I have named you Mattie after a legend. In the movie “Lara Croft the Tomb Raider and the Cradle of Life” there is a box called the Pandora’s box; the box was said to hold the opposite of death. Anyway to find your way to the cradle of life where the box was stored, you needed the key, an orb. When Alexander the Great discovered the box he decided it was too powerful to keep so he returned it to its home in the cradle of life. He sent to the Orb to the Luna temple and a couple hundred years later, the sea swallowed it. He nicknamed the Orb, Mattie, which in a literal translation means eye. This little black book is an eye; its view is my life. Mattie, you were the last gift my mother gave me before leaving for a safari in Africa, with my father. She said I could hide all my secrets within your pages.
When I first opened you up, my mind wandered into the huge, and wonderful world of things I could write about. Foremost of these thoughts would be some things about me, so here we go…I am 5’6 1/2” and 16 ½ years old. I don’t know what I weigh, mother always said that I was perfect the way I was and I should never change. I have brown hair, with a little blonde tint to it from being out in the sun all summer. Father says, “You have the most beautiful blue eyes that rival your mothers”
Oops! I haven’t mentioned my name yet; it is Jaqueline Annette Marie Lynn Brackson, but my friends all call me Jacki. You know those huge houses on the hill that everyone looks at and wonders who lives there? Well I live in one of those.
Long ago, when I was like 10, I decided single was the way to be, after seeing an evil 3rd grader break all my friends’ hearts. Alright I know it isn’t as dramatic as it may seem to you, Mattie, but to me it was pretty horrible watching it play out. Now back to reality.
My best friend Shandra is supposed to be here in five minutes…
Mother and Father have been gone for two days, the house seems so empty, with just me, Francis (my driver), and Maria (my cook and mentor) rattling around the house, all-alone. I hope they are safe and well. Shandra and I had an awesome time yesterday. We swam in my pool for awhile (the indoor one, it was kinda chilly outside), but we got bored so we called Francis to bring the car around. Now normally I don’t really like to shop, I’m not big on buying clothes or jewelry, but yesterday was an exception
We decided to go horse shopping, you see Shandra rides and she needed a new mount because Skipper, her old one was getting just that old. He was 10, too old for showing. Father had told me that I could spend $5,000 while he was gone, and I totally intended to stay under that. Well, we didn’t know where to start; where do you go to buy a horse? We called her trainer and he gave us the names and numbers of a few people with horses to sell.
The first one we visited was the Arrow One farm; they have incredibly good racers there. Shandra didn’t like what they had, and when I looked them over I had to agree. Two of them were lame and the other one looked so old that it wouldn’t even have been any good to breed.
On to the next place, Melbrooks, famous for their trotters and cross-country horses. I love this ranch! It is so open you feel as though you have jumped from the busy city (or suburbs in my case) to a wide open prairie where horses are wild and jackrabbits are plentiful. Oops, got a little sidetracked there. While we were at Melbrooks, I found the most gorgeous pinto I have ever seen. Just in case you don’t know, Mattie, pinto is a horse that looks like paint has been spilled on it. Jackson, the guy who was doing the selling, told me that it was two years old and barely trained to let a saddle be put on its back. But I couldn’t resist, I bargained the price down and I bought; him, his tack, 4 weeks of feed, and a grooming set. For only $2,500! What a steal! Father is going to be so pleased when he finds out that I only paid $2500 when they were asking 6,000 for just the horse.
After that we just went home, Francis put the horse in the stable, and I went to bed.
Today I have been wandering around not doing all that much, so I think I’ll call it a night and watch some Jay Leno, before I go to bed.
I can’t bear to write.
Life is so miserable! I can’t live through this!
Francis says I must get out of this slum of despair I have fallen into, But I won’t I can’t bear the real world.
I will write, someone must tell the story, so no one ever forgets what wonderful people and parents they were.
To tell the story properly we need to backtrack a couple of days to August 6. That was the day I got the telegram, so I will start there. Mattie, I hope you are ready for this because I sure am not ready. Well, here goes nothing.
‘Dingdong’ The door bell ran. I ran downstairs to see who it was. I thought it was Shandra here to pick up her bathing suit she had left at my house yesterday before. Slowly I opened the door, a stranger stood there, wearing a tan overcoat with the mail emblem on it.
“Um….Hello, what can I do for you?” I asked politely
“Are you Jaqueline Brackson?” He asked gruffly, he sounded like he had a sore throat.
“Yes, That’s me, what can I do for you?”
“This is for you” he replied handing me a white envelope. “Sign here.” I signed, staring at the envelope in my hand, I instantly knew what it was, father got them all the time, a telegram. The man checked my signature and walked back down the drive without even saying good-bye. Shutting the door I decided to go into the living room to read the telegram. It’s a very scary thing to get a telegram, I have never heard of one bringing good news.
Sitting down on the couch I began to slowly open the envelope, a folded white piece of paper fell out, as I opened
Jaqueline Brackson stop
We regret to inform you, your parents stop
John and Annette Brackson stop
Were in an accident with some alligators. Stop
We were unfortunately unable to save them. Stop
They died this morning at 10:00am. Stop
We are very sorry and will be sending along their stop
belongings, as soon as an available ship to America stop
lands at port. We are very sorry. Stop
Master and sons offices
Somewhere in the Amazon
I stared at the paper in shock. Millions of thoughts were running through my head at once. My parents were dead! Not possible! This couldn’t be true. It’s a prank. Shandra decided that she would be funny and paid that man, who is probably her pool man or something, to deliver a fake telegram. This must be pay back for that time I sent her a stink bomb wrapped in birthday paper.
My housekeeper Maria came into the living room, she has graying hair and is slightly plump
“What is it dear?” Wordlessly I handed her the telegram.
“Is this real?” I could only hope that it was a fake. As she read it her face crumpled. Pulling me into her arms.
“Oh my poor dear, it is real.” She started crying. I couldn’t help it, I cried right there on Maria’s shoulder.
I had to stop writing; I couldn’t see the paper through my tears. My life is in shambles; with no parents I have become mistress of the house, and sole owner of a vast fortune. There seemed to be some brightness in my future, and then the second bomb dropped. My parents’ lawyer called; he wanted to meet me to drive into town and meet him for lunch, at The Olive Garden. I examined the occasion; he chose the olive garden, not exactly cheap, but not McDonalds. An ideal place for a business lunch, no fun involved. The whole idea of meeting my parents’ lawyer scared me a little bit. Ok in all truth I was royally freaked out, but I will face my fears as I am the mistress of the house and one cannot be a chicken when they are in charge of 15 servants and hired workmen. I got ready to go and called Francis to bring the car around.
While I was waiting for the lawyer to show up at the restaurant I watched people; an older couple came in, on an anniversary dinner maybe. Then a small family came in, parents and two children, a boy and a girl. The girl wore a birthday crown on her head and an obviously new outfit, a birthday celebration.
“Hmmmhmm” A deep throat cleared, I jumped and looked up. A man stood there, black hair with maturing gray streaks, a pointed nose, and stern brown eyes. Tall, I’d say about 6’3”, a medium build. For some reason he reminded me of Santa Claus.
“Are you Miss Jaqueline Brackson?”
“Yes, I am, pardon my question but who are you?” Now, I can be very polite when I want to be, but when an older man that you don’t know comes over to your table in a restaurant it’s a little weird.
“I’m Mr. Douglas Beket the 2nd, I was your parents’ lawyer.” Suddenly I thought of something, the only reasons that a lawyer would want to see me was because my parents left me deep in debt, or I had some relative I was going to have to go live with. But that one was illogical ;all my relatives had died in a boat crash, when they had gone scuba diving in the Bermuda triangle.
“Alright, lets get down to business,” Mr. Beket said after we had ordered. “Your parents died without leaving you a guardian or a will. Naturally you inherit everything.” I smiled at this.
“But that also means that you inherit their debts, and headaches about owning such a big house. It also leaves you without a legal guardian.”
“But I can live with Francis and Maria until I turn 18 in a year and a half.” I interrupted.
“Nevertheless, your parents also left you $17 million in debts and charges.” I stared at Mr. Beket, in shock. My worst fear had been realized, I would lose everything I loved in days. Mr. Beket was still talking though.
“You are going to need to sell; the house, cars, horses, boats, ECT. You’re also going to need to fire the help.”
“But” I stuttered, “What will happen to me?”
Mr. Beket smiled, “You will go to an orphanage until you can be placed in a foster home.”
My life is over.
It can’t be true; I can’t go live in a horrible smelly orphanage…
I have to pull myself together. I will move out of this house with grace and style. Mr. Beket told me that I will have a $20 per week allowance and that I can only take two trunks and one carpetbag with me to the orphanage. I have sold all the property and everything that is on it for a good sum, enough to cover all the debts and leave me some money to have an allowance from. The insanity of all of this is the limited baggage because I didn’t sell my clothing or things and being limited to only two trunks is insane.
You are my one and only friend, the one person I can turn to that will listen to my problems and not criticize me for every little thing. I am finally packed; it took awhile to choose out my most precious belongings. The only bright spot in my life is that I get to keep the paint. Remember that horse I bought a while ago before my parents got eaten by that alligator. Well, anyways I’m spending the last night in my house. Tomorrow, Mr. Beket will drive me to Denver, Colorado, where I will stay until such time as a foster home becomes available. Why do I feel like I am a piece of luggage to be passed from place to place like I don’t even matter? Something nobody wants or needs.