The Block: Part Fifteen

This is the fifteenth part of a fiction serial, in 892 words.

I don’t know why I wasn’t surprised by the news that my mum had died. Graham told me she had suffered a stroke two days earlier, and he hadn’t wanted to bother me with that until he knew the outcome. He reckoned I would be too shocked to go into more details at the time, and offered to ring me back later to discuss things like her will, and funeral arrangements. She had been there longer than it seemed to me, but I had to admit I had never really missed her. She was just my mum, and I loved her because she was.

But I was never overwhelmed by her, like some guys get obsessed with their mums.

I phoned into work and told them. One thing about working as a cop, they are really good at times like that. The team Inspector told me to take as much time off as I needed, and to let him know if there was anything he could do. I decided to use the first unexpected day off to pop around to the Greek barber in the precinct and get my hair cut. I let him talk me into a real barber shave too. That’s a great feeling, a real cut-throat razor shave. Towels on your face after, and some old-school bay rum cologne splashed on.

I never cried over mum. Not once.

Graham phoned back in the evening. I didn’t bother to work out what time it was in Vancouver, though guessed it was still daytime for him. Typically, he was well-organised. He said that mum had made a will when she went to live with them, and I should get a local solicitor to act for me, so his guy could send copies of all the paperwork to be officially recorded here. He would obtain a second copy of the death certificate to send too, so I could prove to the agent managing mum’s house that she had died. The funny thing was that my brother was talking to me as if he still lived in London, and we were best buddies.

He was like a stranger to me, but I didn’t bother to tell him that.

Mum was going to be buried in a cemetery in Vancouver the following week. Graham seemed surprised that I wasn’t going to go to her funeral. I told him I wasn’t flying all that way to sit in church for ten minutes, then watch her box put in the ground. Maybe he thought I would have liked to spend time with his wife and family as well, but he didn’t argue. He wanted to get down to the financial stuff, and seemed relieved to be able to do that quickly. I was surprised to hear that mum had left me the house. She had left Graham’s kids all the rest of the money she had in the bank, including most of the lump sum from her pension pot. And there was a life insurance policy too, that I had never heard her mention. It was worth a hundred grand.

With some hesitation in his voice, Graham suggested that he keep the insurance money, and I could have the house. Perhaps he hadn’t bothered to find out just how much the old three-bed was worth these days, but I didn’t hang around in accepting his offer. I told him I would have a solicitor tomorrow morning, email the details, and sign the deal we had agreed over the phone. It took the rest of the week to finalise, which was pretty quick considering how many bits and pieces of paper had to be copied, faxed, authorised and notorised. I stayed off work to sort it out, and they were as nice as pie about it.

They even sent a condolences card by post. Everyone had signed it, even Dev Patel.

Eight days after I had got the phone call from Canada, I owned the family house. Even the lowest estimate of a sale price was four hundred thousand. That area was on the up, and properties were scarce. I didn’t tell Graham of course. He would never forgive himself for making such a bad deal. I contacted mum’s agent who was renting it out for her and told him to give the renters the minimum notice to leave of three months. I also asked him for the names of local decorators who could bosh it up to look nice once the three people living there had gone. Meanwhile, I would get the eight hundred a month that they had been paying.

Then I went over to my laptop and started to make some calculations.

If I got four-twenty for the house, I could pay off the outstanding mortgage on Spencer House, and still have almost three hundred and fifty left. I already had a fair bit of savings in the bank, and my police pension would pay out at a reduced rate if I left early. I was close enough to twenty years service, and though thirty years paid the maximum, all that dosh from selling mum’s house would more than make up for the difference. I needed more time to think, so I rang my doctor and made an appointment.

I saw her for the first time in over four years, and got her to sign me off with stress.

35 thoughts on “The Block: Part Fifteen

  1. (1) That barber was born on Cutthroat Island, and is known as a real swashbuckler when it comes to a wielding a razor.
    (2) Fifteen men have succumbed to the former pirate, who is now a barber. His shop is located on Fleet Street. “Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of bay rum!”
    (3) “I told him I wasn’t flying all that way to sit in church for ten minutes, then watch her box put in the ground.” Okay, but he could have watched some old “X-Files” episodes with his brother. Many of those were filmed in Vancouver. And, in any event, will Mum really be stuffed in a box and dropped in the ground, or will her ashes be thrown out to sea? The truth is out there…
    (4) My gosh! All this ‘bosh” and “dosh”—and a house in a posh neighborhood, too!
    (5) Always keep papers aware from the shredder! It’s not easy to copy, fax, authorize, and notarize “bits and pieces of paper.”
    (6) Jeff’s fellow employees sent him a nice pie, but not before Dev Patel stuck his thumb in it, pulled out a plum, and said, “What a good boy am I!”
    (7) Overhead at the doctor’s office:
    Doctor: “Do you know how one copes with distress?”
    Jeff: “No, but I can see that zipping it up must be a real challenge!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now i think we can await the first criminal action in the story. There is money, and where money is, there are the bad people not far away. Very new experiences of my own. 😉 (P.S.: Ban people always included! ).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not in total agreement with the others about Jeff being a cold fish, he does seems quite unemotional, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Too many people throw histrionics these days, crying and wailing about everything. I see him as quite a rational person. As for the will sorting, it took me much longer than a week to sort all my mother-in-laws estate out and the OH was the only beneficiary. We also had POA but that actually ends with the death of the person. We had to wait for bank appointments and the cancellation of the rental of her home and bills took weeks to sort out. Jeff was definitely lucky!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My mum lived in a council flat. They gave me four weeks to clear her stuff, but all the other formalities only took a week. I was obviously lucky, but it is my only experience of doing it.
      Jeff is definitely unemotional.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I am enjoying Jeff, so I must not think of him as a cold fish. He seems quite content with himself, quite clever financially and very observant of the people around him. I am sure something will change my view of him, since you are the author, but so far he’s ok by me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mum’s only took a week. Perhaps it depends on how many beneficiaries? I can’t say for sure as that’s the only time I had any experience of it. But there was only me involved, and I took a death ceritificate to her bank. I already had power of attorney, from when she had broken her hip, so that might have made it easier. I can rewrite this, if it’s not credible.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ones I’ve been involved with have taken months although I didn’t think there was anything very complicated to sort out. Just solicitors delaying things as long as possible. It doesn’t spoil the story so I wouldn’t worry about it. I made the comment more in a ‘he was lucky’ way.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m guessing this isn’t that uncommon, but hes still a bit of a strange fish this Jeff bloke, if only I could work out what was going on in his head, or more to the point where this story is going 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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