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Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament [ VOTING ]  (Read 6026 times)

WHAM

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What could be even more lousy than dying? Dying and knowing that your collection of vintage Star Wars Pez -dispensers is going to your least favourite son! Or maybe someone else dying and leaving said collection to someone who doesn't respect them. Namely: not you!

Well, I guess there could be a lot of things, actually, but man is inheritance complicated and annoying!

And so, this fortnight's theme is 'Last Will and Testament'.

Criteria is simple enough:

1) Valid entrants must contain the words 'last will and testament' within their story.

2) Story must be related to a person recently dead or soon to be dead, ie. the 'Last Will and Testament' is relevant and timely to the story in some way, shape or form.

Deadline for your entry is end of Monday July 18th.

Submissions will be judged on following criteria (with voters alloting one point per category):
> Best character
> Best setting
> Best writing style / technique
> Most interesting last will and testament
« Last Edit: 18 Jul 2016, 22:52 by WHAM »
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Whilst trapped on a dessert island I, Thomas McKlopipus the Third, hereby write my last will and testament.  Since I have no worldly possessions this will be not a list of inheritance items, but rather an explanation of the secrets of this island.  I have no living relatives that I am aware of, so my inheritance goes to whosoever finds this missive.

You probably read the “dessert island” and assumed I had merely inserted an extra “s” by mistake, but in fact no – this island is full of desserts.  This is why I have stayed alive so long without any visible sources of food – it is also why I am probably going to die of raging diabetes rather than starvation.   My permanent hyperglycaemia has given me a rather sweet outlook on life, but my diet is bad for the blood, not to mention the teeth…

Still, without doubt this strange island’s ability to conjure up trifle and banana splits on demand saved my life.  I was shipwrecked and suffering with sunstroke when I discovered a bowl in the middle of the deep ravine just south of the tallest palm tree in a cluster of 6 (all other clusters are of 2 or 3, so you will soon find it).  I looked at this bowl, so out of place here, and began imagining it filled to the brim with chicken and chips.  Alas, this resulted in nothing.  Being a chap of noble bearing who had been brought up right and proper, I uttered no oath, curse or cuss; rather I just said “oh sugar”.  Strangely, when I looked down, there was sugar in the bowl.
 
I actually went on to live on just sugar for a couple of days, supplemented by rain water that had gathered in a small rocky formation (you will find that I have since then made several water barrels, as there is no indigenous water on the island, but a decent rainfall occurs every couple of weeks).  It did not occur to me that anything  else could be made, and in truth I felt that I was probably hallucinating the whole thing.

Then one day I was near that bowl, not thinking about food, but reciting a story I had been told during my youth about a bear who loved honey.  Well, when I never went to the bowl to ask for more sugar, I found it full of honey!  Intrigued, I said “ice cream” and … well, you can guess what happened.

Ever since then I have been on an island with no food (these palm trees don’t even grow coconuts!) feasting on apple pie, rhubarb crumble, Eton Mess, profiteroles or whatever else I can think of.  Sometimes I feel that my knowledge is rather limited in the realm of pastries and puddings, but I have done fairly well over the years, and even invented some recipes of my own (you really must try my Pineapple Cointreau Dumping Bomb!) – yes, alcohol could be made by the bowl, ANYTHING could be made, but only as long as it closely enough pertained to desserts.  It may sound like a dream to have an endless procession of puddings to eat, but you have no idea how much I have longed for roast beef with horseradish, accompanied by roast potatoes, veg and gravy… alas, it is not to be.  I did try to fool the bowl by wishing for roast beef sundae, but… well, let’s just say that I never asked for it again.  The nearest thing to proper food I got was a chimichunga.  Alas, it does not understand that cheese and biscuits can be counted as a dessert.

I have no idea how or why this device exists, who created it, or if it will work only for me.  But whoever finds and reads this will, I suggest trying it, and if it works for you, set up the island as a tourist attraction with the best cake shop in the world – and you won’t even have to pay for ingredients – or indeed a Pastry Chef!  If only I were not to perish here…

Wait, is that a ship I see on the horizon?  Maybe I’d better hide this document…




(This story was sort of inspired by Cat and Miez's MAGS game "Toffee Trouble in Creamville!")

Mandle

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/-\  633|<5  \/\/1[_[_

Because I was known as such a geek in life then so shall I be known as in death:

Being of sound mind and body I henceforth bequeath to the recipients these funds from my vast wealth of $11,354,230:

To my wife Alecia goes: An amount of dollars equal to the number of Troy Ounces in One Troy Pound multiplied by the fifteenth number in the Fibonacci Sequence and then multiplied by the number of states of Australia.

To my son Roy goes: An amount of dollars equal to the answer to the question of Life, The Universe and Everything raised to the power of: (the number of all the black wild cards in a standard pack of UNO (divided by the number of yellow Draw Two cards from the same standard deck))

To my daughter Henrietta goes: An amount of dollars equal to the number of exactly $40,000 plus the year Stanley Kubrick was born and then multiplied by the "How Old Is The Earth" number as stated by Google and expressed as a fraction of billions of years to the third decimal place (and then rounded to the nearest dollar)

In closing:

I wish for the remainder of my funds to be buried with me as a tribute to the most wonderful part of life I ever found in my many years of existence.
« Last Edit: 05 Jul 2016, 01:13 by Mandle »

Mandle

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So...it's kind of a "Citizen Kane" mystery...What was the enigmatic "Rosebud" that this very rich man felt he needed to honour in his last will?

And if anyone can complete it without (or despite) using the links: Then you need to write a similar will with the same title!

(Spoilers in [ hide ] captions please)
« Last Edit: 04 Jul 2016, 17:33 by Mandle »

WHAM

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Oooh! Excellent, we have liftoff!
And imaginative liftoff to boot. Well done CaptainD and Mandle, let's see if more folks will take on the challenge.
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
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Adeel

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I simply love the theme this time. Wonderful work, WHAM!
-

WHAM

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Report in, writerts!
Any awesome entries being created in the dark vaults of people's minds?
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Goddamnit, I have OCD and had to do Mandle's will hunting game...

Spoiler: ShowHide

Wife: $43,920
Son: $3,111,696
Daughter: $190,479
Total: $3,346,095
Self: $8,008,135

Must've been a crap marriage hehe.

Anyway don't have time for a good will hunting right now (haha! I worked it in!) so have this simple one:

I leave to whomever has accumulated the greatest net worth at the current moment:

The combined net worth of the fifty richest individuals on the Forbes 500 List.
« Last Edit: 16 Jul 2016, 03:32 by SilverSpook »

WHAM

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Goddamnit, I have OCD and had to do Mandle's will hunting game...

I think he specifically requested that you [ hide ] the responses so as not to spoil them for others.
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
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DBoyWheeler

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I think I'll give this a try.  But in this case, the story from the point of view of the heir (I'm amazed no one tried that yet).

***

My name is Crysta Maria São-João, but you can just call me Crysta.

I was walking down the street when I met a middle-aged man in a business suit.

He asked me, "Are you Crysta Maria São-João?"

I meekly replied, "Yes, sir."

He gently took me by the hand and said, "I need you to come with me.  It's urgent."

I went with him and we went to--to my shock--a funeral home.  My blood ran cold when I saw whose funeral it was on the sign: Tomasia São-João, who was my aunt from my father's side.  I knew she was ill, but never knew till now it was terminal.

The funeral was kind of a traditional Portuguese funeral, since my family and I were of a Portuguese background--the European kind, not Brazilian, but I did have friends who were of Brazil.  But I digress.

After the funeral services, the man took me aside and said, "I hope I am not being rude, but there is now the matter of your late aunt's estate."

I was the only one other than the man in another room.

He cleared his throat and explained, "Since your other relatives had little interest in this inheritance, if any, Miss Tomasia left all to you.  Permit me to play this DVD--it's sort of a video 'living will', you might say."

Soon, the video began, and the title screen said:

"The Last Will and Testament of Tomasia Gabriela São-João"

After that title screen, my aunt Tomasia showed.  She then spoke:

"Olá, my dear sobrinha(1) Crysta.  If you are watching this, then I must be on my way to paraíso(2) now.

"You have always been very close to me.  I do not play favorites, since that would be wrong, but you have shown to have a closer bond to me, than the other nieces and nephews.

"As we know, I have created a wonderful makeup and jewelry company, and a lot of the public loved it.  The other nephews kinda felt awkward being leader of it, and the other nieces seemed a little reluctant to learn--but you showed your desire to continue the tradition, and even add in a few creative elements of your own.

"Thereto, my entire company and fortune--a very vast fortune--I leave to you.

"Aside from an inheritance, I want to give you a final piece of advice--don't die alone as I have.  Find a man to spend the rest of your life with.  I know, it may be difficult, but it is not impossible.  You can do it.  I know you can."

After the video will ended, the man briefly gave me the information to Aunt Tomasia's wealth, the keys to the mansion, important information of the company, and so forth.

But, her final piece of advice was another thing I was contemplating... I was considering looking for romance prior to learning of my aunt's passing, but her warning to not die alone as she did, this made it even more important.  For now, though, it was time to reflect on Aunt Tomasia's life.

Footnotes:
(1) "sobrinha" = "niece"
(2) "paraíso" = "paradise" or "heaven"

kconan

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #10 on: 14 Jul 2016, 21:38 »
Dr. Thaddeus Prescott’s Lawyer (as well as close friend and general factotum), Richard Livingstone, sat down at the ornate zebrawood desk and stared at the 64K screen built into the wall on the other side of the office.  He nodded, moved both a fancy tanzanite cigar ashtray and antique globe aside, and then lowered his head slightly to match the level of the hidden microphone that was just below the monitor.  Richard said, “Sir, assuming you have no objections, I’ll now go talk to our assembled guests.”  There was no audible response and so Richard Livingstone stood up and stretched.  After working his neck, he glanced at his IWC pilot’s watch, flattened a few creases on the front of his Brioni suit, and then went into the adjacent Prescott hotel conference room.

Richard cleared his throat from behind the marble podium and said, “Welcome.  We’ve all mourned Dr. Thaddeus Prescott in our own way.  He…was…an amazing man to say the least.  Dr. Prescott – my good friend Thad – is widely considered to be the father of modern biorobotics and cybernetics.  He singlehandedly created a new field of study called biomechatronics.  And my friend Thad w–“ a tousled haired gentleman in the front row broke in with, “My good long-winded man, is this a eulogy or a reading of a will?”  Richard glared at his interrupter, and said, “Yes of course…I’m sorry to have kept you all waiting earlier.  I will now impart Dr. Prescott’s last will and testament via video.”  A large cameo shaped monitor in the front of the conference room flickered on to reveal Thaddeus Prescott’s face.  It spoke, “Greetings friends and family.  Sadly I’ve moved on to another plan of existence, and therefore I must choose who inherits my estate…”

Blake Prescott half-listened as his Father’s visage droned on.  He knew only immediate family would be in the running for his Dad’s one hundred billion dollar estate.  Dr. Prescott’s coworkers and distant friends were only in attendance in the hopes they could chisel off a piece of the fortune.  Tiffany Prescott shifted in her chair up front and eagerly waited for her famous father to mention her name.

“…and so anyone who isn’t in my immediate family can leave the room.  Simply put, no portion of my estate will go to any individuals or group of individuals who don’t reside at Prescott Manor,” continued the face of Dr. Prescott.  Disappointed murmurs and rumbling could be heard as the majority of the attendees dejectedly filed out the back of the room.  The tousled haired heckler was clenching his fists as he shuffled to the exit.  Chloe Prescott thought it was odd that the recording wasn’t stopped or paused…It actually appeared like her Husband – or her Husband’s face rather – was waiting for people to leave.

Five of the attendees remained:  Dr. Prescott’s disgruntled son Blake, his reasonably well liked daughter Tiffany, his current bipolar wife/widow Chloe, an ex-trophy-wife Ivläna (ex-wife number four who still resided at Prescott Manor due to prenuptial agreement stipulation), and his much younger brother Dirk, who just recently retired from the senior circuit of professional bodybuilding and moved back in to the family mansion.

Dr. Prescott resumed, “Ahh yes, my loving family…You will reside here at the Prescott hotel for the next five days.  If any of you leaves this facility during that time, then you will be forfeiting your share of the estate.  In addition to being luxurious and comfortable, this particular Prescott hotel is state of the art and really unlike any other building in the World in nearly every way.  Everything, and I mean everything, is controlled via central computer.  Anyway, I will specify a sole heir at the conclusion of the five day period.  Mr. Livingstone will show you to your rooms.”  The face disappeared from the recessed cameo monitor.  Dirk Prescott thought it was strange how his Brother’s eyes would sometimes lock on to one of the family in what he gathered was a prerecorded message.  Blake looked at Richard and asked, “How can he name a sole heir and know that the person hadn’t left the hotel?”  Richard smiled and replied, “Every eventuality has been planned for in great detail young master Blake.  Now, the holobutlers will show you to your rooms.”


Richard Livingstone once again sat down at the ornate desk, and said, “Blake’s room on-screen” and a panoramic view of Blake Prescott’s room was displayed on the monitor.  Blake was looking through the wardrobe which had been prepared well in advance.

Richard ordered, “Dirk’s room” and the monitor revealed Dirk Prescott pinning down and choking Chloe Prescott on his bed.  In a panic Richard exclaimed, “Sir!  Sir!  We have a prob-“ and then he stopped himself as he noticed his boss’s wife clearly enjoying it.  She had a wicked smile on her face.  Thaddeus Prescott’s right-hand man shook his well-groomed head while he silently debated the implications, and then the disembodied voice of his best friend and employer boomed, “Not a surprising turn of events, nor is it smoking gun evidence of anything other than an tryst at this stage.  Leave our mystery to me, my friend.”  Richard glanced back at the monitor to see Dirk flexing his impressive quadriceps and otherwise posing while Chloe was donning a pink gimpsuit, and he said “Roomview off” and the monitor went blank. 

With a sigh Richard opened a drawer, pulled out two coroner’s reports, and set them down next to each other on top of the desk.  The official report stated “Death by misadventure” as the cause of death, while the unofficial version claimed “Internal hemorrhaging due to poisoning by yew tree seeds.”  Richard, once again, poured over the unofficial report looking for clues and said in hushed tone, “I hope you know what you are doing sir.”


Tiffany Prescott yawned and fell back with a thump onto her bed.  She looked around for real windows, but only saw one of those faux cityscape sim-windows that were becoming popular which displayed happy, idealistic depictions of what a resident would want to see outside as opposed to the reality which included toxic smog, angry commuters, and hideous holographic advertisements everywhere.  She got up and walked over to the monitor, and suddenly old home movies of Tiffany with her Dad began playing on the room’s main monitor.  Tiffany watched as Thaddeus Prescott gently placed her in a crib.  The time they both went fly fishing at a fishery (no fish remain in the wild) was next, and then it was on to Tiffany and Blake, along with their father, building a tree fort together.  She watched herself as a child hit her thumb with a hammer which had caused a crying fit, and then her Dad had said, “Remain stoic honey” while patting her on the back…Tiffany started to tear up from mixed emotions, and then she turned around to see a holoavatar of Thaddeus Prescott sitting on the leather couch in her hotel room.  She yelled, “Richard, please stop this!”  The holoavatar smiled and slowly shook his head.  The daughter of the World’s wealthiest cybernetics tycoon paused, and then said, “Dad?  It can’t be…”  The hologram on her couch replied, “It is, in the flesh.  Actually, not really in the flesh.  The bottom line is that my consciousness transfer program works.  We got the kinks ironed out on those prisoners and now…Ok, I’m getting sidetracked.  Look, I know you always thought of me as strict and emotionally cold…”  Through tears Tiffany squeaked out, “You were…are,” as her dad continued, “…but that does NOT justify murder.”  He went on, “I know some rough details of what happened, and I’m aware that while you know something about this - you are not a ringleader.  I also know that we had some good times and you, at least at one point, seemed to love me.  Fill in the gaps in my understanding of my murder.  Explain in great detail who poisoned me and how, and I promise there will be no repercussions for you beyond a reduction in your inheritance.  Make no mistake Tiffany, anyone directly involved will be given no quarter whether they are family or not so choose your words and precisely who is implicated carefully.”  Thaddeus Prescott and his daughter glared at each other, and Tiffany dropped her gaze.  She then joined her father on the couch.

Tiffany composed herself and began, “We had good times.  But you were barely there, and when you were around, there wasn’t much love.  Perhaps being a scientist, you treated me and Blake like experiments rather than human children.  I'm aware that isn't a valid excuse for what happened to you.  Anyways…Dad, I told them to keep me out of it!”  She paused, glanced down at her hands, and continued, “I’m not exactly sure who the mastermind was, but I do know that…”

Blake passed through the beam door of Dirk Prescott’s room to find Dirk in a barbarian warrior getup complete with greatsword (which appeared to be real) standing over Chloe Prescott, who was dressed in a medieval bar slut costume lying on the couch.  Dirk cooed, “Grognak like wench.  Wench goooooood.”  Dirk then looked up and said, “Hey knucklehead, how about some notice before you come barging in here?”  Blake countered with, “When you idiots are finished playing faery tale dress up for your own sick and depraved private renaissance faire, we have something pressing to discuss in a secure location.”  Chloe Prescott replied, “Blow me Blake,” and then leaned over the JoyVent™ built-in to the couch and said, “methamphetamine ultra” and inhaled fumes with a big dumb smile on her face.  Dirk said, “Ease up on that babes.”  He then eyeballed Blake up-and-down and said, “So what’s going on that’s so important?”  Thaddeus Prescott’s only known biological son said, “He’s back, and probably spying on us.” 

They all crowded into the bathroom.  Blake said, “Who knows if this is secure, but the bathrooms in Dad’s other hotels were off-the-grid.  This one was recently built and is a prototype for the future of Prescott Hotels, so I don’t know if…Wait, what is that stench?  Where is the sanibot?”  Chloe recoiled and Dirk admitted, “Well it IS a bathroom, and the JoyVent™ is off…Look, I’m not in the mood for your shenanigans junior.  Get to the point and fast.”  Blake waved him off and said, “Have either of you talked to Tiffany or Dad’s plastic freak of an ex?”  Dirk angrily shook his head as he flexed in the wall reflectotron.  Blake continued, “Alright, so I think Dad either copied or transferred himself into the central computer of this hotel and he (or it) might know that we were somehow involved in his demise, which explains the weird game with the inheritance.  If we can find the main terminal for the hotel then maybe we could, I don’t know, delete him or something.”  Dirk looked around and said, “Uhhh…I told you that my big brother was a great guy and he shouldn’t be horribly murdered and uhhh-“ and was interrupted by Chloe who cackled, “Oh save it Conan, even if Thad is listening there is no way he’ll buy that line of zebrashit.”  Blake said, “Sure I got the poison with money from Chloe, but you actually did the deed Uncle Dirk.  You put it in his protein shakes, not me or anyone else.”  Dirk nervously looked around and hissed, “Be careful.”  Chloe shuffled over to the bathroom beam door.  Blake said, “You know I’m young enough to have waited out the inheritance, there was no need to rush the matter Uncle Dirk!”  The big bodybuilder unsheathed his greatsword, but couldn’t maneuver due to the tight confines of the bathroom and Blake bolted through the bathroom beam door and out into the living room followed by Chloe who tackled him.

Sprawled out on the hotel room floor, Blake and Chloe Prescott noticed a holoavatar sitting on the couch.  They were rising to their feet as the realization hit them that this was Thaddeus Prescott.  Dirk charged out of the bathroom and began wildly swinging his greatsword through the hologram to no avail.  Thaddeus said, “I will endlessly ponder whether we are actually related” as the sword continued to swoosh through the hologram until it finally cleaved a slice of full grain ostrich leather out of the couch.  A brief but extremely loud piercing noise resonated through the apartment’s auralwoofers, causing everyone’s ears to ring to the point where they collapsed on the floor in a heap.  Dirk jumped back up to face his brother, but was tripped up by a small hooverbot which crashed into his right ankle and he went flying back down causing his humongous sword to go sailing through the air and into Chloe Prescott.

Thaddeus explained, “I find it quite ironic that seeds of the yew were used to poison me, as it is known to be the sacred tree of transformation, rebirth, and immortality in religious circles.  The yew can even grow new trunks from within the root bole, which is somewhat analogous to what I was forced to do to myself.”

Chloe Prescott passed out from blood loss due to the greatsword buried in her back.  Blake and Dirk exchanged worried glances from the floor, and then looked back at Thaddeus Prescott who sighed and said, “You know Chloe was my least favorite wife, even before she plotted my murder.”  Dirk army crawled to the front beam door, tested the beam with a finger and was rewarded with a sizzle and the loss of the tip of his digit.  He yelped, and Thaddeus offered, “Hey at least the wound is cauterized.”  Dirk then ran over to the foodprinter, picked it up, and hurled it at the sim-window where it exploded in a shower of metal and plastic.  Blake said, “It’s not a real window much like you don’t have a real brain” and then looked at his Dad and awkwardly queried, “So…what are your plans for me?”  Thaddeus said, “You will pay Blake, but your consciousness will be transferred.  Whereas I’m totally ending my evil brother and sicko wife.”  Blake gawked in horror as the room filled with magenta colored gas from the couch JoyVent™.


Richard Livingstone saw the visage of his former boss congratulate Ivläna on being the primary heir of his fortune, and so he handed the moolahchip to her for what would be the richest inheritance in World history.  Of course, Ivläna had to set down her miniature cyberdog (AKA Colonel Sprinkles) and spiked appletini first before she could take the moolahchip from him.  She wasn’t solely thinking of the money at that moment, as Ivläna was mentally imagining her body as an anatomy chart and considering which areas to enhance next via cosmetic surgery.  Tiffany Prescott observed the proceedings from a lonely corner of the room while clutching her only piece of the estate, which was the deed to her Dad’s smallest guest house.

The sanibot slowly rolled down the hall, and then turned right into a bathroom.  It switched into hover mode, and then hovered through an opaque beam stall door and stopped directly in front of the offending toilet.  A very much aware but ultimately helpless Blake Prescott, seeing through the eyes of the sanibot, heard servo motors whirring and buzzing as he witnessed the plumber attachment arm unfolding out into an auger.

Baron

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #11 on: 16 Jul 2016, 02:51 »
I'm intending to enter after I get back from being banned.  So don't close the comp without me! :shocked:

Mandle

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #12 on: 16 Jul 2016, 08:38 »
Cheers to Silver Spook for figuring out the puzzle in my entry, and for letting me know that it was actually solvable as I'm thinking to perhaps use it in a game in the future...

Sinitrena

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #13 on: 16 Jul 2016, 23:18 »
Zacharias Stern‘s Last Will

„I‘m sorry,“ the lawyer said, shrugging, and shook Zarah‘s hand, „I wish I could have done more...”

He sounded insincere to her, but at the same time: “You told us our chances were slim at best.”

It was true. In all honesty, they didn’t expect to win. How could they? They had no proof, except for the word of their mother, who had heard it from her own mother as a child and was reminded of it when she died a few month ago at age 89. But her last will and testament only asked for closure, begging her children and grandchildren to do what they could to get the painting back. But there was nothing legally binding there and no proof, just a hint where proof might be found. But they couldn’t get access to it. And even if they did, that was just the first step. Besides, to get access to their proof, they needed to prove that there was something pertaining their case there. It was complicated.

With a last shrug of his shoulders, the lawyer turned around and walked out of the courthouse and most likely out of their lives as well. What use was he to them anyway? They were out of money, out of ideas, and the lawyer was – quite frankly – not the charitable type and helped them out of the kindness of his heart. Had they won, he would have earned a good deal of money and it was likely that he would have received some very lucrative publicity. It was a good incentive, better than the the fact that it was morally right. But with the decision of the judge, even though they still had time to appeal, there was nothing in it for him any more.

“I hate them,” Greg suddenly spat and indicated the two man standing on the other end of the gallery. One was the curator of the museum they had sued, the other an expert on the preservation of historic documents. It was his testimony that had taken any chance from them to ever convince the judge that they should have a look at the paper. Even before, it was unlikely. They had nothing to prove that the second page – on the backside of the first – had any information on the painting that rightfully belonged to them. But the last will and testament of Zacharias Stern was slightly more than 200 years old and nearly destroyed in a fire in 1938. Pure chance had saved it, and now it was protected under heavy glass and, according to the expert, too brittle to remove and turn around. Besides, the last sentence of the first page read: All paintings that were not sold during my lifetime I leave to the Margraviate of Baden,

Zarah and Greg had argued that the sentence wasn’t finished, that there was a comma at the end, but that didn’t change anything. The testament was too brittle, the judge argued, and there was no other proof that their family ever owned “Girl with Flowing Hair.” All other documents were lost, until it was sold at an auction to an anonymous collector some years ago. There was no indication that the sale was illegal. Even if Zacharias Stern left left the painting to their family once upon a time, who could say that it really stayed with them until the Nazis confiscated it, as they claimed? He was sorry, the judge said, but their was nothing he could do.

They were all sorry: their lawyer, the judge, the curator, everyone. It didn’t change anything.

“I hate them,” Greg said again when his sister didn’t react to it the first time.

“It’s not their fault. They didn’t take the “Girl” from us,” Zarah tried to appease him, but deep down she felt the same.

It was irrational, but for them it felt a bit like their property all over again, even though they both weren’t born yet when it happened. Not even their mother was alive back then. She had never seen it, but she remembered her mother talking about it. Greg and Zarah only knew it from the high gloss photograph that was posted on the website of the auction house.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Zarah said after a while, while they both watched the curator and expert leave the building.

“There must be something,” Greg said, “We can’t leave it at that. You know as well as I do: It was grandma’s last wish...”

“It was so important to her that she even put it in her will, I know. But what can we do? Appeal? We’ll lose again. Try to find the anonymous collector and beg him to just give us a painting worth 1 000 000 £? I’m sure that’ll work out great. We don’t even know who he is and the auction house won’t just give us his name, not without proof. You know that as well as I do. So what are we supposed to do? Steal the will to prove that we told the truth?”

“If we have to.”

*

In Benjamin’s experience, there were very few people who regularly visited the same museum. There were art students, who sketched the masters to improve their technique, there were students of art history, who worked on a paper, there were patrons of the museum, who were actually interested in art and not just in boasting about it in front of their friends, and there were teachers, who visited about once or twice per year, every time with a new class. This woman was nothing of that. She wasn’t a patron – he knew all of their patrons – and not a teacher – there was no class. She didn’t have a sketchbook with her, so she wasn’t an art student, and she was interested in what was probably the most boring exhibit they had in their collection, with nearly no historic value at all.

As a matter of fact, the will was only on exhibition because it was written by a Jewish artist and the museum held a retrospective on Jewish art. They didn’t even have any of his more famous works, just three chalk drawings of the same motif, studies for an oil painting that was considered lost. The will itself was what you expected a will to be: some sentences about the love for his wife, one telling the reader he wished his children had survived him and then a bit about money and their house – nothing really noteworthy to a student of history, especially because there was a facsimile printed in the catalogue of the exhibition.

This was why Ben noticed this woman who kept looking back at the same display case over and over again. From time to time, she just stopped in the middle of whatever else she was doing and just stared at it for the fraction of a second. She did this for at least the sixth day in a row. He found it strange that his mind immediately classified what she was doing as staring. It wasn’t like she looked at nothing else or stood in front of it the whole time. But her eyes drifted to it, attracted to it like a stranded fish to water, and so did her feet whenever she meant to leave. She stopped in front of it for a short moment, then turned around, shook her head and walked away with brisk and fast steps. And even then, even when she seemed to flee from it, she did not entirely succeed at not looking back.

Ben started to notice this pattern in her behaviour when he started to watch her after the third day. She always came by at about the same time - late afternoon or early evening when most office workers were done for the day – when Ben was just in the middle of the last guided tour he gave.

She was a good-looking woman, which was probably why he noticed her in the first place. She always wore a business suit. Her hair was cropped short, styled into spikes and coloured pink and rose, so that she looked a bit like a a chequered hedgehog. Her round, friendly face with small eyes and a lovely button nose added to the impression. She was about 6 to 9 years older than him, meaning she was in her late twenties or early thirties. In short, she was someone easy to notice and difficult to forget.

When his tour ended earlier than usual the next day, Ben decided to follow this woman. He sat down on the small bench in the middle of the room she liked to visit and waited. A small part of his conscience told him he should inform the museum’s security but he dismissed the thought as soon as it came to him. They should have noticed her on their own. She acted far too suspicious for anyone paying attention to overlook, but then again, the security guards were mostly there to discourage overzealous visitors and exited children from getting too close to the exhibits. After all who would be so stupid to steal anything from a museum in the middle of the day with hundreds of witnesses all around?

She took the subway at the next station and changed trains once. She was nervous. She kneaded her hands and kept looking back over her shoulders, as if she knew that she was followed. But when her eyes glided over Ben, they kept on moving, no recognition and no fear in them.

The subway was crowded, as one would expect at this time of day, but Ben kept as far away from her as he dared. He stayed close to the doors though, and watched those she had used and would use again to leave.

It was surprisingly easy. Ben had never followed someone before. He hadn’t thought he would ever need to do this. But, if he was honest to himself, he didn’t need to do it now either. It wasn’t like he had no other ideas what could and should be done in this situation. He could just leave her be, and part of him told him to do exactly that. He ignored it. He was curious. He wanted to know why someone so obviously untalented in criminal behaviour would think about stealing a fairly unimportant but old and sensitive historic document. That was what she was doing, wasn’t it? He certainly thought so, and it made the woman particularly interesting for him.

Apparently, she lived in the suburbs. She didn’t own her own house, but maybe an apartment. The house was small, only large enough for four or five flats, unlike the high rise he himself lived in as a poor student of art history and philosophy with over 100 tenants.

It was the middle of winter and the day was dark and clouded. Wind blew through his black-coloured hair that hung deep over his face and eyes. He waited in the shadows of a nearby tree while she unlocked the entrance door.

The first thing she did when she entered the house was turning on the lights on the stairwell, the second was probably checking her letterbox. Ben watched and waited while she walked up the steps. Then, when she turned on the lights in her own apartment and told him where she lived, he studied the house more carefully. She lived on the second floor and had a single balcony off to the side of the house. So did the apartment underneath hers. For now, Ben had learned all he wanted to know.

*

Zarah couldn’t tell what had made her so nervous. It was instinct, pure animalistic instinct that warned her of some undefined danger. But whenever it washed to the surface of her consciousness, she repressed it as soon as possible. Of course she was nervous, she told herself. Who wouldn’t be in her situation? It wasn’t every day that a call centre agent and a plumber decided to rob a museum.

But her nervousness had flared up the day before. Maybe it was because they got closer to the actual execution of their plan, but when she thought about it, she actually felt as if she was watched or followed. The strange thing was that it didn’t subside when she entered her apartment and closed the door behind her like it did the day before.

She had felt like that at other occasions, usually after watching a horror film: the irrational fear that there was someone hiding behind the curtain where she stored her cleaning supplies, or in the shower, or behind the kitchen door next to the refrigerator. Sometimes, when it got really bad, she actually walked through the flat and checked all these places late at night. But this time it was during the day, when such feeling seemed even more irrational. Still, when she came home that day, every fibre of her body told her to check the entrance door, the curtain in the hall, the shower...

No, she stopped herself. She was panicking, she was obviously panicking and not because of an actual threat. No, what she was actually afraid of didn’t manifest in masked axe murderers or – less dramatic – in burglars in her comfort zone.

At least Greg would be here soon.

She put her keys on the sideboard and turned the TV on. It wasn’t like she wanted to watch anything. It was just background noise, distracting her from her fears while she studied her hand drawn floor plan of the museum. She had added in the last positions of cameras two days ago. At least she hoped that was what she had done. How do you tell what a camera in a museum actually looks like? It wasn’t like there were square black boxes that moved back and forth in the corners and blinked red in regular intervals. Nothing like that could be found there. Instead, she looked for fire alarm boxes or something similar. But for all she knew, it really could have been fire...

She flinched and the paper fell from her hands.

Just the doorbell, she told herself, that was just the doorbell.

She didn’t get the impression that Greg was nearly as nervous as her. They had split up their reconnaissance: Zarah, who generally looked more like someone interested in art, mapped the museum from the inside, while Greg watched it late at night to learn the schedules of night-time workers and security guards.

“So, the later at night, the better, right?” Greg said right after they had sat down on her couch.

“It seems like it.”

Cold air drifted into the living room from the kitchen and sent cold shivers down her spine.

It’s nothing, she told herself over and over again, just fear, nothing but fear.

“We smash the window, run in, grab the testament... But we still need a distraction,” she added, “something to get the guards away from the door.”

“Well, I might have an idea,” Greg said hesitantly, “But you won’t like it.”

“I don’t like any of this. Spit it out!”

“You now, here, this locker room to the side?”

“Yes, it’s for visitors to put their jackets and bags.”

Was there a shadow in the hall?

“Yes, that one. I was thinking, what if we put something there, like...”

“Like what?”

“Like... a smoke bomb. Nothing drastic...”

“I’m sure that is a great idea.,” a male voice said behind the ajar door with so much sarcasm that that alone made Zarah freeze. There was so much contempt in this voice that it distracted her for a moment from the fact that a stranger was in her home.

“Who... who are you?” Was that really a question you asked a burglar?

“Get out of here!” Greg was more aggressive than her. “Or we’ll call the police!” He jumped up from the couch.

“That’s about as good a plan as the whole robbery thing. I mean, you have your plans laying around in the open...”

“What is this, blackmail? You come here to burgle my sister’s home, see our plans and now...”

“No, no, no,” the man said and slid the door open. He was not an impressive figure, neither very tall nor very muscular, but dark jeans, a black turtle-neck and definitely the ski mask gave him a far slightly sinister look. It contrasted with his voice. Except for his sarcasm, he actually sounded rather pleasant. “I don’t want to blackmail you. That wouldn’t be very courteous.”

“What do you want, then?” Zarah asked, trying to retain her composure and gesturing to Greg to sit back down.

“First, I want to get a few things straight: You mean to steal the last will and testament of Zacharias Stern. Am I right?”

Greg sat down and shrugged.

“And you want to use a bomb as a distraction? You’re not very clever, are you? Do you really want to go to prison for an act of terrorism, of all things? Think. Think for a moment: The museum has an exhibition of Jewish artists. How stupid can you possibly be? Not that your plan would work to begin with.”

“What is it to you?” Zarah asked. His condescending tone was grinding on her nerves.

The man shrugged. “Professional pride, I guess. And honour among thieves.”

“We are no thieves!” Greg spat.

Zarah bit her lip. She looked slightly embarrassed and the corners of the man’s mouth twitched in an oppressed smile.

“Oh, I’m sure that is true. You are amateurs, morons. Your plan is idiotic. No professional would ever come up with something like that. No, you are no thieves. So why the bloody hell would you plan this? And not even for a piece that’s of any real value?”

“It’s valuable to us!” Greg said.

Zarah, on the other hand, became more and more quiet, maybe even relaxed. Deep down, she was relieved. Someone knew of their plan, so they surely couldn’t actually execute it. That was good. Wasn’t it?

“It is? Why?”

“We need the testament to prove that our family is the rightful owner of Girl with Flowing Hair.

Why was he even answering?

“You... And you think this is a good idea? Prove it to whom, anyway? A judge? Because that is one fabulous idea if I ever heard one. You steal a historic document to prove that a painting belongs to you that is currently privately owned? - Yes, I know the painting. - That’s... that’s incredibly stupid.”

“The painting belongs to us. It was the last wish of our grandmother...”

“Greg,” Zarah interrupted, “he doesn’t care and we don’t need to justify what we are doing to him.”

“No, I don’t care. But I do want to know why my prospective employers don’t just steal the painting itself.”

Prospective employers? What the hell?”

Zarah shook her head. Greg couldn’t be so thick right now, could he? “He’s offering to steal for us. But we are no criminals. We only want what is ours. The Nazis stole it from our family and, well, we only wanted to borrow the testament. Hell, we already tried official channels.”

The man was speechless for a moment. Even through his mask it was obvious to Zarah that he was lost for words. That was probably the most moronic thing he had heard all day.

“You can’t be serious.”

“We are honest people. We only want what is ours. And, if possible, we want a verdict officially stating that we are the rightful owners. Besides, we don’t know who the collector is. The Girl was auctioned...”

“I know. And you should know that that will never work. You’re morons, you’re fricking morons, both of you. But, just to entertain your screwed-up morals for a second, why would it matter if a judge says so?”

Neither Greg nor Zarah answered, though Zarah thought it was bold to call their morals screwed-up. He was the thief, wasn’t he?

“Oh, whatever,” the thief continued, “My usual fee is somewhere between 5 000 and 20 000 £, depending on difficulty of the job, size of target and whether I like my employers or not. You are too stupid to like, so it’s 15 000 if you want the will and 20 000 for the painting. - And one of you will probably go to prison, most likely you, Zarah. The police will figure this out, you know. You were far from inconspicuous in the museum and if you already tried to get your hands on...”

“We don’t have the money,” Zarah interrupted him forcefully. If she was honest, she just wanted this to end. To hell with grandma’s wish. This is madness. “And we don’t want any contact with criminals.” Please don’t get angry, please.

The thief looked from Zarah to Greg and back again. He shrugged. “Fine. Just don’t do anything even more stupid.”

*

Benjamin looked back at the apartment building, lost in thought. No matter how stupid he thought their plan was, in details and in general, he also believed them.

Or at least I believe that they believe it themselves.

That was why he had returned to this quiet street three times in the last four weeks. Zarah and Greg hadn’t gone to the museum again and they obviously hadn’t gone through with their plan. Or maybe they started to think and decided to let some time pass first.

Either way, this had very little to do with Ben. It was stupid for him to return. They didn’t know who he was or what he looked like, but he couldn’t really conceal his face in the middle of the street. It was an unnecessary risk. He basically made the same mistake as Zarah and he, unlike her, knew this perfectly well. He was a professional, after all.

Besides, he shouldn’t care about his clients, only about the money, and their answer in this regard was clear.

Still, he researched their problem when he had the time. He looked at the files of the museum on the court case, he made a detour to the auction house, he gathered information on the collector – everything he would have done had they paid.

They hadn’t and he was nonetheless on his way out of the city for a three day trip to France, where a certain collector owned a nice little house. It was a good plan. He had ready made suspects, hadn’t he? And his fence could find buyers for all kinds of art. It was a good plan. Why should he care about two random people that would go down the drain for it? He wanted to believe this. He didn’t.

It was his second trip to the small French town. On the first, he had gathered information, spied on the house and the owner. On this second one, he knew what he had to do.

Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries happen during the day, when the home-owners were away at work and not sleeping in their beds, able to hear every little sound. You only needed to make sure to enter the house through a door or window that wasn’t easy to see from the street or a neighbouring house.

In this case, the right way was the window of the little office. It let to the garden and wasn’t secured by an alarm like the back door. Benjamin pried it open without much difficulty, leaving just tiny scratches on the frame.

He glanced through the office but there was nothing of interest there, just the usual stuff: a computer, a printer, filing cabinets and a desk.

Way more interesting was the opulent hall, a combined staircase and lobby. Girl with Flowing Hair was the centrepiece of the private collection. The name was actually misleading. The painting showed a girl, but she was not the dominant element of the picture. That was actually the Lange Anna, a large rock on Heligoland. The girl was watching it from a distance, her face to the side and obscured by the flowing hair. Ben had seen this rock a few times in real life.

There were other paintings as well, but Ben wasn’t interested in them. Slowly, he walked over to the wall and stopped a few metres away from it. While the window had no alarm, the painting certainly did. He saw the electric wires that led from the frame up to the ceiling. It was easy enough to take care of for someone who knew what he did.

But Ben didn’t, not just yet.

Right next to the painting was a smaller frame that contained an old document, not quiet as old as Zacharias Stern’s last will and testament, but maybe of more historic value.

“Well, well, well, look at that,” Ben murmured, reading over the content.

He looked around. There were similar frames next to every single painting in the room. Benjamin leisurely strolled through the collection and look at all of them. He knew that he had time and wasn’t nervous either. It was by far not his first job.

The more he read, the less he felt like leaving any piece behind. But this wasn’t a good idea. It was too difficult to find buyers for many pieces at the same time, and too risky to keep them himself even for a short time. No, it was just Girl with Flowing Hair or nothing.

And nothing sounded like a particularly good idea right now.

Good karma...

There was no alarm at the smaller frames. Benjamin had no idea what the collector was thinking. He just took it from the wall and removed the glass. Only two minutes later, the printer in the office had done its work and the paper was back on the wall. He repeated the same action for every painting.

*

Zarah thought about moving. She didn’t feel safe in her own home since a thief had entered it some time ago. She still didn’t know how he had come in. He had left through the front door, just walked out when he was done.

She waited for offers from estate agents. Some were so old-fashioned that they said they would send the information by snail mail.

This was not one of their letters. It had no address and no stamp. Inside were two pieces of paper: a letter and a document she couldn’t read.

“Hey moron,

it looks like a certain collector (René Lachien of Cabourg, by the way) is very much interested in art stolen by the Nazis. As a matter of fact, he is so interested in it that he has a document proving how it was taken right next to every single piece of his collection.

You will appreciate my restraint: it’s a copy. The original is still next to Girl with Flowing Hair.

In case you don’t read German: It’s a protocol and list of all the items taken from your family that day – dated and signed.

I’m sure it will be useful.

As a side note, trespass is not the same as theft.

A friend.

P.S.: You owe me. I might collect on this at a later time.”

--------------------------------------------------------------

Notes (in no particular order):

Benjamin showed up in two other stories of mine:
Inspector Coultry’s Boat
Lady Susanna’s Necklace

Zacharias Stern is fictional, no artist with that name existed 200 years ago (as far as I know). The vague description of Girl with Flowing Hair (in look, subject matter and time the artist lived) is based on Casper David Friedrich.

The Margraviate of Baden existed until 1803. Baden is today part of Baden-Württemberg, a south-western state of Germany.

The Lange Anna, meaning “Tall Anna” is a real rock on Heligoland.

1938 is the year Kristallnacht happened.

According to wikipedia on Nazi Plunder:

Quote
Approximately 20% of the art in Europe was looted by the Nazis, and there are well over 100,000 items that have not been returned to their rightful owners. The majority of what is still missing includes everyday objects such as china, crystal or silver.
There seems to be little information if heirs usually have problems proving that artworks belonged to them. The focus of the article is more on the fact that some pieces are still lost (as in, on-one knows where they are) and that there is research concerning the provenance of works of art in museums and collections, but I assume there are cases where just no proof exists that it was ever stolen, or belonged to specific people in the first place. Just take it as artistic license. The same holds true for any legal proceedings mentioned in the text. I did not research them.

I missed the fact that the testament has to be of a recently deceased person the first time reading the rules, so I added the parts about the grandmother of Zarah and Greg – yes, I am cheating. Technically, I think, I’m following the rules now. It does give them their motivation, after all.

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #14 on: 17 Jul 2016, 18:43 »
Ah, Sinitrena has returned in the hopes of claiming the title of storymaster once more, I see! :)
And Baron, the deadline is close. So very close.
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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #15 on: 18 Jul 2016, 04:43 »
Hey, no worries WHAMO my good man.  I've had a whole 36 hours of uninterrupted writing time, and thus can submit before the actual deadline for the first time in years. ;-D

The Legacy of Sheebor

       I, Sheebor the Ravisher, Queen of the Northern Hordes and the Boundless Dominion, Vanquisher of Empires, Destroyer of Cities, and Subjugator of Men, being of sound mind and even temper, do make, declare and publish this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all Wills and codicils hereto made by me.

   First, though I now tread on a different plane of existence, the precariousness of life is well known to me.  Let it be known that I am and always will be a woman of unshakable faith in the powers of the Sacred Priests of Gnarr.  Remember in life that it was I who flailed alive the unbelievers!  Now, in death, I commend myself to their care, knowing that prayers for the welfare of my soul will be unceasing in my mausoleum since they are all to be buried alive with me.

   Second, I urge my heirs not to set their bloodlust merely on the emptiness of riches and pillage, but to harness its power for the greater good of serving the gods in their many shifting and contradictory guises.  Only through the righteous and judicious use of rapine and slaughter can one expect to be not just feared but respected in the hereafter.

   Thirdly, I go to the grave with a clear conscience, knowing that the heretical followers of the demi god Thnak were harried mercilessly into the sea.  Lamentably their demi god imbued his more fanatical believers with powers of buoyancy normally reserved for corpses, but in the end the sea beasts of Shrog feasted on their flesh.  So even though it was not I, Sheebor the Ravisher, who destroyed them, I nevertheless believe my service to Gnarr was faithfully discharged.

   And now to the discharge of my estate.

   Firstly, be it known throughout the land that Sheebor the Ravisher, Queen of  the Northern Hordes and the Boundless Dominion, is dead.  I am to be mourned for 21 consecutive days, wherein the people shall sing fond songs of my barbaric exploits.  To help them remember my ways and manner, each man, woman and child older than 4 is to be chained in a line of not less than 12 souls and whipped to the beat of their songs.  Also, the people will pay an extra tax to fund the completion of my mausoleum, or, should it be already finished, to fund the gilding of all the unguilded surfaces therein.

   Second, I hereby bestow upon my eldest daughter Ephitrea the Vicious the following advice: trust is the chink in the armour of even the greatest warrior.  Beware those close behind you in line for the throne!  Remember that I was once a youngest daughter, not the eldest.  To you I leave the crown of the Northern Hordes and the Boundless Dominion.  To you will pass all my sovereign authority, real property, and chattels, but for the following exceptions:

   To my second daughter Cruellina the Vindictive I leave command of the Friggarian Horde and the Duchy of Wraithsland to maintain them.  I leave also this advice: your sister will try to kill you if you do not kill her first.  To the winner go the spoils!

   To my sister Oddrella the Impaler I leave the County of Gaunt for her maintenance in her dotage, and to that of her heirs thereafter.  I leave also to her my ageing man-harem of ex-gladiators and loin-cloth models to dispense with as she pleases.  To her I also leave my collection of antique spears gleaned from the fields of a thousand battles.  To her as well I leave my custom-made leather armour and girdle set, since she is quickly approaching my earthly body's vast girth and sagging extremities.  It does not become a princess of the blood to wear those skimpy amazon outfits at your age!  You are now the spiritual matriarch of this family and it's time to stop showing your butt-crack every time you bend down to impale someone.

   To my only surviving nephew, Oddric the Unimpaled, I give my sincerest congratulations for being the only male in this family to reach the age of maturity in many decades.  I found your choice of steel chastity belt laughable in your tween years, but I see now that there was a method to your madness.  To you I leave my fastest horse and my prized magnetic saddle.  Obviously there is no place to flee to as we women have conquered the known world, but I get a kick out of thinking of you riding endless circles just ahead of your inevitable pursuers. 

   Finally, to my cat Fluffy the Pussy Wussy I leave the Khanate of Krum, with all the revenues and martial prerogatives that go with it.  Also to her I leave my personal servants and attendants, to dispose with as she sees fit.  Also to her I leave my favourite flail, still crusted with the blood of my enemies, may she use it well.  Also to her I leave the tax minister's left hand that she enjoyed being rubbed by so much.  To her I also leave my heirloom gold-threaded curtains to scratch as she pleases.  Finally to her I leave my jester Schmearbert the Prideless, who henceforth must wear a mouse costume and flee in abject terror from Fluffy's predatory pounces.  Who's the little Pussy Wussy?  Who's that?  Coochie Coochie Coochie!

        In Gnarr we trust.  All Hail Gnarr!

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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #16 on: 18 Jul 2016, 07:07 »
Hey, no worries WHAMO my good man.  I've had a whole 36 hours of uninterrupted writing time, and thus can submit before the actual deadline for the first time in years. ;-D

Excellent work, old chap! Tonight is the deadline, so if anyone else is still laboring on an entry, either get crackin' or pipe up and beg for mercy!
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Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition - Last Will and Testament
« Reply #17 on: 18 Jul 2016, 22:52 »
The deadline is here and the contestants are ready to be judged.

The entrants are:


CaptainD - "The will of Thomas McKlopipus the Third"

Mandle - "/-\  633|<5  \/\/1[_[_"

DBoyWheeler - "The will of Crysta Maria São-João"

kconan - "The will of Dr. Thaddeus Prescott"

Sinitrena - "Zacharias Stern‘s Last Will"

Baron - "The Legacy of Sheebor"


Ladies and gentlemen, cast your votes in the following categories:

(Each voter is allowed to award one point per category):
> Best character
> Best setting
> Best writing style / technique
> Most interesting last will and testament
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I need voting deadlines.  I can't work without deadlines. :P

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I need voting deadlines.  I can't work without deadlines. :P

Let's say deadline is Friday at midnight. I might not have access to a computer at that time, so if I am not here to declare a winner on saturday, someone take over for me.
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
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