The Will Drop Cafe - Bitter Sweet
For several weeks after the funeral of his landlady, Saint Nicholas was occupied with cleaning the boarding house on Hell Street.Â Such was a humanitarian gesture for whomsoever the new owners were.Â They were undoubtedly stricken with grief for their dearly departed relative.Â Not that the cost was dear, for it had not cost a single cent to bury Priscilla Smyth-Brown.Â The cost of the plot had been paid for by a whip around of a frayed straw hat at the graveside.Â Thus the cost had been met by the God's Hitmen Motorcycle Club and the police SWAT squad.Â Priscilla, in death, had been a peacemaker between two groups of natural foes.
Of course, such would not have occurred except for She Who Commanded overruling Mongrel's suggestion that Miss Priscilla be cremated in the 44 gallon drum used for club barbecues.Â With this ruling also preventing him from suggesting the alternative that Miss Smyth-Brown's body be donated to medical science for research â€“ thus sparing medical science yet another problem to resolve.
Together, Saint Nicholas and That Bitch had toiled long hours to have the run-down boarding house as sparkling clean as was possible to get it.Â The establishment had also been cleared of accumulated junk; and Miss Priscilla's clothing had been donated to the op shop of the church that she had attended.Â All her medications, including her ginseng tea, had been flushed down the toilet, as had those belonging to Saint Nicholas.Â For he had vowed on the very night of the landlady's death to henceforth spurn all medication prescribed by his lady doctor â€“ whom he had not seen since.
It was self-evident to the saint that the medication you had to take did not lead to a longer and better quality of life.Â Miss Smyth-Brown was living proof of that, even though she was dead and buried.Â Conversely, medication which you enjoyed taking, such as skinny flat white coffee, did you the world of good.Â If Miss Priscilla had imbibed in such a beneficial tonic instead of the ginseng and gin toddy, she would probably still be alive â€“ in the ill-considered opinion of the saint.
Be that as it may, it was a moot point.Â Life goes on!Â And the boarding house was now ready to receive its new owner or owners.Â God acted swiftly to fill the vacuum.Â And a lawyer's letter arrived promptly in the mail for Saint Nicholas.Â It informed him that he was named in Miss Priscilla Smyth-Brown's last will and testament, to be read out in chambers of the aforesaid lawyer at 10.30 a.m. one week hence from the date on the letter of advice.
Saint Nicholas duly presented himself, and was welcomed by the aforesaid lawyer, Ms Svelte Legalbeagle.Â He was the last of the five beneficiaries to arrive.Â All the others were long distant relatives who had kept a long distance until the scent of money drew them like hungry lions to the kill.Â Even though they didn't pray for Miss Priscilla.Â But now all were seated with eyes fixed on Ms Legalbeagle.Â She cleared her throat and began reading.
"To my thin nephew Thomas, a chef who always doubted me and never ever invited me for a meal, I leave my lost recipe book.Â And my observation to never trust a skinny cook.
"To my godless goddaughter, Jezebel, whom never once visited me â€“ upon her I visit my old prayer book.Â The one with the missing pages.
"To my great niece Amnesiana, who not once remembered by birthday, I leave all the birthday cards she never sent me.
"To my great nephew, whose memory did not include me and whose name I've forgotten, I leave my thanks for the memory.
"To dear Nicholas, my longest boarder, confidante and good friend, I bequeath the following: the boarding house, with all its fittings, furnishings and other contents; all money saved at the Good Will Bank; and anything and everything else I might have overlooked to specifically mention.Â I also express by heartfelt thanks for his many kindnesses.Â May God bless you, Nicholas!
"And to the devil with the rest of you!
Signed, Priscilla Smyth-Brown."
The four long-lost relatives, choking on the bitter cup, stormed out â€“ and back into the bleak wilderness of the lost.
Ms Svelte Legalbeagle laid down the will and picked up the current statement of the Good Will Bank.Â She smiled engagingly at Saint Nicholas.
"It seems," she said in a husky voice, "that Miss Priscilla was very frugal and most circumspect regarding money over her long lifetime.Â Most prudent!Â Her ... no, I should say your bank balance at this precise point of time is $13,131,313.13 exactly."
The newest multi-millionaire blinked in astonishment.Â He'd always thought that his landlady walked on the very edge of the abyss of financial ruin, the way she'd agonize before spending a single cent.Â How sweet her foresight!
"Would you like to discuss any aspect of the will?" asked Ms Svelte Legalbeagle, leaning over the table to display her ample cleavage.Â Practiced fingers had deftly flicked undone the top of her blouse.Â "Perhaps I can be of satisfaction to you after a dry martini.Â There's a cheeky little boutique bistro newly opened just around the corner.Â You might have known it as The Will Drop CafÃ© before it was refurbished.
"Well, Ms â€¦" began her passport to enhancing the good life.
"Svelte, please, darling!" interjected the lawyer's husky voice, her number-crunching eyes positively gleaming with interest.Â She was currently between generous millionaires, and a third would add even more thrills.Â "Is there anything I can do for you?Â Anything at all to relieve your hard times?"
"No thank you," replied Saint Nicholas, rising to his feet.Â He didn't drink alcohol, at least not knowingly.Â And he thought he'd better double-check everything at the bank.Â "It's all a big shock!" he remarked as the disappointed lawyer showed him out of her chambers.Â "I'll go and have a yarn with That Bitch."
"Who?" said Ms Svelte Legalbeagle, startled.
"Mongrel's wife!" replied the saint.Â "He's one of the Hitmen I hang out with."
Ms Legalbeagle gasped at the brazen, cold-blooded assassin standing so dangerously near to her.Â Later, after several stiff, dry martinis she silently thanked God for saving her from becoming entwined with a killer.Â For the time being she would have to be satisfied with two benefactors generously entangling her.Â And she thanked the devil for that.Â She knew how to hedge her bets â€“ without prejudice.
Saint Nicholas simply didn't have to.
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes