
The brother looks uneasily at the floor. From my perch near the hostess stand I can see he’s conflicted.
“Besides,” the sister says, “You could use his share.”
“The girls’ tuition’s killing me,” the brother acknowledges quietly.
“See, you can put your kids through college and still have some left over.”
“The lawyer said it could be done?” the brother asks.
The brother still looks at the floor. The sister glares at him.
“You can’t have any second thoughts about this,” she says.
“He visited Mom.”
“Doesn’t matter. He was never good with money. We’re doing him a favor.”
The brother sighs.
“Ok, let’s do it.”
Wow, he got over that conflict quickly.
“Good,” the sister says, savoring her triumph. “Now let’s go to the house before Gus can take anything.”
Their mother’s body isn’t even cold.
The brother signals for the check. I take his credit card, run it, and return with the receipt.
“Have a nice day,” I say automatically, my face betraying nothing.
The sister smiles weakly. The brother mumbles a half assed thank you.
A while back a friend of mine lost both his parents to cancer in a single year. His sister delusionally thought she should inherit everything. He disagreed. It got ugly; court battles, family ties ruined, and a lot of pain. But what always got me about the situation? The sister was already wealthy.
I guess some people can never have enough.
After the siblings leave I open the checkbook. The tip sucks. Gee, I’m not surprised.
As I watch them walk away the sister holds her head high, treading the world beneath her feet. The brother, however, walks slightly stooped, as if getting accustomed to the new found weight of his damnation.
I shake my head. I have no idea who “Gus” is or what he may or may not deserve. But I feel sorry for him.
No one should have siblings like that.