Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WOTD 3-30-11 (September 1997, Duke)

lucre \LOO-kuhr\, noun:
Monetary gain; profit; riches; money; -- often in a bad sense.

September 1997

Duke was screening his phone calls, but for the first time in years it wasn’t to avoid his mother. Hers was actually the one phone call he needed to answer. The five times he’d called her, he’d gotten the answering machine. He’d contemplated leaving a message but hadn’t been sure of the proper etiquette. How did you inform someone that her ex-husband, the man she verbally abused at every opportunity and accused of ruining lives, was dead? He’d had three days to figure it out, but still had nothing.

The house phone rang. Duke remained slumped in the chair. He’d let the machine get it. He was close enough that if it was his mother he could jump up to catch it before she hung up.

“Toby, this is Davey Harris from Fort Worth. Sad, sad news about your father. We’ll be in for the funeral, son. If you need anything don’t hesitate to ask. This is a terrible loss for all of us.”

Duke snorted. He tilted his beer bottle back to drain the last few drops of amber liquid. He’d only met Davey Harris once; his father had hated the slimy bastard. There was nothing he needed from Davey Harris.

“Anyway, son, I was hoping to get a chance to talk you afterwards about a few things. Your father and I had talked about this piece of land he owns outside of McKinney. It’s a small patch, really, but…”

Duke threw his bottle at the answering machine. It slid off the counter and crashed to the floor. Davey Harris’ voice cut-off mid-sentence.

Disgusted with the bottomfeeders who’d come crawling out of the woodwork in search of the lucre that followed a sudden death. He’d had dozens of calls like Harris’. People who wanted his father’s truck, his weapons, and even an offer to buy the house. It made him sick.

The phone rang while he was rooting around in the fridge for another beer. He slammed the door shut with his foot and grabbed the cordless phone. A Florida phone number appeared on the display. His stomach sank. Showtime.

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