“… and finally, I leave all 120 sections of my ranch and all the buildings (with contents not already endowed earlier in this document), roads, and resources found thereon to my Nephew, William Wilson Williams III, on the condition that he remain a good steward and protect all indigenous artifacts, burial sites, and ruins. In addition he must never divulge the location of the dinosaur and other prehistoric bones and/or fossils contained within the boundaries of said ranch property.” The lawyer folded the document in half and set it on the green blotter covering the desk he was sitting behind. He removed his spectacles and folded the temples before setting them atop the document. He squared the papers to the desk edge and squared the eyeglasses to the papers.
After this ritual he peered out at the rest of us in the office. We were seated in straight backed chairs arranged in a semicircle in front of his desk.
“Any questions?” he intoned and looked each of us in the eyes before moving his gaze to the next. My dad raised his hand.
“Yes, Mr. Williams?” the lawyer acknowledged.
“That’s it?” Dad said, “My own brother left me $500.00 and a dry well outside Abeline?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” said the lawyer. “Well there’s also the old, sepia photograph of your grandmother posing with William Bonney. But there may be some question about its authenticity.”
“Shit,” said Dad, “Don’t that beat all?” he stood up and walked out of the office.
The lawyer called after him, “Mr. Williams, if you stop at Miss Grey’s desk she has a packet for you containing copies of all the documents concerning you which are associated with your brother’s estate.” He looked back at the rest of us, “any other questions?” There were none. He looked at me and asked me to stay after the others left so that he could hand me the keys to the house and give me the pertinent documents and information on the ranch.
I was another hour with the lawyer and Miss Grey. In the elevator lobby I found my sister waiting. “Hey Ellen,” I said, “what do you think?”
“I don’t know for sure but I think Uncle Nelson just left me about a million and a half worth of impressionist art. I could never sell it though and I can’t keep it in my apartment.”
“Billy, I live in a one bedroom walk-up in Racine for God’s sake. Will you let me leave them at the ranch and let me come visit them from time to time?”
“’Course I will Elly.” I gave her a hug.
“What are you going to do with the old homestead?” she looked at me.
“I guess I gotta find those dinosaur bones and Indian graveyards,” I said, “I need to know where the things are that I’m protectin’. He never even told me about those.”