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65

Fleeced

Thomas and Janey were in his office, surrounded by dozens of floating balloons. Thanks to the newspaper story, calls had been coming in from various shows and news organizations, asking for Thomass comments. Some of the callers wanted to come to the party. But Thomas refused every one of them. He knew what their intentions were.

Make the Settlers Club look bad.

He had decided that only Stanley would be allowed in. If the club was going to go to hell in a handbasket, at least it would be done with dignity. That true-crime show even had the nerve to call the club and ask for Clara. Hed put the kibbosh on that immediately.

Any calls to Clara must go through me, he instructed the front desk.

What about her sister?

Especially her sister! That woman has blabbermouth soup for lunch, Thomas declared.

Okay, boss. Weve got Mr. Pemrods lawyer on the other line. Do you want to speak to her?

Of course I do! Put her through.

Katla McGlynn was in her office, having stopped in after an early round of golf. She lived and worked in Westchester and had started doing Nats legal work after buying a necklace from him over twenty years ago. In her early fifties, Katla had a small practice that catered to the varied needs of her clients.

Hello! Thomas practically yelled into the phone.

Mr. Pilsner?

Speaking.

My name is Katla McGlynn. Im Nat Pemrods lawyer. I just read about his death and the missing diamonds. I feel terrible about Nat. He was a good guy.

He was, Thomas agreed, tapping his foot.

I just want you to know that I received a letter in the mail today that Nat and Ben Carney wrote on Thursday, declaring their intention to donate those diamonds to the club.

Thomas nearly fainted again. You did?

Yes. In case the diamonds are found, you should have a copy of the letter.

Did you know about the diamonds before? Thomas asked.

No. Nat never mentioned them to me. The only thing he joked about was those sheep of his. He said they were to go into the parlor of the club when he died. Are they there now?

Its a long story, Thomas said.

Ive got time. I am the executor of his estate. I want to see that his wishes are followed.

There was a movie company here yesterday

I read about them.

Well, you see, apparently they used the sheep in a scene and took them to the next location without asking my permission. Theyll be back tonight.

I hope so. Any guy who was willing to donate such a generous gift should have his wishes honored, no matter what happens.

I couldnt agree more, Thomas said emphatically.

Ill be down on Monday to start handling everything. She gave Thomas her number. Call me if you need anything between now and then.

Okay.

As soon as Thomas hung up, the phone rang again.

Its Daphne, calling from the movie set.

Put her through!

Thomas, its Daphne.

Bring those sheep back right now!

Ive got great news! They want to buy the sheep for their movie company!

No!

Please.

No!

Theyre willing to pay a lot of money.

I dont even want to know how much. Nats lawyer just called. She wanted to make sure Dolly and Bah-Bah are where Nat wanted them. And thats in the front parlor in their own home, the Settlers Club.

But Nat would have wanted it this way. And I was always so good to him after Wendy died. If the Settlers Club has to close down, it wont do us any good.

Absolutely not. I have half a mind to come down to that set and pick them up right now. Where are you?

The phone clicked in his ear.


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