This is Oorvi’s entry for the October 2010 Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival. I am publishing it here because Oorvi is between blogs:) I shall link it to her new blog when she gives me the go-ahead for it. You can leave your comments for the story here.
The last date for the 5th Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival is October 31, 2010, so if you are planning to invite us into the world of your imagination, please find your notebook soon:) Read the Rules for Participation here.
The Trump Card!
(A Short Story by Oorvi)
The Day they read the Will
“This is impossible! He doesn’t have a brother,” Rita shrieked. Her shriek changed into a gasp of surprise as George’s twin Matt walked in. Matt had the same eyes, the same nose, and the same height as George, however, he was thinner by at least 20 pounds, his brows weren’t as bushy and he sported a beard. He also looked muscular and tanned, which George never did, at least not in the last eight years of her marriage with him.
Matt smiled and bowed to her. After all, Rita was his brother’s widow, and who his brother had left nothing except the clothes on her back and the paltry sum that they had in their joint account. Even the palatial house, in which she lived now, had been left to him, along with everything else that George owned. Matt was now as rich as George was when he were alive.
Rita couldn’t understand it at all. What had gone wrong? She knew that George had willed it all to her. She was sure about it. He had done it a few months before his death, and in those months, she had given him no reason to change that will. And to leave it all to this brother of his, who he never even talked about. But then the solicitor told her that after their parents had divorced, Matt’s father had taken him to live in India – and the brothers had met only a handful of times – and never after they had grown up.
But…it still didn’t make sense to Rita.
Flashback – The Night George Died
George leaned back in the plush seat of his chauffeur-driven sedan, and closed his eyes. Whenever he came home late, he made it a point to bring flowers for Rita. She loved flowers, and he loved her more than anything else in the world. As the sedan turned into the driveway, George opened his eyes, and looked past the trees, beyond that expanse of grass, and into the French-windows of his house. In the distance, he could see Rita waiting for him. His heart swelled with love for her, and a smile spread on his face. She was going to love the surprise he had for her tonight.
“Sir, we’ve arrived.”
His chauffeur’s voice broke his reverie.
Rita was there, arranging the dinner table and looking ravishing in her wine-red off-shoulder gown, with a single strand of pearls gleaming around her lovely neck. She deserves the world, he thought as he took her into his arms, before going in to change into his evening dress.
Rita had planned a quiet evening after dinner – some wine and music. The setting was just perfect for what George wanted to tell her. That evening, he didn’t want to talk business, and he didn’t even want to drink the wine. He was drunk on her beauty and all he wanted to do was tell her about the cruise that he had planned for just the two of them.
Rita however, wanted to talk business, and he put it all down to her love and concern for him. She didn’t trust Steve at all. Steve had joined his company around three years ago, and he was younger to him by at least a dozen years. Steve was also extremely good at cutting the bureaucratic red tape and so George valued him a lot. Though most women found Steve attractive, Rita disliked him immensely and she didn’t trust him around George. She always thought that Steve was never as good as he made himself out to be. In fact, they didn’t get along at all.
So they sat and talked, and so George never got around to talking about the surprise that she had for her.
His head felt heavy, and his limbs felt cold and numb. He could hear Rita’s voice floating in from the other room, but it appeared to be coming from a place faraway. He tried to call out to her but he couldn’t – his voice failed. With a lot of effort, he turned his head to see the clock. It looked hazy, but he managed to figure out that it was about two in the morning.
Gradually, consciousness returned to George and Rita’s voice became clearer. She was talking to someone on the phone. He tuned himself in.
He is dead! I am scared! Just come up to the house.”
“We’ve got to move fast and remove the body. This is the most important part of the plan.”
“Don’t worry about it. I know what’s there in his will. All of it comes to me – to us, I mean. And as it was an overdose of his own medicine, even if it comes to postmortem, they’d never learn the truth.”
George closed his eyes. The pain that shot through his heart made him dizzy again. His wife had tried to kill her, and she said something about a plan to dispose his body off. Suddenly the whole evening and the spell of unconsciousness began to make sense to him. He realized that he wanted to know more…and so he decided to play along. But who was the man on the other end of the phone?
“Steve, he’s dead. We don’t need to tie him up. We need it to look like an accident!”
That’s a smart woman, Steve. Listen to her, you moron, thought George. They were on the riverbank, in his car.
“Okay…okay! But what about the car?” Steve was just a pawn; Rita, his beautiful and intelligent wife, was the master strategist.
“We are going to put him in the driver’s seat, and the push the car into the river. It’ll appear as if he drove the car into the river… after he got drunk and fought with me.” said Rita.
Under Rita’s deft management, the deed was done, and the car with George in it, was safely deposited upon the riverbed. George’s consciousness had returned completely by this time; he got out and swam to the other bank. While he sat on a rock, waiting for his breath to even out, Rita and Steve drove back to his house. As he sat there, watching the lights of his wife’s car recede into the distance, he made his plan.
The Day they read the Will
George smiled as he looked at himself in the mirror. He was a new man. The pot-bellied, stressed-out George who looked like an albino fish was gone. Here was the new George – lean, tanned, athletic, and young! The last year had been good to him. Changing the will and his identity wasn’t difficult at all. Despite the strong circumstantial evidence, they couldn’t declare him dead for almost an year, as they couldn’t find a body! An year was a long time for him to straighten up the matters. He couldn’t have planned it better.
George turned and looked out of his hotel-room window. Across the street stood the eighteen-storied building of his erstwhile competitor, Cureall Drugs. For once, their unethical practices had saved a live.
He turned back and smiled at Matt in the mirror. This is who he was now, and who he wanted to be all his life.