Home of Sword and Soul
Thomas Cassidy slumped in his office chair then moaned when he read the intertex from his sister. His forehead furrowed as he read the text again, hoping he'd got it wrong. But he hadn't. He pushed away from his mahogany desk then trudged to the window wall, looking down on the busy Atlanta streets. For the last 20 years he'd worked hard helping his father build Cassidy Enterprises into the most powerful company in the world. Now it was all gone, just like that.
He tapped his ear then waited for his mother to answer.
"Hello, Tommy," she said.
Her mellow voice eased his anger.
"Mamma, he did it."
There was silence for a moment.
"Tommy, I want you to close the office and come to the house right now. We have some things to discuss."
"We can talk right now," Tommy answered.
"Don't get fussy with me, boy," she replied sternly. "You come on down. I'll be in the garden."
"I might as well," he said. "It's not like we're solvent or anything."
"Quit sassing and come down," she said.
Thomas sent a broadcast text to the office employees then cringed as a collective whoop went up. People hurried from their desk in a jubilant exodus to the elevators. He knew he wasn't as well liked as his father. He was considered a task master, which he was. Someone had to make up for all the money his father was spending lately. And now that he knew the reason he wouldn't be any better.
His personal sped him to the south Metro area to the house. House was an understatement; the Cassidy compound was a 2000 acre wooded nature preserve. The massive gate identified his personal and the gate opened. The personal entered, proceeding up the paved driveway to the mansion. The driveway ended at the cul-de-sac; the personal stopped then Thomas jumped out, fast walking to the back of house. Mamma was tending her vegetable garden as always, wearing her dirty coveralls and large plantation hat. She looked up with her big smile, her smooth sepia face hiding her almost ninety years of life.
"Mamma, what's going on?" Thomas blurted.
"Give me a kiss, boy," she replied. "I ain't seen you all day."
Thomas rolled his eyes then kissed her on the cheek.
"You smell like earthworms," he said.
Mamma chuckled. "So what's this about us being broke?"
"Daddy paid off the balance on Cassidy," he said. "He cleaned us out!"
Mamma walked away to her tomatoes. "All of it?"
"All of it."
She pushed back her hat. "I thought he would. No sense leaving things undone."
"What are you talking about?"
"Go get me my chair," she said.
Thomas hurried to the shed then brought back her folding chair. Mamma sat hard then wiped her brow.
"You know your daddy is dying, right?" she said.
Thomas looked solemn. "I know he's not in the best of health but..."
Mamma reached out then took his trembling hand. "No, son your daddy is dying. Soon. It's why he went to Cassidy and why he paid off the balance. He didn't want to leave us in debt."
"So he's leaving us broke?"
Mamma smiled. "Cornelius spent all HIS money. He ain't spent none of mine."
Thomas was startled. "Your money?"
Mamma nodded. "Me and Cornelius always kept our money separate. Just in case he got in trouble."
Thomas cleared his throat. "Mamma if you don't mind me asking, how much money do you have?"
Mamma's eyes narrowed. "I ain't never told your daddy. Why you think I'm going to tell you? Let's just say I have enough to see things through."
She stood up then waved Thomas close.
"Come on. Let's walk to the house. We have some things to do."