[Part one can be found here: A Life’s Design]
A week after the death of Herbert John Kratzmeyer a phone rang in a sun drenched living room of an apartment in East Brisbane. The sound of the phone’s shrill and persistent calls for help somehow felt a little out of place within this welcoming habitat. The shuffling of feet could be heard in the kitchen adjacent and the clattering of the knife added to the ambience which only served to further annoy Ann. Alright, alright I’m coming she thought as she made her way through the beams of light flooding her living room and to the noisy attention seeker.
“Yes?” This had better be quick she thought, as the bacon sizzled in the kitchen beyond the door.
“Is this Ann Flowers?” A rather dull voice that reminded her of that moment your head hits the pillow was on the other end.
“Before we begin can you tell me your address and date of birth please?”
“No, not until you tell me who you are.”
“Oh, my apologies Ms Flowers, this is Martin Schwartz your brother’s attorney.” Her heart stuttered a little in her chest.
“Tom’s attorney? What’s happened to Tom?” The panic was rising with each syllable.
“I’m not Tom’s attorney Ms Flowers, no I’m your other brother’s attorney.”
“I don’t have another brother.” Who was this crackpot?
“Herbert.” He said the name as if that should have been obvious.
“Who the hell is that?” She was getting annoyed now.
“Herbert John Kratzmeyer, does that name not sound familiar to you Ms Flowers?”
“No, no I – wait, my mother’s maiden name was Kratzmeyer. Why, who is he?
“He’s your brother Ms Flowers, well half-brother.” This was news to her.
“I had no idea Mum and Dad had a third child Mr Schwartz, you’ll forgive me if I don’t believe you.” She thought this false and she was kicking herself for letting him know her mother’s maiden name so readily.
“Herbert is the first-born son of your mother Ms Flowers, born in her youth before your father and she had him up for adoption in 1979, approximately 7 years before your own birth. I’ll email you the legal lineage documents if you want Ms Flowers. Now if I could have your date of birth and address Ms Flowers to make sure you are who we are looking for we’ll get on with this.”
“Um, ok, yeah, sure, 15/8/1986 – apartment 18, 29 Mary St, Holland Park.”
“Perfect, Ms Flowers. You and your brother Tom are listed as his closest living relatives, and I’ve so far been unable to get into contact with Tom.”
“Yeah, Tom lives in his own world he’d be asleep right now. Why are you contacting us exactly? How is Herbert?” Curiosity welled within her.
“He’s dead Ms Flowers. He died last Friday around noon. It was a tragic event.” For once he sounded somewhat emotional.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear it. How did he pass?” The news didn’t stun her as much as it should have.
“He was cleaved in two by a solar panel.”
“Excuse me… Did you say a solar panel?” There was no way he said solar panel.
“Yes, solar panel. It fell three stories and he was killed instantly while sitting in his pool below.”
“I can’t believe that is real.” Her words were forced and heavy and although she had never met Herbert she felt sorry for her half-brother. “What a way to go”, she added.
“Yes, Ms Flowers, it was most unpleasant. Consequently, you and Tom are to inherit his possessions which as of this moment include his house.”
“You don’t say.” She refused to feel any kind of happiness over this news considering the circumstances. Curiosity was again bubbling to the surface, “What did he do for a living? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“He was an environmental scientist. A damn good one.”
“My half-brother who was cleaved in two last Friday afternoon by a stray solar panel was an environmental scientist?” There was no way to check if she was dreaming.
“Yes, a damn good one.” Clearly this went over his head.
“I-I, I have no words”, and suddenly she was reassured she wasn’t dreaming by life and the screeching of the smoke alarms in the hall. Her bacon was well and truly cooked.