By Mark W. Meier
“One more question, Your Honor.” Kiel didn’t want to trap Jameson Boynton, but had to be sure. “Does your uncle sail?”
“No. He’s afraid of the water. Never even uses his yacht. Now, if you’re ready, I have a full docket today.”
Kiel’s heart sank. He made a note to check on David Boynton, and out of the corner of his eye he noticed Howe leaning back in his seat with a smirk. “I’m ready, Your Honor.”
“Then let’s get on with it, Mr. Kiel. What do you have?”
Regrouping, Kiel said, “Judge, I have a copy of the document allegedly signed by Michael Grambic. But I witnessed Victor Howe sign and date them.” He lifted the packet of papers in question.
Boynton finished making a few notes. “Do you have something with Grambic’s signature? Something you know for sure is his signature?”
“Your Honor, we can only assume a driver’s license from his sophomore year in college would be his authentic writing.” Kiel sorted through his paperwork and produced the one with a photocopy of a young Michael Grambic’s license. “Also, when he inherited from his father he hired me to produce his first will, which he signed in my presence.” He added a ten-sheet packet to other page.
The judge turned to the bailiff. “Bring them to me, please.”
Boynton looked over the papers, flipping from one to the next to the next. “Seems like there is a question of a valid signature, Mr. Allen.”
“Perhaps, Your Honor.” Allen produced his own packet of documents. “However, it was standard operating procedure for Mr. Grambic to have his executive assistant sign in his place. Here is an abbreviated example of signatures over the years. The top page lists when signatures changed, correlated with hiring dates for new executive assistants.”
After the bailiff brought the papers, the judge rifled through them. “Mr. Kiel, on the surface of things it seems as if Mr. Grambic routinely allowed his people to sign for him.”
“Perhaps, Your Honor.” Kiel shaded his normal tone a bit closer to Allen’s statement. “However, Mr. Grambic always called me to approve of the will before sending me the signed copy. This time, in my presence, he’d expressed rejection of the will which was recently probated.”
Boynton looked down at the two attorneys. “Mr. Kiel, I think you’ve established a basis to contest this latest will. Do you have standing?”
Kiel produced his contract with Amy Drabbs and handed it to the bailiff. “The day of his death, Mr. Grambic instructed me to produce a will which named his cousin, Amy Drabbs, his major beneficiary. If Mr. Grambic had lived another few hours he’d have signed a different will. Ms. Drabbs has retained my services to contest the probated will.”
Boynton looked over the contract. “Do you have a copy of the prospective will?”
Kiel handed the sixty-three pages to the bailiff. The judge barely glanced at the document. “Where is Ms. Drabbs, Mr. Kiel?”
“She was involved in an airplane crash in Bowling Green, Your Honor. She’s expected to arrive in Savannah later today.”
“Mr. Allen.” Boynton gave Kiel’s opponent an even stare. “It seems there is reason to suspect the probated will of the late Michael Grambic was based on faulty information.” The judge signed a document before continuing. “Your client’s property and finances are frozen, with the exception of the normal operating expenses associated with Grambic Tiles. We’ll schedule a hearing for October nineteenth. In the meantime, see if you can come to some kind of understanding with Ms. Drabbs. With the totals involved, however, I’m not optimistic.”
Boynton gaveled the hearing closed.
Bathin had a good read on the situation in Savannah. He knew a great deal of cash would soon be needed. He summoned a senior imp in search of a name and identity.
“Cash.” Bathin knew the imp might think of that as a name. So be it. If its mission succeeded, the name could be confirmed. “I need you to identify homes in America with stashes of money. Dispatch underlings to take a single fifty dollar bill from the biggest hoards. They won’t be missed, and I need the money.”
The imp nodded its misshapen head, then vanished.
If Cash failed, it could always be demoted to a lesser imp and forget the incident. It would never remember the incident again, even if later promoted.
Bathin appeared – invisible – in a department store.
Even the store’s security camera would never pick up how a briefcase vanished.
Amy was mildly surprised when the doctor released her.
“Medically, there’s no reason to hold you.” He signed a discharge form, handed it to a nurse, and turned back to Amy. “The FAA investigators might want to talk to you, but since they haven’t told me to keep you here. . . .” His voice trailed off as he shrugged.
“Great!” Amy sat up and her ribs reminded her she’d been in a serious accident.
The nurse moved in as the doctor left the room to continue his rounds. “That’ll teach you to be more careful. Broken ribs aren’t something to take lightly.” She removed the last of the sensors and turned off equipment. “By the way, a Mr. Kiel asked if I could get an Uber to take you to the airport. He has a helicopter standing by to take you to Savannah.”
Amy grinned, glad to have someone like that lawyer on her side. “Mr. Kiel thinks of everything.”
“So I should make the call?” The nurse pulled open a drawer holding some new clothes. “The clothes you were wearing aren’t in any condition to be worn. Mr. Kiel took care of that, too.”
Holding up a button-down shirt, Amy estimated it would be a little baggy. “Kinda big for me, isn’t it?”
“Has to fit over your bandaging, so we picked them one size bigger than what you had before. Leave the bindings on for at least a week. No showers or baths.”
Amy wrinkled her nose. “Sponges and wipe downs for the time being?”
“Yes.” The nurse pulled the drapery closed around the door area. “Want help getting dressed, or should I leave it to you?”
Amy bent to put on her socks, groaned, and sat back up. “I better have some help.”
The nurse smiled. “I’ll call for Uber when you’re filling out forms.” She took the socks from Amy.
Helicopters typically flew much lower than fixed-wing aircraft. Baraqijal searched the countryside of Tennessee for hunters. A poacher north of Chattanooga lined up a shot to take down a deer. As he squeezed the trigger a grouse flushed.
The poacher’s shot flew straight up toward a passing helicopter.
In the middle of the night Austin woke, remembered a ruling from a Michigan appeals court. “That’s it!” In moments, though, she was asleep again.
As she left the Dublin hotel the next morning she didn’t even remember having an epiphany.
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