It wasn’t until a few months later that I discovered the truth about the farm that Steve lived on. We were having dinner at the local steakhouse, when I decided to ask Steve about his unique living situation. In between bites of my medium-rare steak, I asked,
“You know, when you first came into my office and told me the reason you wanted to fast- track your will, I was very intrigued as to what your situation was. Now that we know each other better, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind elaborating on your problem?”
Although he had been expecting this question to come up, Steve was still debating as to whether or not to tell Bob about his problem. After all, he could very well write him off as a nutcase.
“You know, Bob, I've been trying to decide if I should tell you what’s going on. I know that we've become good friends and I do trust you a great deal, but I’m not sure if you’re ready to hear the whole story.”
I set my wine glass down and said,” You’re right, Steve, we're friends and because we are friends I want you to now that I'm here to help you; not just legally, but as your friend. I would like to be able to help you, but if you feel uncomfortable telling me, I’ll understand.”
“Thanks, Bob. That means a lot coming from you. I’m just afraid that if I tell you, you’ll think I’m crazy. Give a minute to think about this, would you?”
“Hey, no rush. Take your time.”
I took the opportunity to grab a French fry and another bite of steak. Boy, they really do a great job on these steaks at this restaurant. They're so tender, you really don’t need a knife to cut them, and the French fries are just fantastic. I remembered the first time that Steve and I came to this restaurant and he ordered his steak with fries, instead of a baked potato. I had a great time kidding him about it. Now, as I look over at Steve's plate, there are French fries, instead of his beloved baker.
After a few minutes, Steve had come to a decision to tell me the whole story. So, over the next hour, Steve went step-by-step through the entire situation. I listened with rapt attention and my steak, what was left of it, seemed almost forgotten. As he continued, a thousand questions seemed to flood into my mind and it was all I could do to not interrupt.
When Steve was finally finished, all I could say was, “You’re kidding, right?”
Steve replied, “I wish I was, buddy, but it is just as I have told you and I am at a loss as to what to do next.”
“Well, I can think of one thing…leave!”
Chuckling, Steve just looked at me and said,” it’s just not that easy; I can’t just walk away from this. That farm has been in our family for over 400 years and I can’t just pick-up and leave. Surely you can understand that?”
Reluctantly, I agreed, “Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from, but we’re not talking about having some mouse infestation; what you’re telling me here is just unbelievable. Isn’t there anything that you can do?”
Taking a sip of his wine, Steve just shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “Actually, Bob, I do have an idea, but I’m going to need some help to pull it off. Interested?”
Yeah, that’s when the real adventure began and now it looks like it’s going to start all over again, except this time with someone who knows nothing about what to expect. This time, an innocent will be swept-up in the madness.
While continuing to watch the sailboats drifting along in the bay, Bob said, “Well, what’s done is done and I need to get I touch with his nephew.”
Bob turned around and looked at Paul with a determined look, “and I WILL warn the boy.”
Paul looked shocked, “Whoa, wait a minute there, Bob. Why do you want to do a stupid thing like that? He’s just going to think your nuts. Besides, he’s in college, right? There's no way he'll want to pull-up stakes and live there. What’s he going to want with an old farm, anyway?”
“Look Paul,” Bob insisted, “I don’t care what he thinks of me, but I will not have his welfare on my conscience. Yeah, he'll most likely sell the place and that will be that, but what if he doesn’t? I still have the responsibility to tell him.”
Bob walked over to the bar and poured himself a stiff drink. Well, rank does have its privileges. Swirling the drink around in the glass he turned back and looked Paul in the eyes, “I don’t care what he thinks, all I know is that I want to be able to sleep at night. Let’s go ahead and write the contact letter. The sooner we get this over with, the better.”
To be continued...
The Farm House: Chapter-2A
Copyright © 2010 by Tim A Hicks. All Rights Reserved
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Read from the first installment here... The Farm House Chapter: 1A