The Secret Manuscript
him. Coming from Cold Lake, Calgary seemed
like New York City by comparison.
    The law firm
of Epstein, Windsor, & Associates was among the largest in the
city. The taxi pulled up curbside in front of the large building.
After paying his fare, Ben lugged his suitcase from the trunk up to
the revolving glass doors. It was the first time Ben had been in a
door like that and was thrilled to give it a try as if it were some
kind of carnival ride.
    Once inside,
Ben stood still, casting his gaze upward at the enormous
entranceway. He was transfixed by the ornately-decorated ceiling,
which extended over two-storeys tall. The interior of the building
suggested it was a place where the city’s richest and most powerful
business people conducted multi-million dollar mergers and
acquisitions. Whether that was true was yet to be determined. The
place was complete with modern fixtures, polished tile floors,
marble columns, and dark wood accents. Ben felt a little out of
place, but tried not to let his discomfort show. Like he had done
with the process server, Ben located the firm on the directory and
rode the elevator up to the top floor.
    As it was one
of the city’s largest law firms, the office was easy to find. Ben
exited the elevator and entered through the glass doors. Sunlight
poured in from the floor-to-ceiling windows, which surrounded the
prestigious office. Ben was greeted by the receptionist and was
told Mr. Windsor would be with him shortly. Ben walked over to the
window and looked out at the magnificent view of the city.
    “Can I get you
a beverage while you wait, Mr. Owen?” the receptionist asked.
    “A water would
be great, thanks.”
receptionist disappeared for a moment before promptly returning
with an ice-cold bottle of water.
    “Here you
are,” she said, handing it to him.
    Ben accepted
the water and thanked the woman kindly. He was not used to being
treated so nicely, but assumed most people who had an appointment
with Mr. Windsor were fairly well off and expected a certain level
of treatment.
marvelling the view and sipping his water, Ben felt a tremendous
sense of gratitude. He could not help but feel grateful for the
fortune that had been bestowed upon him, especially after suffering
such a harrowing loss four days prior. Despite being only ten
floors up, he felt as though he were on top of the world, both
literally and figuratively.
    “Mr. Owen,” a
man’s voice said.
    Ben turned
around and saw a dapper man dressed in a navy pinstripe suit. He
approached Ben with an extended palm.
    “Gary Windsor,
pleasure to meet you.”
    “Hi,” Ben said
with as much confidence as a lost puppy.
    “How was the
trip?” Gary asked, leading Ben into his office.
    “It was good,
I guess.”
    The office was
nothing like the process server’s in Cold Lake. For starters, it
was nearly four times the size and was kept immaculate. Everything
seemed much more high-end from the various art pieces, the imported
rug, and of course the furniture. There were even a few more framed
degrees hanging on the wall.
    “Did Wendy
offer you a beverage?” the lawyer asked.
    “Yes, she did,
thanks,” Ben said, holding up his water.
    With his
clothes still smelling like a campfire, Ben sat hunched over in the
lawyer’s office waiting to become the benefactor of some mysterious
inheritance. Until Ben actually saw the documents, he would not
fully believe it was true. After all, he kept asking himself why
some stranger would leave him with his entire estate. The whole
thing was a little surreal, but Ben had nothing to lose and a lot
to gain.
    “Let’s get
started, shall we?” the lawyer asked, placing a file folder on the
    “So you said
you have never heard of Charles Gringer?” the lawyer asked out of
    “Is that a
    “No, not at
all. I was just making conversation.”
    “Before I
spoke with you, I had never heard the name Charles Gringer before
in my life.”

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