“I want to assemble a team of the best.” An old man in a checkered jacket and gray slacks with bushy gray eyebrows and dark brown eyes paced the perimeter of his spacious office. With an iconic eyeglass pressed above his cheek and his head bent over, intently inspecting some sort of document on a tablet, he looked like he’d been torn off the pages of a nineteenth-century crime novel.
“Yes, sir.” A woman with a heavy French accent wearing a black skirt with a red blouse voiced. “Who would you like Mr. Goldman?”
He drew a stylus from his pocket and began delicately circling names on the tablet he held as if just one mistake could destroy a grand masterpiece. Then, with a quick swipe he sent the document on, “There you are. How long do you think it will take you, Clara?”
Clara scrutinized the document carefully on another tablet, nodding as she did so, and sometimes pausing over certain names to reread them again and again as if trying to memorize them. After a few minutes of intense silence, she looked up, “Just one thing, Mr. Goldman,”
“Why do you want this one, a Ron Kale?”
“Ha-ha, why, you haven’t guessed?”
“No, sir. He has no degree; he is certainly no genius by anyone’s standard, and he’s barely out of high school. What could you possibly use such a kid for?”
“He’s my grandson.” Peter Goldman chuckled to himself as Clara’s jaw dropped. “I’m sorry I never told you I had any relatives. If truth be told I don’t care much for most of them, but the boy’s mother, my daughter-in-law, recently passed away, and out of a respect for her wishes I had kept out of his life.” The old man stopped pacing, returning to his desk and grabbing a letter. “Now, Clara, when you see him, make sure you give him this first. Understood?”
“Yes, sir,” Clara nodded, taking the letter from Peter Goldman.
Ron yelled as his fist connected with the jaw of Jeremy Cramer. The bully hadn’t seen it coming, but he deserved it all the same. Jeremy stumbled back, caught off guard by the surprise attack. Ron yelled at him again, “Don’t you ever talk about her like that!”
Jeremy got back to his feet, wiping blood from a swelling lip, “Your mom was a pathetic waste of space, and you know that as well as I do.” Ron rushed him. He had rarely been this mad in his life, and it felt good to take it out on somebody. This time, however, Jeremy, a football linebacker who was a good head taller than Ron, was ready. He dodged the attempt, then turned around, shoving him to the ground. Ron felt his mouth fill with gravel from the parking lot. He got back to his feet in a moment, livid with rage as Jeremy howled with laughter.
Ron charged him again, this time, he managed to get Jeremy before he could move. He took him to the ground and began pummeling blow after blow to his head. It was all Jeremy could do to hold his hands up, he was so surprised by the adrenaline induce energy Ron felt surging through his veins. “Don’t. You. Ever. Talk. About. My. Mother. Like. That. Again.” Ron stood back up, Jeremy’s face was covered in blood and he looked scared. Ron spat at him, as the linebacker quickly got up, fleeing the scene with as much dignity as he could scrape together.
Ron looked down at his fists, they were clenched so tight they might as well have been molded that way. As his breathing calmed and his heart beat slowed, he turned away from the battlefield as if planning to go somewhere, although he knew he had nowhere to be. When he did, he saw a woman in a black skirt and red blouse staring at him. She clapped for effect before speaking in a heavy French accent, “Well done Mr. Kale. Mr. Goldman never told me you knew how to fight.” Ron looked at her, perplexed. She pulled out a letter from her pocket as she walked over to him, “Read this.” She gave no alternative option as she placed the letter in his hands, expecting him to read it on the spot. After a second of bewilderment, he took the letter from her hand, and cautiously began to read.
I know this must come as quite a shock, and indeed, I wish I could be here in person to explain, but alas, time waits for no man! I have thought long and hard about this letter, devising ways to make the shock easier to bare, and after many drafts, I have given it up in frustration. I realize that what I am about to say will be hard to swallow regardless the way I put it. Ronald, I am your grandfather, your father’s father. Your mother forbade me from ever contacting you and out of respect for her wishes I did not. Now, however, that she is gone, I feel that it is high time we got acquainted. At this point, you will be wondering why your mother forbade me from contacting you. Simply put, she blamed me for your father’s death. Now, if I really am to blame, only God knows. However, the loss of my only son is something I will carry to my grave, and it grieves me to this day. I know that this letter wasn’t nearly half so long as it should have been, but it was also twice as long as I cared to explain over such an imprecise method. I have a job, a future, a home, and a family waiting for you. Should you so choose to take me up on my offer, speak to Clara, (the women who gave you this letter) she will take you to me. If you do not wish to ever meet me, and forgo a greater destiny, know that I understand, and my condolences for the death of Karen go with you.
With sincere hope for the future,
Your Grandfather, Charles Goldman
He paused many times, reading and rereading lines, but it was the shock of it all that kept him silent. Never in his life had he anticipated such a strange turn of events. After a long time, he looked up from his letter, carefully folding it, keeping a tight grip on it encase it should melt. He turned and looked at Clara, “I have a grandfather?”