The Book of Aric
by Doc Sawzall
Blood Money Late
We stopped at my parents' house on the way to the bank; we could park the car and walk down the common to the bank. We needed to pick up my brother and sister. Axel and Trind were waiting in the living room ready to go. Earl and Marge were with us and we made small talk for a few moments. Marge wanted my siblings to know the door was always open at the farm and they were welcome anytime. Trind seemed to be hanging on to Marge as we walked to the bank. I know she missed our mother very much. Axel on the other hand was an emotionless soul. I know he felt the events around him but just didn't know how to get out of his own way at times. He was a math geek and really good, it was why I went out of my way at Christmas to go to the rare bookstore. When I gave him the old book on math, don't ask…I had no idea what it was about, he genuinely smiled and appreciated the thought. He was the first born and I think my parents' philosophy was too deeply ingrained. I also knew he was straight; he just needed to find the right girl and get laid.
When we got to the bank we were ushered into a large conference room. Ernest had all of my parents' financial records spread out in front of him. He started off by telling us most of what we needed to discuss was cut and dried. My parents had left a will giving each of us a third of their estate less our college expenses. The house was paid for thanks to an earlier bequest from our Grandfather. Grandpa Peterson had saved and invested wisely since coming to the country as a twenty-something in 1917. They had bought and paid for all of their children's houses provided that they get married promptly after graduating college.
Mom and Dad had life insurance policies. They were recruited from a private college and had signed a three-year contract. Their compensation package included additional insurance and there was the lawsuit that would take place as a result of the accident.
While both Axel and Trind were over the age of eighteen, and thus considered adults, I would need a legal guardian. If my siblings had no objections, Marge and Earl had applied. I was floored when Axel and Trind agreed and said they loved me. That they had seen me change as I had grown. They had discussed those changes with my parents when they talked, and all agreed that it would be foolish even to attempt to change my sexual orientation.
With that settled and the paperwork signed, our parents' finances were discussed in some detail:
- Mom and Dad's compensation package paid them twenty-five thousand each per year.
- Their compensation package carried separate life insurance of one year's salary.
- They were owed a year and six weeks at the time of their deaths.
- The house was valued at twenty-three thousand.
- They each had a personal life insurance policy of fifty thousand.
- Their combined net worth was $238,360.00.
- There would be taxes on the sale of the house, but they should be minimal.
Their wills called for our education to be paid out of the amount before dividing the estate. I asked that my brother's Master's program, and Doctorate, if he decided, be deducted as well, along with funds set aside for my sister's wedding when she chose to be married and any further education if she so decided. Everyone agreed and we left it to Ezekiel and Ernest to settle. Ernest would open separate accounts for us in the bank. While some of the proceeds would be kept liquid, the rest would be invested conservatively in low-risk blue-chip funds. If we managed this wisely, we were told, we should be able to buy our own homes and provide for our children's college education.
The matter of the accident came up next. There would be two lawsuits. The driver of the pickup was driving a company vehicle and had owned the company. He had been at a local bar all afternoon and wasn't fit to drive. The reports from the accident scene indicated that there were no skid marks; tests would confirm he was traveling at a high rate of speed; and his headlights were off.
The lawsuits would be twofold: there would be a suit brought for the loss of our parents and a separate suit for the pain and suffering I endured. That suit would also cover the disfigurement I suffered.
Ezekiel wanted to show the documentation he would use in court for the suit, as he didn't want the insurance company think we would settle. The insurance company for the owner of the pickup truck was ready to settle both suits quickly. He was in agreement for settling the first as the counter offer was accepted, it was for three hundred seventy-five thousand dollars.
The second lawsuit would be won easily; Ezekiel felt strongly about this. He confirmed his thoughts by seeking outside counsel and having them render a supporting opinion. While it would have no legal standing, it would support his feelings as to how to proceed.
He asked Axel and Trind to stay and review the documentation from the accident as it related to me. If they felt differently after reviewing those materials, then he would proceed differently. The reports came out; they were dry and statistical. My brother let out a gasp and started to shake. Axel wanted everyone to know based on the distance our parents' car was tossed and factoring in the absence of skid marks, that pickup had to be traveling, when factoring in the weight of both cars, over ninety miles an hour. He concluded by saying it was a rough calculation done quickly in his head, but given a day and more accurate measurements and weights he could confirm his calculation within five to ten miles per hour either way. Ezekiel told Axel he'd be calling some experts to confirm his calculations as soon as he had them. He would give him copies of the reports. Everything else was publicly available.
Looking at all of us, he asked me if I minded him showing the photographs of the accident scene and of my condition. I was already numb as I considered Axel's observations, so I figured it would be best to have it all out. It would come out in court anyway.
The first set of pictures was of the two cars. Thankfully, our parents' bodies had been removed along with that of the driver of the pickup truck. The second pictures were of me lying in the road all battered and bloody. The third set of pictures, were of me in the hospital just after they cut my clothing off. The fourth set were pictures of the injuries my body had sustained: the scalp laceration, the abrasions and bruised ribs, the incision made to take my spleen out and of my spleen, and the laceration that started near my rib cage and ended on my upper thigh. There were pictures of my penis sliced open. And, there were pictures of my penis with stitches and then after the stitches were removed, the scaring clearly visible. I think it was the pictures of my left testicle that made Axel and Earl nearly throw up. Marge just smothered me in a bear hug and Ethan and Trind were comatose, slack-jawed and wide-eyed. Me, I was simply numb and starting to lose it, I felt faint and disorientated; I reminded myself I needed to hang on for just a few more minutes. I needed to be strong.
Ezekiel had one last item after everybody regained their composure: the damage to my testicle might make it difficult to have children. My sperm count would have to be checked and if it was diminished, that would be included in the lawsuit. Based on the scarring to my penis and damaged testicle he would be filing separately for pain, suffering, and disfigurement. He felt if he could get in front of a jury it would be all over. Hopefully, the insurance company would meet his demands quickly. If the reports on my sperm count came back where he suspected, he thought it could be settled for seven hundred-fifty-thousand dollars after indicating he would ask at trial for one and a half million.
Ezekiel and Ernest asked Axel and Trind if they had any objections, for that matter, if anyone had objections and no one had any. They also told us that there would be no expenses for their services, this was family after all.
It hit me then, it hit me hard, and then it really hit me hard. All of the feelings I couldn't feel before came flooding out. I missed my parents' so much, I wanted none of this if it would just go away. I lost control and have no idea for how long. When I came to my senses, Axel and Trind were holding me in their arms.
As we walked out of the bank that afternoon, I asked Ethan if he minded stopping at the Good Doctor's office; while I wasn't in the mood we had best give him the sample he needed. Marge told Axel and Trind to come up to the farm today and to pack an overnight bag. She and Earl would see they got back to school the next morning.
When we got to the Good Doctor's office he showed me to a private room and I had to explain to the Good Doctor, in confidence of course, that Ethan and I were an item. He would need to know anyway if he were going to keep a baseline on my health. He winked and told me the sample had to be clean and not to contaminate it, we would have to limit ourselves to our hands only and only after we cleaned them. Ethan had me drop trousers and I asked him to do what I asked last night, take me from soft to hard and back again, he laughed and pointed at Old Spot. I was already hard. Now that concerned me. I could understand the first two times getting erect and not feeling it but now that it had happened a third time. I did however, feel everything else that we did to produce the sample and promised Ethan I'd return the favor later tonight.
I gave the Good Doctor the specimen and asked for a moment of his time. I explained my last three erections, not the details of what I was doing, that I had no idea I was hard before I was going to make myself hard. It was confusing I know. The Good Doctor made a few notes in my chart, told me not to worry if there was no other loss of sensation, he'd be back to me in a day or so. He mentioned more than likely it was a reaction to the several prescriptions I had been given.
The next three weeks flew by, I had buried myself in course work and Ethan had been well enough for some time, to work around the farm and he moved around as if nothing had happened to him. Like me, our scars would always be a physical memory but our bodies and souls were mending. I felt blessed every day to go to school in the morning and then return home after school to the man I love. He had taken the brunt of Earl's workload, letting him rest and recover from his health issues, and Marge was delighted to hear us all clanging and banging around the house. Sam needed to work a bit harder to get his grades up to where we all knew they should be. To his credit, self-enforced weekends of studying at home saw a dramatic improvement in his marks and his self-imposed exile was coming to an end.
We planned on celebrating Memorial Day weekend, Bobby would come up to join Eddy and we were all looking forward to it. Ethan and I continued to surprise each other. Old Spot returned to normal. They thought I had a reaction to the medicine that kept me flaccid while I was healing. The tests showed a diminished sperm count, but I wasn't planning on begetting children anytime soon. The lawsuits were settled quickly. My brother's observations were spot-on, confirmed by our expert witnesses. Their witnesses couldn't refute the evidence. Mine never made it past the initial stages, the photos were damning. The insurance company was so terrified of the jury exceeding what we had asked for, that they agreed instantly.
Marge and Trind were inseparable, as Marge had never had a daughter. When Trind graduated, Marge was going to pull a few favors and get her into the local school system. After walking through the farm with Earl, Axel came up with an accounting system that he created on something called a computer spreadsheet. It created a paper manual Earl and Ethan had to follow. To me, it was nothing but a glorified ledger, but it allowed them to keep a simplified paper trail of exactly where their funds were along with all the other farm accounts and inventories. Ernest was so impressed that he offered Axel a job at the bank.
Ethan and I asked to meet with Ernest and Ezekiel alone one afternoon. Ethan had a regular disability check coming in, free medical care from the Veterans Administration, he had had a settlement from the plane crash, as it was a civilian plane flown at the behest of the military that had crashed, and he had college paid for.
We needed to do several things: Ethan and I each needed a will. We needed paperwork that would tie us together and protect us both. After much discussion, we decided that we wanted to buy the farm sooner rather than later. The proceeds would go to support Marge and Earl, who would live the rest of their days on the farm and want for nothing. Further, Ethan and I would set up a trust fund from the remaining funds that would, with interest earned, pay to upgrade farm operations. Farm profits would pay for college educations of each of the brother's children. It wouldn't be Harvard, but it would be a reliable local college. Ethan and I would lack for nothing. We had all we wanted and didn't need a salary. The educational fund should grow as the family grew. When the paperwork was completed, we would place the farm in a land trust, preserving it for eternity.
I couldn't wait for the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend. I had spent some time out at the island; we had set up the rope swing and built a picnic area around the outdoor fireplace. It was obvious we would need an addition to the cabin. We'd turn the main room/kitchen into a full kitchen/dining area and build a family room off to the other side of the cabin. I would design it with Earl's help, and then Earl, Sam and I would build it.
The start of my senior year was coming up at the end of the summer and Ethan would begin commuting to the Agricultural College. We would need to hire a farm manager and would have to conduct interviews over the next couple of months. We would need him to be on board by August at the latest. We needed to survey and inventory the farm, equipment and buildings. We were going to need to modernize, upgrade where necessary and rebuild where needed. We had contracts for supplies and for products sold and we needed to review these as well.
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