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“I wish the old bastard would die.”

“Don’t worry, he will.”

“Yes, but when?”

“Soon.”

“Not soon enough to suit me.”

“That’s your problem, you’re too impetuous.  You need to develop some patience.”

“To hell with patience.  I’m young.  I have needs.  I don’t want to wait for him to croak.”

“Well, at least we’re back in his will—for the moment.”

“Are you sure?  How can you be sure?  He uses that will like a weapon.”

“I know.  But he seems happy with us right now.”

“Yes, but he’s so unpredictable.  You never know when he’s going to get pissed off about something and start waving that finger around.  He’ll shout, ‘You’re out of my will, boys!’ and pick up the phone to call his attorney.  Sometimes I think the lawyer has two copies and switches them back and forth; one with us in, the other with us out.”

“Part of the problem is never knowing what’s going to set him off.  We are definitely back in after throwing him his birthday party, right?”

“Well, that’s what he says.  Not everyone lives to be 80 and even with him confined to bed he had a wonderful time.  After opening his presents, he was eating ice cream when he said, ‘You’re back in my will, boys.’  But did really called his attorney to put us back in?  That’s the question.”

“He must have because he had us taken out when he discovered you were dating that girl from the diner in town.  He said, ‘No grandson of mine is going to court a . . . a . . . waitress.  You’re out of my will, boys!’  Except he meant us both, not just you.”

“That’s because we’re twins.  Honestly, I don’t think he can tell us apart.  He lumps us together, especially when it comes to the will.  But I distinctly remember him putting us back in when I dumped that girl.”

“Yes, and out again when you got smashed and wrecked your car.”

“But back in after the birthday party.  Don’t forget that.”

“One of these days he’s going to die.  Heaven forbid that should happen when we’re not in the will.  I’ve even thought about arranging an ‘accident’ for him.”

“An accident?  Do you mean like those brothers in California who killed their parents then threw themselves on the mercy of the court because they were orphans?”

“Something like that, yes.  But we’d have to make sure it was foolproof and that’s always a gamble.  What good is it to be in the will if the authorities suspect foul play?”

“What do you think he’s worth?”

“Several millions, I suppose.  You can’t support an estate like this on peanuts.  Certainly more than enough for us to continue living in the style to which we’ve become accustomed.”

“There had better be plenty.  I don’t intend to have to go to work for a living.”

“As it is, it’s like living on a seesaw.  Up and down, in and out.  Never knowing when he’s going to change his mind.”

“It’s been going on far too long.  I’m a nervous wreck half the time.”

“Well, there is another way.  I’ve given it considerable thought.”

”Another way?”

“Yes.  The truth of it is, every time he throws us out of his will it’s because of something you have done?”

“Me?”

“Yes, you.  Don’t try to deny it.  You’re so damned stubborn.  Admittedly, I’ve gone along with you most of the time, but only because I’m your brother.  You’re always the reason for him yelling, ‘You’re out of my will, boys!’ and even though it’s your fault, I end up getting painted with the same brush.”

“You’re not being fair.  I can’t help it if he sees us as one in the same.  There are advantages to being twins, but that’s not one of them.  Can I help it if I’m not as easy going and patient as you?  I need excitement in my life.  I want more than just waiting around for him to kick the bucket.”

“That’s the problem, you have no patience.”

“So sue me.”

“No, I have a better idea.  Remember I said there’s another way to deal with the problem?”

“Yes, I remember.  What is it? . . . and what are you doing with that gun?”

“This ol’ thing?  I’m going to shoot you with it.”

“What!?”

“You heard me.  I’m going to shoot you then wait for him to die.”

“You’re looney.”

“I’ve already jimmied the patio door.  I have another gun in my pocket, the one we keep in the desk in the foyer.  After I shoot you, I’ll take that gun and fire a couple of shots into the wall behind me then put it in your hand.”

“What?  You’re crazy!”

“Not at all.  I’ll mess up the room a bit—break a vase, knock over a lamp or two.  When the police get here it will look like you interrupted an intruder who killed you and fled the scene.  I, of course, shall be devastated.”

“This isn’t funny.”

“No, it certainly isn’t.  I’ve thought it through and it’s really the only way.”

“But . . . but . . . I’m your brother.”

“And my twin at that.  It’ll be a little like shooting myself, but ending up with all that money will ease my conscience.”

“That’s preposterous.  Put that gun down.  You’ve carried this joke far enough.”

“Believe me, it’s no joke.  I’ve been practicing my 911 call.  I’m no actor, but I think I’ve got just the right touch of panic in it.  Do you want to hear?”

“No.  I want you to put that gun down, damn it.”

“After I shoot you I’ll throw it in the lake, before I make the call.”

“Look, I’ll change, I swear it.  I’ll stop doing things to piss him off, really I will.  I’ll be a good boy like you.”

“You always say that, but it never lasts.  Sooner or later you’ll do something to piss him off again.  It’s not your fault, it’s your nature.  You can’t help being the way you are.  I’m afraid this really is the only solution.”

“No.  No.  Don’t . . .”

*Bang!*

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

End

Born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, Jim has lived in ten states and three foreign countries.  Currently retired somewhere in the Ozarks, he has a passion for his wife, blended (not sour mash) bourbon, Hawaiian shirts, anything fried in bacon grease in a cast-iron skillet, stray dogs, and whatever vegetables are in season with the exception of Brussel sprouts and eggplant.

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