When the registered package first arrived, Gideon set it on his kitchen table and stared at it for twenty minutes. He knew it was coming. The lawyer told him it would.
Two weeks earlier Gideon got a call from Handly, Percival and Dublewyz, LLC. They were the firm handling the estate of the late Finegan O’Keefe. Gideon didn’t remember that name. He always knew him as Uncle Fin.
Uncle Fin was friendly next door neighbour to Gideon when he was six years old. He only had four teeth and smelled of pipe tobacco. Uncle Fin told the funniest stories and kept Gideon well supplied with butterscotch candies. When Gideon was ten his family moved away.
For some reason Uncle Fin willed Gideon the registered envelope that now sat on his kitchen table.
“Are you going to open it or should I?”
Gideon swore and grasped at his chest. He didn’t hear Amber come home. She laughed and gave him a peck on the cheek.
“I’m gonna put a bell…” he started to say.
“Watch it. The next words out of your mouth could be your last,” warned Amber.
“…On the front door. That’s what I was going to say.”
Gideon tore open the envelope. He pulled our several old notebooks. On the cover of each was written ‘What is your favorite dessert?”
“What are they?” asked Amber.
“I’m not sure. But they’re a set. See? Volume one, two,” said Gideon as he shuffled through them stack of books, “Eleven.”
“Check this out. It’s a letter from the lawyers,” said Amber. She pulled out a loose letter in the envelope. “This is his prized collection. Apparently he went around asking famous people that question and wrote their answers in these notebooks.”
“They explain it in the letter. He did it because he felt like it,” said Amber.
“That’s crazy,” said Gideon. He flipped through volume one. “Listen to this. Grace Kelly’s favorite dessert was chocolate mousse. President Lyndon Johnson loved pecan pie.”
Amber looked over Gideon’s shoulder. “No way, really?”
“They all signed his book, too. There must be thousands of autographs in here. Some guy named Jimmy Stewart even took Uncle Fin out for apple pie,” said Gideon.
“Just think, this was his life’s work.”
“It’s got to be worth a fortune,” said Gideon. He grabbed volume eleven. Amber flipped through volume two.
“Nelson Mandela, vanilla ice cream. Bob Dylan, brownies. Hank Aaron, peach pie,” said Amber.
“OJ Simpson, angel food cake. That’s ironic,” said Gideon. “Do you know what this means? We hit the jackpot.”
Gideon’s voice trailed off as he turned to the last page. He looked at Amber in shock.
“What is it?”
“It’s a note for me.”
“What’s it say?”
Gideon read. “Gideon, these books are the sum total of sixty plus years of effort and toil. Sad, but true. I pass them on to you with a couple of stipulations. One, you aren’t allowed to carry on where I left off. This is my hobby. Get your own. Two, you are not, I repeat, not allowed to sell these off. I know what they’re worth, and it’s a lot more than money. The most important things in life always are. Hopefully your mom and dad taught you that. If not, consider this your first lesson. Just one more thing. When you’re done looking at these, put them away in a safe spot then go live your life. Don’t waste it. Do something with it. You’re Uncle Fin.”
“Wow,” said Amber.
“Well, that’s a waste,” said Gideon. He grabbed the notebooks and tossed them in the trash. “Wanna get something to eat?”
“Great, I’m starving,” said Amber. “I’m in the mood for dessert.”