Story Ava

Lake Lili

Senior Member
Yesterday I went to my local big store hoping to see a fight over toilet paper, no luck, it was all gone already.
I also missed the Great Battle for Toilet Paper, but some years back I did get to witness two women get into punch-up over the last two packages of Cod Tongues... one of them even punched-out the grocery store manager who tried to suggest that they each take one package... police were called and so ended the Great Coleman's Cod War of 2013.


Canadian Loonie
I also missed the Great Battle for Toilet Paper, but some years back I did get to witness two women get into punch-up over the last two packages of Cod Tongues... one of them even punched-out the grocery store manager who tried to suggest that they each take one package... police were called and so ended the Great Coleman's Cod War of 2013.
I didn't know cod had tongues......:spns: Not scared of the virus, only of running out when the teenagers come to visit these holidays, and summer.
We live in a a small city that has a toilet paper factory and the locals were still clearing the shelves in every store. Toilet paper will be cheap and on sale for months to come after this clears up. It is one thing to stock up, but many were buying only TP.

Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
There is a TP manufacture in central PA. I'm still trying to figure out what this fixation with TP is? Bizarre.

Thank you for the Ava and your other stories Kathy. If we're bugging in I may start rereading them.

Lake Lili

Senior Member
I didn't know cod had tongues..
Traditional Newfoundland Cod Tongue recipe
(The cod ‘tongue’ is actually a muscle in the cod fish neck, but they’re commonly referred to as the former.)
1. Using about 1-lb of cod tongues, give them a little wash under fresh, cold water. Drain and pat dry.
2. Place them in a bowl and add salt, paprika, cayenne and lemon pepper seasoning. Coat cod tongues well.
3. Place half of the cod tongues in a bag, add flour, and shake to coat. Repeat with other half.
4. Put some oil in a hot fry pan, add half the recipe. Cook for 5-minutes. Carefully flip each one and fry on other side for about 5 more minutes or until cooked through.
5. Remove from pan and enjoy immediately with a squeeze of lemon and tartar sauce.
Here is some humour about jigging for cod and cutting out the tongues -


Canadian Loonie
I enjoy Rick Mercer and Rex Murphy from NL.....will have to check out Allen Doyle - he has a nice voice. Are you still writing?
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Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....

Forgot to say thank you for the last chapter....

Thank you....

Now cod tongue does should tasty.... Fried beef heart and tongue are also tasty....


Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Chapter 35

While I ate I looked over what the Trust lawyers had sent me. The envelop with the local scrip I slid into my wallet. The guys used to think it was a joke that I had my wallet on a chain. And I know it is a redneck thing to do and should have just been a guy-thing but carrying a purse around just hadn’t ever fit my lifestyle. I mean I know it makes me look butch but I started it because when you’ve had your wallet stolen once you don’t ever want it to happen again. The one I’ve been using for a long time is a Levi’s brand tri-fold leather wallet that snaps closed and has a twelve-inch chain. Perfect for my every day carry. I already put my new licenses and ID cards in there so sliding in the paper slips wasn’t hard. What was a problem was trying to figure out some way to carry the ration book since I had to let a clerk tear out the coupons for them to be valid. In the end I just stuck the ration book in with the legal papers and those I put in a courier bag I sometimes used for school. It would leave me hands-free for the bike.

I opened the box and got a look at the stuff they considered payment. There was a box of iodized salt then all these lunch sacks (or smaller cheap zip bags) that were labeled. Popcorn, rice, dried red beans, dried pinto beans, dried black eye peas, raw sugar, dried onion, some little zip bags of spices, the promised tea bags, and ham seasoning. There was a note in there from the accounting department that said this was a partial payment as there was a problem with the supply truck and that they’ll catch up next week. Hmmm. Sounds a lot like that old fat guy in the Popeye cartoons that would say he’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Hope it doesn’t keep on like that ‘cause I can’t afford to give up this job.

Good thing I checked the windows and doors on all the buildings before I started eating because I tell you I all but collapsed afterwards. Glory it was good; way better than the stuff I normally have for Thanksgiving, assuming I did the holiday meal at all. Once I reached fourteen and didn’t give anyone heartburn about Child Labor Laws, I avoided the celebrations at the group home or whatever foster situation I was in as much as people would let me. But I didn’t always have to avoid the food as whatever gig I was working usually had some kind of spread so that the employees would stay in the holiday mood. But I gotta tell you, hearing Jingle Bells and Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer at 9 pm on Thanksgiving Day was not a thrill anyone really wanted.

I felt like I was sleeping off a entire turkey and not just a couple of slices. Good thing the officers and sergeants have keys to get in when they come in late. I know they let themselves in sometime around 10 pm but just ‘cause I heard ‘em doesn’t mean I felt like getting up to play doorman.

I roll over and go back to sleep but about two in morning I wake up sneezing. Stupid feathers. I’m scrounging around in the dark trying to find something besides my sheets to wipe my nose on when I hear something at my window. Having been the butt end of certain types of jokes in the past I was real careful investigating what was going on.

“Psst. Hey … this Ava’s room?”

Just this side of grumpy I tell the guy, “I don’t know who you are, but it is way too late for stupid so go away.”

“Would if I could but Uncle Em needs some help and I gotta get back home ‘fore Momma figgers me and Beau helped him get away.”

Well that wakes me up. So does the soft growl that says, “I swear boy, just tell her I forgot my house keys and don’t wanna sleep on the porch.”

As quiet as I can, I slip out of my room and through the entry door and come around to find some kid trying to keep Sarge on his feet.

“Look what the cat dragged in,” I whisper making the boy swing my direction dragging Sarge with him.

The kid looks at me and then takes another long look before saying, “Whoa, you really are a girl.”

I was not in the mood to play but sometimes the snark just has a will of its own. “Are you sure? Because if so, you have no idea what a shock it is. I suspected something but …”

“Ava …” Sarge says, only this time I hear pain in his voice.

I dump the Snark Girl routine and come his direction. “Hey, you hurtin’ aren’t you. Sorry, you shoulda said something.”

Before he can say anything the kid says, “I gotta go but Beau left all his stuff in that parking lot place. Somebody needs to cart it for him. He’s pretty rolled up. Him and Uncle PeeDee got into it.”

“Dammit Roy, you got a mouth that don’t shut up. Now scram before your mom catches you two out of bed. And … and if your dad says anything …”

“Who do you think gave us the keys to the truck?”

Sarge looks surprised at that but about half a second after the kid takes off towards a truck that is pulling out he starts to slide sideways.

“Uh uh. No face plants on my watch,” I tell him as I grab him by the belt.

He grunts and mumbles, “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. Didja at least get a little of your own back?”

“Some but Xavier broke it up before I got too embarrassed.”

“Your brother?”

“Yeah,” he grunted as he put his foot on the first riser of the porch.

“Look, Aunt Orélie is going to be out later than I thought ‘cause I don’t see her car, but … maybe I should get someone. Even in this dark you don’t look too good. You haven’t been out of the hospital all that long and fighting doesn’t sound like the kind of treatment you should be giving your injuries.”

“Don’t start.”

“I’m not. I’m just sayin’ …”

A shadow in the moonlight fell on both of us and I try and keep Sarge in the upright position while cursing myself for not bringing at least a bat outside with me.

“I got him.” Kramer says quietly. “Go bring his gear whatever it is.”

I turn to do just that when Sarge growls and grabs my arm and moves me behind him.

Kramer shakes his head. “Relax Em, I … er … have been informed your little friend there is legit and off limits.” Sarge growls again and this time even a dead man could tell he wasn’t playing. Kramer rethinks his approach and says, “That was never in the cards but word has gone out that she’s hands off, with a capital off.” He looks at me and it looks like it hurts for him to ask, “We square?”

“Sure. Whatever. Make sure Sarge gets to his room please. I’m going to go get his stuff.”

“I don’t have my keys,” Sarge reminds me.

I unlock his door as quick as I can and then take off for the parking lot, hoping I don’t get shot or something like that. When I get there I wish I had the dolly as there are a few more boxes than I expected. And not just boxes but a bunch of garbage bags. Instead, since I have the keys in my hands, I open the shed and get the industrial wheelbarrow. I spent forty-five minutes moving his stuff after doing the only thing I can figure which is put it in the storage shed temporarily.

Everything locked back up I trudge over and Kramer is gone but Sarge’s door is open. I go over to close it but he grunts and asks me to come in.

“Er … that’s probably not bright if I’ve got a target on my back.”

“Relax. Kramer spelled it out. One, this isn’t all about you. Has more to do with trouble they’ve had with fraternization in other places causing the kinds of problems no one needs. You just caught some shade because the Major ‘caught an earful of Kramer’s asshattery. He might have meant well but he doesn’t know you and you don’t know how to back down.”

“Sure I do. Just people don’t always let me ‘cause they keep tryin’ to back me up. I still think your friend has a few bolts loose but so long as he doesn’t ride my case all the time I’ll leave it alone and try not to irritate him on purpose.”

Sarge snorted but I could hear pain in it too. “You want a Tylenol or you need one of your pain pills?”

“No on the pain pills. I’ve only got a handful left and need to save them … in case. So … yeah, if you got the Tylenol handy.”

“Hang on,” I told him going to get them figuring anything else was secondary. After that was taken care of … and wasn’t he lucky I had remembered to put water in my pitcher or he was going to be dry swallowing them … I helped him to get his boots off and he didn’t even complain.

“Ava …”

“Don’t sweat it Sarge. You’d do the same for me. You need anything else?”

“Did you pile the stuff up on the porch?”

“Nah. I put it in the work shed ‘cause it locks up tight. When you want to start doing something with it I’ll haul it in here and you can go through it and pack it better. I can save the boxes I’m emptying instead of putting them in recycling.”

“That’s good cher, but I’m too tired for much making sense so let’s drop it for now. You said something about Auntie not being here?”

I helped him lay down as I explained.

“Don’t take off before we talk,” he ordered no long after but there was no real growl to it.

“Sure,” I told him before pulling the door shut behind me and making sure it locked.

And who should be lurking in the dark of the hall but Kramer. “You wanna check him? I didn’t ‘fraternize.’”

Kramer was as tired as I was but it seemed now that he’d decided I wasn’t a threat he’d stopped acting like a constipated gator. “Ease off girl. We got off on the wrong foot. There’s reasons … but the reasons aren’t your fault.” After a blip of silence he said, “Got your story from Kennedy.”

I snorted. “No. You got Zeb’s story of me.”

“You saying he don’t know you?”

“No. I’m saying he’s got a bad habit of putting me in the best light, especially if he is trying to keep me outta what he thinks might be trouble. He might not give you all the facts. So, you have questions, you ask me … then go off and corroborate them. Not the other way around.”

He looked at me then said, “That attitude is gonna bite you in the ass one of these days.”

“Yeah. So I hear. And your point is?”

“That you got a mouth.”

“That’s not news. Seriously Sergeant, this ain’t the time for this and I’m not one of your soldiers. I am leaning in the direction of cutting you some slack ‘cause Sarge is your friend but my truth is I got a day ahead of me tomorrow that’s liable to bring me more problems, not less. And before I can do that I gotta get up and make y’alls breakfast. So … anything specific and priority?”

He looks like he is wrestling with some thoughts then finally spits it out. “It is my job to make sure the young men in my unit stay outta trouble so they can stay alive.”

“Sucks to be you then ‘cause if I know nothing else about people that age, especially male people, they are stupid fond of trouble. At least until they get caught.”

“You don’t count yourself in that group?”

“Not the way you’re thinking. I’ll even tell you why before you ask. Because I can’t afford the cost. And we both know I ain’t just talking money.”

“Explain,” he said bordering on it being yet another order.

Orders I can handle, but his type I’m not fond of taking them from. Nevertheless I complied … in my own way. “I can’t afford to claw my way up ‘cause I’m too busy just surviving … at least for right now. And that don’t mean grabbing on to people – particularly male people – that exist above me. Zeb, Sarge, any of my old friends, and none that I’m going to meet in the future. I am not out looking for a Sugar Daddy … or a Sugar Brother, Sistah, or Momma. I either do for myself … or the rest is gonna have to fall by the wayside. I can say that as many times as I draw breath but if someone else isn’t willing to believe it … I’m not real interested in proving anything to anyone on that score. So you can watch me to make sure I don’t screw some poor guy over in some way, or stop wasting your time and put it to better use. Either way it is up to you to pick your road, just don’t try and pick mine for me.”

The vibe changes and so does his question. “And if one of those young men won’t take no for an answer?”

Willing to give an inch to get him off my back I offer, “If he is stupid enough, or gullible enough, to try then I will do my best to keep it quiet until someone can pound some sense into him. If he won’t allow that then I’ll do the pounding. Beyond that it is out of my control.”

Giving me the eye he said, “You sound like you’ve been given this talk before.”

“I’ve been given this talk as you call it ever since I fell into foster care. It’s a different world. Some people survive it intact. Some people sure as heck don’t. I reckon I fall some place in the middle. Either way you haven’t shocked me or hurt my feelings. You got a job to do. So do I. For now it looks like our jobs move in the same direction.”

He slowly stood up and said, “I wanna know if they step out of line.”

“Sounds like a threat of or else,” I responded, trying to clarify his position one way or the other.

“Let’s just say I have people above me that have decided how things will work. And my stripes are on the line if they don’t.”

I nodded in understanding and went back to my room to crash a couple of precious hours before I had to start all over again.


to fear "I'm from the government I'm here to help"
My SO just read me a facebook post I'l paraphrase because it caused a snort from her and a laugh from me. Here goes "sure hope the people fighting over toilet paper remembered to stockpile condom's, as we don't need any more idiots running around"


Veteran Member
Thanks Lady. Always look forward to another chapter and now that I will be home 24/7 will look to the Internet to provide that relief. And your stories always come first.


Veteran Member
Thanks, Kathy! Glad to see Sgt Kramer might be mending his ways at bit (don't mean I ain't gonna keep my eye on him; no sir, it don't!)


Canadian Loonie
The way you write, I can almost hear the accent.......

When we were in Biloxi MS, we were out to dinner and the waitress asked us if we wanted any Whale water....... we looked at one another and shrugged and said no, thanks.

She meant "well water" which was different from the bottled water, with the meal. By the time we left the South we were saying words with a southern accent that just rolled off the tongue, which is easier for this displaced (lazy talkin') Aussie than a Scottish sounding Canadian.


Veteran Member
Been busy so was really happy to have several chapters to read tonight! Thanks!!

Have a little bit more to do tomorrow and then I'm home in quarantine until this blows over, except for the "must do" appointments. So I, like others, will have LOTS of time for reading! (hint, hint)

Thanks again for sharing your writing gift with the rest of us! I love this story!


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
One day, Ava will get a chance to relax and savior life, but not to soon for moar of the story is always appreciated....

Thank you Kathy for writing such grand stories....


Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Chapter 36

Waking up Friday morning was not fun, but I did it. I’ve done it under less sleep and it wasn’t fun then either so I was prepared with a little high octane fuel in the form of one of my last No-Doze pills. I had been forced a few times on the road to resort to those things. I don’t really like them – they make scalp feel like it is going to crawl off my head – but do admit they’ve come in handy a few times.

I’m not Aunt Orélie. I mean I can cook but just not her way. I wasn’t up to having a super fancy breakfast and after what all the guys probably ate at the Thanksgiving shindig, I wasn’t going to waste food by overcooking on Black Friday. I was also working alone since Fabrice was asleep just like Auntie. No surprise there. So pancakes it was. I also sliced up some ham I found in the refrigerator with a note from Auntie to use it up but leave her the bone so she could make beans with it. And to just make it look like I worked harder than I did I made up a punchbowl full of fruit salad from a #10 can of fruit cocktail and a few of the bits and pieces in the refrigerator that was getting long in the tooth including a couple of bananas that I had wanted for my breakfast but that pieced out the rest of it. And to make it extra special like Mom used to, I added some chopped pecans. I had to keep a little bowl out for the one Junior Officer that was allergic to nuts but he was so surprised and polite that I remembered that his smile nearly blinded me. Good gravy, some people are easy to please.

Thank goodness for that huge griddle top in the kitchen. Made it as easy as the chow hall when I worked the kitchen at summer camp. There wasn’t one of those restaurant batter tools and I sure did miss it … squeeze the handle and batter would goosh down onto the griddle in the right sized glop … but I dealt with that by putting the pancake batter into a pitcher and pouring from the spout. I had the Officers’ and Jr. Officers’ table all set before people started showing up. The Sergeants and Grunts (what Kramer was calling them and it fit because that seemed to sum up their conversational skills that morning) I begged to come to the kitchen and I would plate it up with a stack right there. They were sympathetic … and just hungry enough … that they approved that plan. I even made a pot of coffee and gave it to Kramer … who really approved that … and made up some Café con Leche for Zeb and his crowd. They felt special and it used less coffee so it was win-win.

I wasn’t thinking too much when the Colonel asked for me personally.

“Young lady it is my understanding that you were a scout.”

“Yes Sir … but once a Scout, always a Scout.”

He grinned at that and I should have been wary. “Did you attain your Eagle rank?”

“Yes Sir I did. My sophomore year.”

“What was your project?”

“Designed and built a raised, handicapable nature trail in a local park. Complete with large trail signs that also had Braille translations, a few auditory points, and did some tree pruning and xeriscaping as well. Sir.”

He chuckled and nodded. “Commendable. I’m an Eagle Scout myself. Eagle Scouts should stick together. Private Kennedy mentioned that you can sing.”

O M G! My life as I knew it came to a screeching halt, like a semi trying to stop on a dime. “He … he did?”

“Yes. Tomorrow we are having a football game. We need someone to sing the National Anthem. Are you up for it?”

I tried not to give into the desire to find Zeb and kill him very dead. “Yes Sir. Just tell me where and when.”

“Good, good. The details are being finalized and now that we have our singer I’m sure everything will be available this evening.”

I knew a dismissal when I heard one, even if it was polite. I caught Zeb trying to make a quick exit. “You know paybacks are hell right?”

“Sorry Ava, he overheard me talking.”

“About what?!”

“The summer we worked the chuckwagon at Philmont.”

“Oh you so did not …”

“Gotta go. You can have your pound of flesh some other time.”

O M G! I coulda skinned him right there, covered him in hot sauce, and fed him a piece at a time like hors d’oeuvres, to the swamp creatures. But he was right about one thing, there wasn’t time. The Senior Officers seemed to be intent to make up lost time so breakfast was a hurried affair. There were no leftovers so I took that as a good sign. Matter of fact when Sarge and Fabrice both stumbled into the kitchen I had to make another batch batter. And when Auntie rolled in I gave her what was left as my stomach was rolling with nerves. Between the shock of the impromptu National Anthem assignment and wondering what I would have to deal with at the law office, my head was turning somersaults with the rest of my internal organs.

Auntie saw me checking my watch and said, “What time did you say your appointment was for?”

“Eleven.” I started running down the list in my head and praying no one else knew about the singing I was going to have to do. “Dishes are in the washer and going. Only thing I have left to do is clean the griddle. Ham bone is in the refrigerator. I need to know what you want prepped for lunch and …”

“Don’t worry about the griddle or the lunch. Fabrice can fotch and carry for me. This is supposed to be your day off.”

“Meh. Everybody gets through life by being flexible.” I continued to pray that I would get away before they heard about me singing.

“Meh yourself child. Go on. I was doing this before you showed up. Scram outta my kitchen.”

Auntie may have been playfully waving the knife she was using to cut her ham slice but I took it to heart nevertheless and started out the door. “Caneton …”

“Sarge,” I gritted my teeth back at him. Please don’t let him ask me about singing.

He was silently chuckling at my irritation but then said an odd thing. “We need to meet up after your meeting. I’ll be at the Bayou Cabins installing a ductless AC unit on #12, the one they call Granny’s Washhouse. If I draw you a map you think you can find it?”

I was in a hurry and agreed just so I could go change clothes and get going. I wasn’t real sure that I knew where I was going. I had a map courtesy of Detective Edgar but I was wishing at that moment I had done a dry run. Turns out the blinking blanking office was only five minutes by bike to reach Bridge Street and I didn’t need to be such a lunatic about worrying whether I’d get there on time. I was nearly two hours early and the office wasn’t even open yet. I rode past St. Bernard’s Church a couple of times before deciding to see what was a little further down the road and yeehaw I saw a Dollar General.

I hate shopping. Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word but it ain’t my favorite pastime that’s for sure. I’ve learned what stores are quick and easy to get into and out of without too much wanting stuff that I can’t afford, and which ones I walk into wanting one thing and then walk out of with five. The DG was pretty decent for what I needed and I stopped and chained my bike to the bike rack there.

I got inside and it looked like I imagine the outskirts of Hiroshima musta looked like after the bomb was dropped. Stuff was on the floor, racks were barely hanging on to the endcaps, empty boxes and trash filled up shelves that that were otherwise empty. Man oh man. I’ve worked retail enough to know that something was going on. It took me a few minutes to find what I was looking for … hairbrush, hair bobs … and that other things I need aren’t there … like sports bras and feminine hygiene stuff.

I found out why the feminine hygiene shelves were empty when I heard a familiar voice say, “I ain’t restocking them shelves. Milly can get one of the girls to do it. Nope. Uh uh.” I get a peek around the corner of the shelving and he’s talking to himself. I couldn’t resist.

“What’s up Tib?” I ask, sneaking up on him.

He squawks, jumps, and tries nonchalantly use his foot to push the case of feminine pads behind a case of toilet paper in quick succession. “Oh, hey Ava! What are you doing here?”

I laugh at his predicament and step passed him, found my favorite, and put it in the basket I’m toting. “Relax man, you look like you are about to stroke out.”

“Er …”

“It’s part of nature. You have as much trouble stocking condoms?”

His breath is a little reedy when he says, “No!”

He got to escape when he got called to the front to bring in all the buggies from the parking lot. I was looking at Ava’s List, checking to see if there was anything that couldn’t wait, when I hear a female voice ask me, “So you know Tib?”

I turned and in a heart beat I knew here was a girl you just didn’t mess with. “I know his grandfather Mr. Julius.”



“Oh. Wait. You’re that girl that went hunting with him.” I could hear the purr of danger and distracted her with a snort.

“Nope. Went hunting with Sgt. Jeansonne as some kind of mascot thing. Tib was hunting with his grandfather. He and I managed to rub each other the wrong way but we’ve worked it out so we don’t feel like killing each other anymore.”

She got a confused look on her face. “Oh.”

“How old is he anyway? I thought he would have been at least grown enough to not freak out over tampons.”

“The guys can be so stupid about that. Did you find what you were looking for?”

“Got it. Thanks. Someone needs to help him out. I swear I thought his head was going to explode it was so red. If I had known, I wouldn’t have teased him about it quite so hard.”

“His momma and sister do it and it makes him miserable. They send him to the store rather than get their own.” Clearly she was outraged.

“Hmph. None of my business but …” I shrugged. That left me looking sympathetic to her opinion, but it also kept me from getting sucked into a topic of conversation I had absolutely no intention of being part of.

Over the intercom we both heard, “Jackie, please report to the front of the store.” She muttered, “I’m going to be on register for hours.” To me she said, “Come on. I’ll ring you out first to get my till going and you can get out of here.”

How’s that for feeling unwelcome. I nearly laughed. Someone sure was trying to stake their claim. I nodded and looked very grateful. “Jackie” was pacified, and I escaped without having to answer questions about why I was there in the first place. Black Friday is not the time or place to try and carry on a conversation … lucky for me.

I was still an hour shy of the appointment with nothing to do. I pedaled back the direction I needed to be and wound up outside the Breaux Bridge Antique Mall. It is 17,000 square feet … a lot bigger than the one I used to mop the floor of in the strip center owned by the same man that owned the Surplus Store. I debated on going in, but finally gave in when I saw a bike stand one store down. I took a quick look, more curiosity than anything else. Most of the vendors keep their booths pretty good but some were too thinly stocked and others too full. There were signs all over the store saying which vendors were participating in the Black Friday discounts and which ones weren’t. There was some interesting stuff I could have bought but the one thing I couldn’t buy was more space. And after thinking that I realized I’d used up all my time and needed to get my butt over to the lawyer’s office or I would be late even having a two-hour head start.


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....

Good chapter....

Now the meeting between AVA and the attorney will be interesting....


Kathy in FL

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Chapter 37

“Miss Thibodaux! How very nice to finally meet you. You really should have come to my office first you know.”

I just gave him a polite, but empty smile. Since I hadn’t known he even existed until the last day or so I could have asked him why he hadn’t searched me out if it was so all fired important. But self-preservation kept my mouth shut even when it wanted to fall open looking at “Mr. Dub” as he asked (no, ordered) me to call him. I was sitting in front of a real live copy of Colonel Sanders. White three-piece suit. White dress shoes. Black string tie. Snow white hair, mustache, and goatee. My gawd.

I refuse to even try and record how he talked. I’m pretty sure most of it was put on for my benefit. On the other hand, he stayed in character so well for so long I might just be wrong about it. And crazy? Yeah, I’m pretty sure he is, but he still seems sane enough that we got down to brass tacks and hard facts not long after initial greatings.

First off, Uncle Henley left a will but the records they had made it seem like I was still a minor so everything was going forward like that was a fact and not an assumption. It was only after Sarge mentioned to Auntie that I was eighteen … who then essentially blabbed and told Edgar who had to in turn report the fact to his superiors who sent it on to the Judge in the case … that anyone realized I was an adult. Of course Detective Edgar had made sure of that but Mr. Dub wanted to make his own case that I was an adult and had Lorelei Edgar make copies of all of my identity papers. Seems like a waste of paper if you ask me but whatever.

After we got through that part Mr. Dub felt that he needed to read me Uncle Henley’s will.

I, Henley Beauregard Thibodaux, being of sound mind and body, do hereby leave this will in my own hand for my own purpose. I hereby revoke any and all prior wills and codicils I have made save for specifically excluding, should they still live at the time of my death, the woman born Juliette Thibodaux, my full sister and one Henri Frechette, my half-brother, and all their descendants both natural and adopted. This is in keeping with the wishes of our parents whose last will and testaments were unsuccessfully disputed at the time of their deaths.

I have instructed Braxton Dubreuil, Esquire to act as my executor and to take all and pay all legally binding contracted debts that have not already been cleared at the date and time of my passing. Copies of any release of liens or payment for debts are on file to defend my estate against fraudulent claims.

Beyond that I will, devise, bequeath and give all the rest and remainder of my property and estate of every kind and character, including, but not limited to, real and personal property in which I may have an interest at the date of my death and which is not otherwise effectively disposed of, to my niece and only living relative, one Ava Maxine Thibodaux.

If I leave a writing separate from this will that disposes of some or all of my tangible personal property, whether the writing is executed before or after I execute this will, I direct that the writing be incorporated into this will and followed by my personal representative. If my personal representative cannot find any such writing within thirty days after my death, my personal representative may presume that no such writing exists and shall distribute my tangible personal property in accordance with the provisions of this will.

Mr. Dub seemed to be waiting on some kind of reaction from me. I didn’t have one to give him so I asked, “Did he?”

“Did he what Child?”

“Did Uncle Henley tack anything on to his will? Is there something that I need to take care of?”

He gave me a considering look. “Huh, most people don’t ask that. You’ve managed to surprise me. But the answer is no, Henley left no other instructions that have come to light.”

I thought that a strange way to put it then thought of something else. “I was given to understand that you were appointed by the Judge. Uncle Henley’s will makes it seem like you were … er … his executor by his own choice.”

Apparently I was getting more interesting by the moment because Mr. Dub was losing his sad, serious face and started smiling and getting feisty.

“You are more mature than expected, probably than even Henley gave you created for being.”

“I don’t know. We didn’t communicate very much. He … spent a lot of time taking care of his mother … my grandmother.”

“Nice way of putting it Child. I recommended to Henley that he stay in better touch, perhaps even bring you out here, but he seemed to think you were better off without him.”

“That’s what he said? Or what you think he felt?”

Pleased for some reason Mr. Dub answered, “Said it. Was quite plain spoken about it.”

“Well he was wrong,” I said and then let the matter rest. It was something that couldn’t be changed and I didn’t have the luxury of feeling sorry for myself about it.

I shook my head to clear it then asked, “I don’t want to seem like a gold digger or insensitive or whatever people might think of me in that respect but I’m full up and I know lawyers cost and everything else. So, is there anything that I need to do, be responsible for, take care of, whatever you want to call it?”

He steepled his hands and looked at me. “You remind me quite forcefully of your Aunt Sylvee.”

“I … never met her. Most everyone died before I was born, and those that weren’t … didn’t bother staying in contact with me at all once my family was killed and I got dumped in foster care.”

“So I was given to understand.” Like he was coming to a decision he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a file. When he opened it I could see an envelope. He handed it to me. “It is my determination that you are an adult and are fully capable of handling the estate that remains in my care. In that envelope are the keys to a storage locker down the street. I’ve been told that you’ve been going through some of Henley’s belongings that were stored at The Isabelle.”

“Since I didn’t tell you that how do you know?”

“Deputy … no, the boy is now Detective Edgar … relayed the information.”

“I’ll have to find out how he knows because it isn’t exactly something I’ve been trumpeting about.”

He glanced at the door and then said, “It might be prudent at that.”

Well how dee do. The crazy old guy might not be that crazy after all. He knows his secretary is probably carrying tales to her brother. What he thinks of it though I’m not sure.

“If I were you, I would replace the locks post haste. There is only a few pieces of furniture in there but you should still look over everything.” He slid into item number two. “Now that I have proof of your age I will arrange to have your name put on Henley’s bank account, now your bank account.”

“Wait … how can you put me on an account of a dead man. Don’t I have to start one of my own?”

“Normally,” he said nodding in approval. “Being as I was already on Henley’s account, I can put you on it and then take myself off and you will be sole owner. I will start that process on Monday. Hopefully the Judge will be available to expedite the paperwork.”

“Any reason they wouldn’t?”

“Judge Cordelle is … well … harrumph … he has his own way of doing things. He may request that you make an appearance before him. Nothing to worry about.”

Ugh. Usually when people say that, there is something to worry about.

“Now as far as Henley’s house …”

“Didn’t the State take that one away because of some flood plain or something?”

“That was your Grandparents’ property … your grandfather’s to be more precise. His wife … your grandmother … had a life estate and was allowed to remain there until her death then the property was supposed to go to his son Landry Frechette, but Landry predeceased your grandmother by three or four years. You were next in line …”

“Beg your pardon?”

“Your grandfather, Mathieu Frechette, named you as his next of kin after his son Landry. While his will was heavily disputed, and your grandmother’s will mildly so, what did not change was the succession of inheritance. The State took the house by Imminent Domain; by law they had to pay market value for the property. Of course, their lawyers did their best to lower the value, but because it held a historically significant designation, significant funds are being held in trust for you until you reach the age of twenty-one.”

“But you said Uncle Henley’s house.”

“Yes, yes I did. Your uncle …” He stopped and looked somewhat uncomfortable. “Henley was the primary beneficiary of your father’s will which was written … Child it was written prior to your birth. It specifically listed your mother (who died intestate), your siblings, and your uncle but your name was not specifically mentioned. There was also the issue of the business Henley and your father co-owned. There were assets and funds that were … hmmm …”

Trying to be objective and not get butthurt about everything I asked, “Are you trying to say that my uncle somehow withheld funds from me?”

“No … and yes. I understood why Henley took the path he did but as a lawyer I … did not approve.” He paused again then explained. “Your uncle was your father’s executor. It was expected that he would continue the business and that your family would continue to receive a percentage of the income equal to the share of the business your father owned and at his passing would transfer into your mother’s name. Henley was bereaved and grieving and in some shock. When the government took you out of his custody, they also tried to lay claim to your inheritance. Henley … in a fit of temper … let the will stand as it was written rather than to your father’s intent. As long as I’ve known him he has said his plan was to put the funds in trust for you … but there always seemed some reason why he didn’t, including that the State would more than likely find out about the money and attach it in some way and he was adamantly intent that that would never happen.”

My brain was upside down inside my skull, or so it felt. “Okay. And?”

“During the dispute of your grandmother’s will Henley got into a financial bind. He’d put a lot of his own money into the upkeep and repair of your grandmother’s home. The porch had collapsed and that ate up most of his remaining liquidity, not to mention the cost of cross claims and filings … which I was not part of so you can get that look off your face young lady. Henley didn’t turn to me until after he’d made the decision to take your inheritance and sink it into a house outside of the State’s planned expansion of the drainage area. Unfortunately, just last month to be exact – the State once again expanded their plans, this time with federal assistance, and the new house is in that zone. The State has already taken the property and the Judge made the decision to pour that sum into the same trust.”

“The one that is basically out of my reach until I reach twenty-one.”

“Yes. And before you ask, there are no exceptions to this. The only thing I can say is that the funds are insured and in cash, not in an investment account. You don’t have to worry that you will lose the principle, but there is also no chance that the income will increase beyond the percentage of interest required by law.”

I was getting topped off but I had one more question. “How much does it cost to keep the storage locker? And, is there any expense to me on the trust?”

We discussed the latter and I only sorta kinda understand it and then went to my first question. He said that the next payment was due in just a few days and it was an automatic deduction from the bank account. If I did nothing I could keep the storage locker until summer before the bank account went to zero, and it went into arears. I have some figuring to do.

My hour was up and it was time for me to go meet Sarge at the Bayou Cabins. Mr. Dub said I might call on him as needed but I can’t afford his billing. After reading the papers real carefully I found that he wasn’t exactly sparing on what he charged to Uncle Henley’s estate.


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Families and inheritances are always fun especially when the parties decided to fight it out which makes the attorneys richer and the estate poorer....

Thanks Kathy for the chapter....