Authors: Jeffrey Poole
Bakkian Chronicles, Book I
Copyright © 2011 by Jeffrey M. Poole
Jeffrey M. Poole
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Table of Contents
For Giliane –
My one true love, my soul mate, my everything.
Thank you for believing in me!
Mondays typically didn’t bother him too much, but this particular one wasn’t off to a good start. He had just let out a monster yawn, the kind where once finished, your jaw muscles are left hurting and the insides have long dried out. He hadn’t even made it in to work yet, and here he was, already wishing he was back home. The simple fact of the matter, he thought glumly, was that he was bored with his job. Sure, it paid the bills, and with the economy the way it was, he was thankful to have a job. Nevertheless, the fact remained that he needed something more challenging to do than solving the same type of problems day in and day out.
Thanks to his job in tech support, his social life had become practically non-existent. Being able to treat his wife to a night out was a rarity anymore. He sighed. He couldn’t even remember the last time that they had not been interrupted over a weekend. All he had to do was think about going out for the night and within the hour plans would have to be cancelled. It was as certain as washing your car and then watching the thunder clouds roll in.
Take last Friday, for example. He had just finished placing reservations at the new steak house in town when a major client’s system went down. It had taken him three hours of remote dial in service to resuscitate the stubborn machinery. Was he thanked for putting in the long hours, especially on a Friday? Of course not. Would he see any part of the exorbitant fee that his boss would charge the client for the after-hours support? Nope. Part of the job description, his sadistic supervisor had informed him.
His reverie was shattered by the Bane of his Existence, his business cell. The blasted thing had begun ringing well before his 8am start time. He hadn’t even made it to the office yet. A quick glance at the caller ID had him cringing. Unfortunately, it was a client’s number that he knew all too well. They were just going to have to wait. Pushing the ignore button on the cell, his attention returned to the road. Moments later, his cell chimed: new voicemail. His irritated eyes flicked momentarily over to the time indicator on the SUV’s dashboard. Ten minutes to eight. If there was one thing he was adamant about, it was not letting any of the numerous clients who had been given his cell phone number know he was available before his allotted start time. He might not have a say as to who is given his cell number, but he could certainly control when he answered it.
Steven Miller was the senior computer tech for a medium-sized company that sold and maintained telephony software and hardware. Out of five full-time techs that his company employed, not one person knew the system better than he. It was a bitter point of contention that consistently fell upon deaf ears.
His cell phone chimed again a few moments later. It didn’t like being ignored. Steve sighed irritably. It would be dealt with as soon as he made it in to the office. What had happened to the weekend, anyway? How was it possible that two days could pass by in the blink of an eye? Wasn’t it just Friday?
Well, I can’t say that we didn’t do anything fun this weekend, he thought. Since he and his wife truly (gasp!) enjoy playing video games together, they had decided to buy Nintendo’s latest video console, the Wii. Nothing will make you lose your dignity faster than yelling at the television while waving around a set of game controllers that strongly resemble a set of martial arts nunchuks, and, to top it all off, getting beaten horribly by your wife. It was debilitating.
At least the summer was finally over, Steve mused. The start of fall had always been his favorite time of the year. Maybe he might be able to swing some time off in September, for their anniversary. His bosses owed him at least that. Being huge Disney fans, he and his wife liked nothing more than walking around Disneyland, hand in hand, admiring the –
A horn honked loudly nearby, snapping him out of his second daydream of the day. Groggily rubbing both eyes, Steve glanced in his mirror to see who had honked their horn, and why. Not one car had moved an inch since he became stuck in this lousy traffic jam. Sighing again, he started tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. Jeez, how much longer were they gonna be stuck here? This had better be one hell of an accident.
Ordinarily, the traffic in Twin Falls, Idaho, was minimal at best. Sure, it was a larger town, at least when it came to the Spud State, but still, traffic here was typically not something you complained about. Today, however, there were at least twenty cars ahead of him, not to mention at least that many piled up behind. Even the oncoming lanes of traffic were also snarled, which usually meant that there was some serious rubber-necking happening up ahead. This must be one nasty accident. He hoped no one was seriously hurt. Cars mangled, sure, that’s fine, but no one hurt.
Steve glanced over at the passenger seat and noticed a corner of an envelope sticking out between the seat and the car door. He reached over and pulled it out.
Oh, yeah, forgot about this,” he mumbled. The certified letter. It had arrived the previous day, courtesy of
some young kid in a beat-up VW bug
. “You Steve Miller?” the courier had asked, with a not-so-bright look on his face. The unprofessional manner in which this “certified” piece of mail had been delivered had denigrated its importance to that of an unwanted piece of trash. As a result, it had been tossed into his SUV to be dealt with later. Well, no time like the present. Might as well see what it says.
Steve tore open the cardboard mailer. A white envelope fell onto his lap, along with a folded piece of newspaper. Okay, so what’s this? He glanced up to check on the status of the (non-moving) traffic and unfolded the newspaper. It was a clipping from the Coeur d’Alene Press, the local newspaper that covered the northern Idaho panhandle region. He was holding the obituaries page, and there were two. However, only one held his attention:
Simon & Grace Miller, 81 and 80, long-time residents of Coeur d’Alene, passed away suddenly from an automobile accident. They leave behind one son, Stan (& Bonnie) Miller of Phoenix, AZ, and one grandson, Steven (& Sarah) Miller, of Twin Falls, ID. Funeral arrangements will be handled by C. Baron Funeral Home.
Steve blinked a few times. He recognized the names of his paternal grandparents, of course. They’re dead? When did that happen? Steve turned the paper over, looking for the date. Hmmm, nearly three weeks ago. Who would send him a copy of their obituary? He reached for the white envelope, opened it, and pulled out a single folded piece of paper.
Dear Mr. Miller,
My name is Arthur C. Carroll. I am the attorney for your grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Miller. I regret to inform you that your grandparents have passed away. I will be handling their estate.
The reason for my letter is to inform you that you are named as the beneficiary in their will. Please call my office so we can arrange a visit to review their will together.
Again, my most heartfelt sympathies for your loss.
Arthur C. Carroll
The attorney had even personally signed the letter. Well, it looked like an authentic signature. Steve squinted at the paper. Could be fake. Those computer printers were getting really good at making a phony signature look real.
Steve reread the letter. His grandparents were dead? Should he be upset? He didn’t feel it. Hell, he hadn’t even known his father’s parents. Sure, he knew them by name only, and knew what they looked like from his mother’s photo albums, but he himself had never talked to them.
Steve drummed his fingers on the steering wheel again. I’m named in their will? Did dad also get a letter like this? He pulled his cell out of his pocket and called his parents. His mother picked up on the second ring.
Hi mom. How’s it goin’?”
Steven! What a pleasant surprise! Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”
Well, yeah,” he admitted, “but I’m presently stuck in traffic. Must be an accident or something up ahead.”
Traffic? In Twin Falls? Please. Unless it’s four lanes deep, and several miles long, don’t complain to me about traffic.”
His parents had retired to Phoenix to soak up the desert sun. A simple trip to the grocery store usually resulted in a thirty minute drive. Being the fifth largest city in the United States,
traffic naturally, well, stunk.