Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-eight - Mysterious (part six)
Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-nine - Building (part two)

Chapter Six Hundred and Thirty-nine - Building (part one)


(part one)

“It is perfectly legal,” the son said.

“So is this,” William said. “We’ll file by end of day today to take control of the buildings. Unless, of course, you have the money to pay off the loan?”

“You’ll give us a month?” the son asked.

Bernie looked at his lawyer.

“How long did they give their tenants?” Bernie asked.

“Twelve hours,” William said.

“I’ll give you twelve hours from the time we notified you about this meeting,” Bernie said.

“That would be. . .” William looked at his watch, “. . . ten minutes from now.”

The father’s head continued to shake back and forth. The son started spewing words. His flawless, unlined face made every effort to twist around the cruel, rage-filled word. It was odd to watch the plasticity of the skin, so smooth and blemish free, bend around the rage. Bernie and William watched in fascination.

After a few minutes, two security guards arrived at the office and dragged the shouting son and his shocked father out of the conference room.

Bernie and the son of his old lawyer, his current his lawyer, William, sat in silence for a moment.

“That was. . .” William said.

Bernie started laughing.

“Satisfying,” William said. “Yes, yes, it was most satisfying. You have balls of steel, old man.”

“As do you,” Bernie said.

William’s face was covered in a face mask but Bernie was pretty sure he was grinning.

“We become what we hate,” Bernie said, gesturing to the door. “The boy reminded me of the Nazis — then and now.”

“If I’m honest,” William said.

Bernie gave a slight nod.

“He terrified me,” William said. “You’ve seen this before?”

“During the war,” Bernie nodded. Rather than spend time talking about Nazi evil, he said, “Did you know that it was my granddaughter who found the trove of Jewish art?”

“In Poland?” William was either surprised or was polite enough to act surprised. “Salt mine?”

“My Seth helped get it,” Bernie said.

“O’Malley is an incredible man,” William said. “Why do you bring this up?”

“My granddaughter gave me something for you,” Bernie said.

William’s hand flew to his heart.

“You. . .” William started. Overcome, the man’s eyes welled with tears. “You. . .”

“Is your father here?” Bernie asked.

“I won’t let him come into the city,” William said. “It’s too dangerous for the elderly.”

Bernie gave a quick nod. He reached into the inside pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a tissue paper wrapped packet. He set it on the table and pushed it over to William.

William’s eyes held Bernie’s for a long moment before he looked down at what was in front of him. His fingers picked at the tissue until it began to unfold.

A shiny gold pocket watch the size of a quarter and two gleaming rings were nestled inside the tissue. He opened the ornate pocket watch cover to reveal a beautiful face. In an effort to control his emotions, William snapped the lid to the watch closed. Bernie pointed to a set of initials engraved in the watch. William’s thumb moved over the engraving as if he were caressing soft skin.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...


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