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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Word Beads: Attributable; Estate; Cloak; Ghost; Predefinition.

Thanks to Word Beads.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to string those words together with other words of your choosing to fashion into a sentence, several sentences, a paragraph, several paragraphs, a poem, or even a short story.

"Can we be absolutely sure that this document is attributable to Mrs. Daisie herself? Absolutely sure?".

The two ageing lawyers looked at each other in confusion, and studied the Will for the umpteenth time. There was no doubt about it. Mrs Daisie had re-written her will only a few months earlier, and it was totally legitimate, witnessed, and indisputable.

Cloaked in legalese and, at first glance at least, seemingly fitting the accepted predefinition of the usual format of a Last Will and Testament, this was in fact a remarkable document, the likes of which Mssrs. Testuary and Mandeville had never encountered.

Mrs Daisie had clearly been determined and had left nothing to chance. The declaration of her being of sound mind had been accompanied by a consultant psychiatrist's letter stating such, and all ambiguities were eliminated with the clarity and articulacy of her demands for the management and direction of her rather vast estate after her parting.

The lawyer pair reluctantly entered the Daisie Estate Library, within which were a dozen or so slightly-too-eager distant relatives, each awaiting news of their own impending fortunes resulting from the eccentric woman's demise.

Mr Mandeville shuffled papers and hesitantly began the delivery of the news.

"We are here, this afternoon, to hear the designation of the estate of Mrs. Edith Daisie, following her unfortunate death earlier this month. Mrs Daisie has left somewhat unexpected, yet explicit instructions for the distribution of her wealth and the use that the Daisie Estate buildings and land will be put to."

Nervous coughs could be heard from the semi-circle of fair-weather relatives perched around the room, while one made a tense joke about leaving her £millions to a cat home. No-one laughed.

Mr Mandeville continued, "Mrs. Daisie has requested that the following be read out to you all, to explain her wishes. Mr. Testuary?".

Mr Testuary cleared his throat and began to read.

"As I write this Last Will and Testament I can imagine you all sitting around my library expectantly. Wondering who will get the house, the land, the stocks and shares. All secretly hoping to hit the jackpot by dint of being the second cousin, or brother-in-law eighteen times removed, or some such nonsense, of myself or my late husband.

"I am sorry to tell you that you will leave here disappointed."

The discomfort among the guests was by now palpable. At least a few were shuffling in their chairs, clearly wanting to leave.

"The thing about you all is that you have spent at least the last few years expecting to profit from my death. You took financial risks, presuming that some of this estate or fortune was on its way to you. Or you worked little, or spent recklessly. Presumptions like this are not only arrogant, but dangerous too.

"None of you in this room will get what you were hoping for from this Will, and you will see that whereas the meek may be due to inherit the earth, and that one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and any other platitudes you feel apply, the one I am sharing this out with is presume nothing, expect nothing.

"Nowadays we place too much attention on the monetary rewards for what we do. Which is exactly why you are all in this room now, listening to my ghost in the form of one of my lawyers talk to you like this.

"The properties which make up the Daisie Estate are to go to a local co-operative group who will maintain it as a community property, a commune if you will, for anyone at all who wishes to stay here. It is donated to the community, and will never, ever be sold or profited from.

"The land will become an urban farm, under the same co-operative society, who will work with anyone who wishes to learn about nature and animals.

"The money which remains, once all adaptations and repairs have been paid for, will fund community projects as decided on by a majority of the commune members.

"Yes, you can close your mouths now. If you had ever paid any interest in me beyond what you presumed was coming your way once I was six feet under, you would have seen this coming. As it is, the more shocked you are, the less you knew me, and thus the less you deserved any of our wealth."

Ok I'm quite embarrassed by how blatantly moralistic that turned out. But it was quite fun to write anyway!! Please forgive any glurgey tendencies within it! It is 5.57am and I haven't been to sleep yet - does that count as an excuse?!