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Tales of Every Day

THE INHERITANCE.
-1-
My whole life was changed one Tuesday afternoon.
Kylie had just come home from school and was having a snack ‘to keep her going’ before
dinner and I was finishing up a letter to my cousin in Australia. (Tuesday was my day off,
because I work Saturdays) Then the front doorbell rang.
Now in our house, the front doorbell doesn’t ring very often. Everyone knows to come in
the back door, which is always unlocked - when there’s someone in, that is - and we don’t
get a lot of door-to-door salespeople here. So, it was quite a surprise to hear the doorbell.
“I’ll get it!” called Kylie. I heard her going to the front door in her wooden sandals and the
key turning as she unlocked it. Then there was the indistinct sound of someone talking,
followed by Kylie clattering along the hall and into the dining room where I was. “It’s for
you, Dad,” she said. The man at the door will only talk to you.”
Unable to figure out why on earth a stranger should be at the door and wanting to talk to
me, I made my way along the hall to the front of the house. A man was standing there, but
that was all I could make out through the patterned glass.
I opened the door, and said to the man, “Yes?”
The visitor replied, “Are you Stephen Charles Morton?”
“Yes, I am,” I replied, “but who wants to know?”
“Excuse me for being formal,” said the man, “but before we can proceed, I will need to see
some proof of identity.”
“Just what is all this about?” I asked. “I’m starting to get a bit annoyed.”
“Well, if I could come in, then ...” he began.
“I’m not in the habit of inviting people who knock at my door and won’t tell me their
business into my house. Just what is your problem?” I demanded.
I suppose I should have been ready for the reply. The whole scene was playing out like a
scene from a film. However, I hadn’t seen it coming.
The stranger said, “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t tell you anything more without proof of identity. I
have been given strict instructions to be sure that I am talking to the correct person before
I divulge the contents of this package I have for you.”
There was nothing else for it. I left the stranger waiting on the front step again, while I went
to find my passport. Fortunately, I am a tidy person, so it didn’t take long. I presented it to
the man at the door, who looked at it, returned it to me and said, “Thank you, Mr. Morton. I
am now in the position of being able to deliver to you the package I have, along with a
message. May I come in?”
I demurred at this, the man having told me nothing about himself or having shown me any
identification. He then produced his passport, which identified him as Martin Jones, along
with a visiting card, showing that he was with a respectable firm of solicitors in London. I
wasn’t completely convinced, but I let him in.
As we entered the lounge, Mr. Jones said, “This concerns your daughter, Kylie, as well. It
is necessary for her to be present as well. I take it she was the one who answered the
door.”
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