12-06-2011, 05:23 PM
Casey stared incredulously at the dark-suited man standing before her in the housekeeper's office that morning. When she had been summoned by the management to go to the office before beginning her shift, she had assumed the worst: they were letting her go, she had done something wrong, there was a complaint against her. Instead she had found Mr. Piccucci's lawyer, Mr. Close, of all people, standing there waiting to meet her. As if that wasn't surprising enough, Mr. Close informed her that she was the sole heir to Mr. Piccucci's estate. Through some discreet inquiries, Mr. Close found out about Casey's fill-in position at the Luxor Hotel and decided to meet her there instead of driving all the way to her home to tell her the news.
When Casey heard the news, she almost fainted from shock. Mr. Piccucci leaving all his money to her? What about his son? Wasn't he supposed to get it all? Why did Mr. Piccucci cut his own son out of his will? Casey kept out of the family politics as a rule, out of respect to her employer and the common sense decision that it was none of her concern, but she could not help but wonder why Mr. Piccucci disinherited his own son? Did they have some sort of falling out in the past? What had happened?
"But-but-but...why?" she stammered. "What about his son? What's going to happen to him?"
"Well, Mick--I mean, Mr. Piccucci--felt that you were the only one who wasn't greedy enough to care about his money," Close replied. "His son has a reputation for being a playboy and a womanizer, and his ex-wife, Tina, is, to put it politely, a gold-digger. Michael, Jr., would just squander it all like he did when he was single, and he refused to have anything to do with Tina. Springs is too old, but was still Mick's former business partner, so he got half a million, just out of friendship."
Casey sat down in the nearest chair, her head spinning. "What am I going to do now?" she wailed. "I didn't want Mr. Piccucci's money; I just wanted to take care of him and support my family."
"You can do more than just support your family with nine million dollars, hon," the housekeeping manager said.
"Look, Casey," Close said. "The family and Tina are going to contest the will in court. I'll take care of everything, okay? It's going to be a few weeks before you have to appear in court--"
"Appear in court?" Casey was horrified.
"Now, now, you're not being charged with a crime," Close assured her. "Just as one of the contestors, that's all. I'll be representing you all the way. And don't worry about fees--it'll all come out of the inheritance. Just show up in court and I'll do the rest."
Casey wavered. "I just can't believe this is happening to me," she said. "But could you do me a favor, Mr. Close?
"Don't tell anyone about this, okay? I don't want people to know about this. God knows what will happen to me and my family."
"All right, Casey," Close said. "I promise."
Close picked up his briefcase. "Well, I've done what I came here to do," he said, "and now I'll take my leave. Good day, ladies."
Casey feebly waved good-bye as Close walked out of the office. She looked at the housekeeping manager in despair. "What do I do now?" she whimpered.
"Punch in, pick up your room assignment and get to work, I guess," the manager replied with a shrug. "You still have a few weeks before you can claim your inheritance, anyway."
"If I can claim it," Casey said. "They're gonna sue me for it, and I know they're gonna win. They have more claim to it than I do."
The manager put a comforting hand on Casey's shoulder. "Don't be too sure about that, hon," she said. "The court may just rule in your favor. Who knows? In a few weeks, you could be rolling in dough. Now, you get to work."
Casey nodded and staggered out of the office. She should be elated to have inherited nine million dollars, she thought--anyone would be. She should be doing backflips down the corridor, calling her mother with the good news, planning a bright future for herself. Instead, she was filled with dread, her spirits as dark and dank as the weather outside. The Piccuccis would savage her in court, shred her to ribbons with their high-priced lawyers; even with Mr. Close's help, she didn't stand a chance. They were a mob family, not above using underhanded tactics--even murder--to get what they want. Casey couldn't help but feel that her days were numbered, and those numbers were fewer than she thought.
With a heavy heart, Casey went into the housekeeper's room to pick up her room assignments and her cleaning cart. The other maids looked up as she entered. "Well, look who's here!" one jeered. "The Piccucci heiress herself!"
Casey felt her stomach tie itself in a knot. "Huh? How did you--"
A newspaper was thrust in her face. "It's in the paper, doll!" the maid said. "That old gangster left you with all of his ill-gotten gains!"
"So, how does it feel to be rich all of a sudden?" another maid asked.
"Look, guys," Casey began, "I really don't want--"
"You don't want to be seen with us?" the first maid interrupted. "Boy, did you turn into a snob all of a sudden!"
"No! It's not that at all!" Casey protested. "The thing is I don't want this to happen to me. I'm in trouble here, guys!"
"What kind of trouble can you get into with nine million dollars?"
"With nine million dollars," a jovial black housekeeper said, "any kind of trouble you want, honey!"
There was laughter all around. Casey's heart sank. It was no use trying to convince any of them about the danger she faced by inheriting the estate of a former mobster. Worse, her inheritance was now public knowledge, thanks to some nosy reporter. Now everyone knew who she was. Sadly, she picked up the clipboard with her room assignments and wheeled her cart out of the closet. At least she didn't have to wear a name tag on her uniform; that way, no one could inquire too closely about her as she worked.
Why me, God? she wailed inwardly. Why did it have to be me? Why couldn't I have won the lottery instead of getting Mr. Piccucci's money? Now I got the mob after me. Why did it have to be me?