Monday, May 04, 2015

May the 4th be with you

“May the 4th be with you.”

That’s all it said. Of all the things in the world to say to a great grandson that he had spent virtually his entire life taking care of, like his own son, feeding him, playing with him, teaching him all the lessons of life, defending him through the rough weather that life always brought their way… after all that... That’s all his great grandfather had chosen to write in his will.

80. What a number to hit before the sleep of eternity. At 16, Paul didn’t think much of life. He had seen a lot already. He was glad Great Grandpa could finally move on. Hopefully, the other side didn’t have any of this chaos.

Paul’s mind went back to the will. He was beyond the mourning phase. It had already been a couple weeks, when his family lawyer brought to him the will, and said to him… “What do you make of it?”

After all, the old man had no other legacy. Yet, Mr. Tucker knew there had to be more to the will. There was always something hidden in words penned down by the infamous late Sir Robert Vonn Farthings. He should know. Come, let us not talk of that time when he managed the sale of the family mansion - to be sold for a penny to the man who would cross the ocean of Piranhas to save the Princess Mary. Only - there was no Princess anymore - all countries were now democratic. Piranhas weren’t to be seen for a thousand miles - nor an ocean. And the mansion - thankfully, that did exist, but pennies hadn’t been in circulation for 100 years.

Sir Vonn Farthings had his way with words, puzzles and mysteries. Why not? After all, it was the one idiosyncrasy that annoyed those who worked for him. He always took such care of them, that they almost started to believe they were extended family. Everyone sought to work for him - yet, he was not to be taken lightly. One had to be pure of heart and intentions to stand even a chance to be interviewed by him.

As for Paul - he was a remarkable boy. He treated everyone with respect, always put on a show of cheerfulness, went about any task he picked up with diligence. Yet… there was something queer about him lately. He had stopped seeking answers. He lived life as he had lost too much - as if his soul could never be healed.

Paul was the last person to be unaware of his great grandfather’s riddles. The thought of a legacy after he passed away had never crossed his mind. But the last thing Paul wanted right now, was one final unanswered riddle to haunt him for the rest of his life. And so he decided he had to solve it.

“May the 4th be with you.”

Paul put the letter back in the envelope, and stared at his desk. He watched the second hand of his clock tick as time inched forward. What was special about today? Why was it so important for this day to be in his favor? He had to work it out, and work it out soon. Or he would lose any remaining traces of clues that might help him solve it. Today, or never.

He took out the letter again, and started searching every nook and corner of the letter for any symbols, smudges, marks - anything that told him more. But he found nothing. The ink was sharp. It was the same blue ink that Great Grandpa had used since Paul read his first alphabet. The rest of the sheet was plain white and spot clean.

Then he saw the first clue! Written on the envelope was:

“Will: To be opened 14 days after”

Great Grandpa knew his last day was coming. He knew it with precision. He had handed the will to Mr. Tucker with full knowledge of when “May 4th would arrive”. This wasn’t about just a casual riddle. There was something deeper here - a hidden message. Did he end his own life? If so, why? Or… Paul dreaded… was he murdered? But that didn’t make much sense. How would he know the exact date of his murder?

A sudden knock on Paul’s door broke his chain of thought. It was his accountant. There were some business meetings he had scheduled, and he couldn’t wake away from them. Great Grandpa’s mystery would have to wait till 10 AM PDT.

Paul put the envelope back in, safely into his drawer, cursed his fate, and then put on the best smile he could and walked out to meet the accountant with a firm and confident handshake.

Continued in Part Two

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