Vacation-gram: “What’ll You Have?”

Hello All!  I am still on vacation this week.  I am now sitting on the beach, enjoying an iced coffee and some sun.  Or sitting in my room playing Cities: Skyline, which is much more likely.  Anyways, I wanted to make sure you still had something to keep you busy.  This was written for a Writer’s Challenge; the prompt was “What’ll you have?” I felt I took it in a different direction.  Hope you enjoy!

“What’ll you have?”

To most people, it would seem like such an easy question, but I wasn’t most people.

I was born 86 years ago yesterday. I had started a shop in my hometown when I was 19, and turned it into a multinational business. I had married my high school sweetheart and raised four children, a boy and three girls. I was now the proud Grandfather of 8 grandchildren. I gave to the arts and tried to do right by my employees, friends and fellow humans.

And now I was facing death. Literally.

I stared into his kind eyes; they were green, with specs of gold. A faint smile creased his genteel face.

“You’re really not at all what I expected.”

“I appear as what you’ve lived. You’ve lived a good life and have little to fear, so I appear to you as this. To those that cause evil in this world, I appear…” He considered his words. ”…differently.” The smile came back.

He adjusted his cufflinks, and leaned back in his chair. The leg he had crossed lazily over his other bounced nonchalantly in the air. He fixed his unblinking stare on me again. ”So, sir. What’ll you have?”

“What are my options?”

He grinned. ”Spoken like a true business man; wants to know what it he can choose from. You and I will chat here for a while, and then we will leave together, and at 6:15 this evening, your secretary will walk in and find you in that chair. Dead.”

The last word was like a door slam. Not scary, but final.

“What will we chat about?”

“Whatever you like. Any secrets you’d like to know? Any tales you’d like to hear? Any point in time you want to hear about?”

“Who really shot JFK?”

“Lee Harvey Oswald, but he was just a pawn.”

“Jimmy Hoffa?”

“Amazingly, he fell off a bridge and drowned. Mob wasn’t involved at all.”

“Was my father afraid when he died?”

This question gave him pause. He frowned and looked at the ground. I saw him considering, then he took a deep breath, and looked up at me, tears in his eyes. ”He was worried about his family. Worried that you would think ill of him.”

I stood up and walked to the sideboard, pulling out a glass and ice with the bottle of scotch. Looking in the mirror, I raised my eyebrows in an unspoken question. He nodded affirmative, and I mixed two glasses. I walked back to my desk, handed the glass across to the figure, and sat down. I took a sip of the woody liquid and held it on my tongue.

Taking a deep breath, I swallowed. I looked at him. ”Can I write a letter?”

He smiled gently. ”No. It would look like suicide.”

I nodded. ”Can I make a phone call? I promise not to say anything.”

“There’s nothing you could say in that phone call that hasn’t already been said. She knows you love her, and you know she loves you. If you haven’t lived your life like that was the last day, a phone call now won’t change anything.”

“What comes after?”

He laughed, “Adventure, sir. The next part is an adventure.”

I looked at my wall clock. 5:13.

“Almost ready to go. Just need to do one thing…” I pulled out my phone, and wrote a quick text message. ”Okay, let’s go for a walk.”

We both stood. I looked around my office, at the assorted awards and memos, at the plaques and declarations. Then at the photographs of my family and friends. I smiled. ”It’s been a great adventure already.”

Her phone buzzed at 5:14 with a text message from her husband. She smiled as she read the words. 67 years of marriage and he could still make her smile. She got up to start dinner so it would be ready when he got home in 45 minutes. She looked at the message one more time before she set her phone down.

“Can’t wait to see you. I love you more than life itself.”

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