How The Lottery Gave Me A New Life

Chapter 2: A Property Owner

Sunday


 

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of the phone in the cottage ringing. Since nobody knew I was here, I did not think the call was for me. I heard John's voice calling my name on the answering machine so I jumped up to answer the phone.

"Good Morning, Paul. I hope I didn't wake you up."

"Actually, you did, but I fell asleep on the couch."

"I'm sorry. I was wondering if you wanted to have breakfast in town to go into more details about your plans for the properties."

"Sure, I guess so. It's not like I have any plans today." I chuckled.

"Great...how about we meet at the same restaurant in about an hour?"

"Sounds good...I'll see you then."

I went into the bathroom to throw some water on my face and freshen up to wake up.

********

I noticed John and Marj already seated at a booth when I walked in.

"I'm so sorry for John waking up, Paul," Marj said.

"It's all right. I really didn't mind. It did feel strange waking up in the cottage."

"Well, you are too forgiving. John has not even been to sleep yet. He is acting like a little boy in a candy store ever since he heard that you will be buying those 4 cottages."

"I'm just being a good Realtor. I can not help it if I'm passionate."

"I appreciate your passion and all the advice you have given me so far."

"See Paul understands."

"Well, you know that your passion can get a bit over the top. I came to try and keep him on a short leash for you Paul."

"I appreciate that too Marj. You may need a second leash for me too." I chuckled.

"As much as I do appreciate the commissions we will be making off you, I really do not want to take advantage of your windfall." She said.

"I do not want to take advantage of you either Paul. I can just see the potential for this area if you are willing to invest in it."

"Well, I do plan on investing as much as possible in this area. I fell in love with this village over 30 years ago. I love the small town atmosphere. People are real and genuine here. When someone is a store asks if they can help you, they really mean it. It's not an act with them. This is 'Home' to me."

"I'm glad to hear you feel that way," Marj said.

"Even John is being himself with me." I chuckled.

"Well, that's not always a good thing." Marj teased.

"OH...There's Robert. He is the roofing Contractor Marj told you about." John said as he darted outside.

"John...!" Was all Marj could say before John was out the door.

"I'm so sorry Paul." She said as she turned back to me.

"It's quite alright. Please don't feel embarrassed."

"Paul, this is Robert. He is the best roofer in the area." John said as he dragged Robert into the restaurant.

"Hi Paul..."

"Hi Robert."

"Would you like to join us, Robert?" Marj politely asked.

"No...thanks anyway. I've already had breakfast."

"Well, at least have a coffee. Paul needs a roofer. He is buying 4 of our listings."

"JOHN! Paul does not need you advertising that around." Marj whispered and scolded him.

"It is true, John. I would like to keep my windfall kind of secret." I said meekly.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Paul," John said meekly.

"Don't worry, Paul. I would blab it around." Robert said.

"Thanks, Robert. I would like to hire you if you are available; since you come highly recommended." I teased as I pointed to John.

"I would appreciate the extra work. I'm just finishing up one roof this week and do not have any projects lined up since winter is right around the corner."

"If you wanted to wait until spring, we can," I suggested.

"No, that is not necessary. Business has been kind of light with the downturn in the economy so the extra work will be appreciated."

"Alright...I'm guessing that John would not have any problem showing you the 2 cottages that I would like a metal roof put on."

"I would be happy too. We can head out after breakfast if you are free, Robert." John said.

"I really did not have any plans so I guess we could look at the cottages so I can get an idea as to the size of the jobs. I could give you a rough estimate too, Paul."

"There is no rush since I won't be taking ownership until at least next Friday." I said.

"Paul, will you be staying in the area today?" John asked.

"I have no plans to leave right away."

"Great. I would like to get together with you to go through the business opportunities for sale in this area."

"I can take Paul over to the office to show them to him while you take Robert to the 2 cottages Paul wants done."

"But..." Was all John could say when he saw Marj give him a stern look.

"No offence John but I think Marj would be a better choice at least to show me what is available in the area. I need to slow myself down and take things one step at a time. I still want you to show me the potentials of each property."

John handed me a folder of all the potential properties he had printed out last night as he stood up to leave with Robert. He avoided looking at Marj as he did that.

"Why don't you start by telling me what sort of business investments you would like to invest in?" Marj asked as we stepped into the real estate office.

"Well honestly, I do not want to be 'hands-on' like a manager. I would rather hire a manager if the business needed one."

"So, would you prefer rental properties?"

"I would like to invest in rental properties. I would also like to invest in businesses like the restaurant across the street and hire staff to run it. I would not want it to compete with the restaurant that we were just at. I would like to set it up in a way where it has a totally different menu and atmosphere. I also want to hire local students that are just starting out rather than experienced people from outside the area."

"I'm glad to hear you want to keep things local. It's sad when our youth have to leave the area to find work."

"Well, I want to give the youth of the area as much help as possible. I would like to give them the opportunities that I never had starting out."

"What do you mean?"

"I would like to sponsor as many youths as possible that would need further education but could not get it from the government loans. The government has way too many restrictions on student loans. The youth needs a part-time job just to make enough to live on as they go to post secondary school."

"That is very generous of you, Paul."

"Not really. The way I look at it is, if I help further a youth's education, I might have the first opportunity to hire them after their education."

"I'm not sure what you mean."

"Ok, let's take the restaurant across the street. If I was to sponsor a young man to go to 'Chef's College,' when he graduates, I might be able to hire him to run the restaurant for me. In a way, it's a small price to pay to get a great lifetime employee or manager."

"That makes perfect sense to me too."

"I would also like to fund start-up businesses for students with a great business ideas or apprenticeships. I could buy places like an old garage; hire an older mechanic as long as the mechanic agreed to take on one or two apprentices."

"There is an old garage for sale just outside of town."

"Well, add that one to John's long list." I chuckled.

"I think he already has it printed out." She giggled.

"I would also like to sponsor any young man that wanted to run a small business like the small bulk food store. I would have no problem paying for his business management education as long as he came back to run a business in town."

"What about financing new businesses for the village?"

"I would consider it but I do not want to take away from any business that is already well established in the village. That is why I would insist on a totally different menu if I invested in the restaurant across the street."

"Well, you could set up a partnership with a current business owner to expand their business or inventory. I know of a few owners that would like to expand but can not get the capital from the banks."

"I'm open to investments like that."

"I'll look into that for you next week and let you know."

"I would really like to see that movie theatre up and running again. I don't care if I would have to take a loss and run it in the red."

"I can look into that for you. I know many residence and business owners were sad that it was not open this past summer season."

We spent the rest of the morning going over the businesses from the folder John handed me. I decided on 3 business buildings along with the restaurant and movie theatre across the road. There were also a few campgrounds in the area that I wanted to look into. We were just finishing up when John came into the office.

"So, ready to get started on that folder?" He said as soon as he came in.

"Actually, we were just finishing up." Marj teased.

"What...?" John looked so disappointed.

"Don't worry; you will have more than enough work to keep you busy." She chuckled.

"REALLY...?" He perked up excitedly.

"Yes, I am considering several business investments as long as I can find the staff to run them." I teased.

"I'm sure we can find the staff for you." John said.

"Well, I'll leave those properties in your capable hands."

"Did you want to talk about them over lunch?" John asked.

"I think Paul is all talked out about business for now," Marj interjected.

"Well, I do think I owe John equal time."

"All right, I'll let you two go off. Just don't try and let him talk you into any more properties. You will have your hands full with the ones you already picked out." She said as she handed me the folder of the properties I picked out.

"Well, after being unemployed since February, I'm looking forward to being busy for a change."

 

********

"Robert was very excited to see the size of the roofs you wanted redone." John said as we sat down.

"Do you think he will have them done before the snow flies?"

"Once he gets the old shingles off and the metal ones on site, it should not take him that long. He should have them both done before winter hits."

"I also want solar panels so I'm not sure if that will affect how he installs the metal roofs."

"I can contact a local solar contractor and have him work with Robert to get both jobs done together. Which cottage do you want started first?"

"It really doesn't matter to me. I guess the smaller one. That is the one I plan on living in."

"What do you plan on using the larger one for?"

"I guess I'll use that one to entertain guests in. It has more room for social gatherings."

After a long lunch, I decided to head down to the city. I really wanted to be the first one in the lottery office as soon as it opened in the morning. I figured I would find a place to park the camper and sleep in it. On the way, I stopped at a grocery store to pick out some things to tie me over until I cashed my lottery check. I was so grateful for the money John had given me. I vowed to myself to find a way to pay him back.

I found a place along the waterfront to park the camper and spend the night. I could not believe how much my life had changed already in the last 36 hours.


Monday:

My New Life Begins


I parked the camper in a pay parking lot and walked a couple of blocks to the building that had the lottery office in it. I was extremely nervous as I paced outside the lottery office before it opened. I knew it was going to take a couple of hours to run the credit checks on me before they issued me my check. It was the longest couple of hours of my life. I was literally shaking when they handed me the cheque for $60 Million dollars.

I called Frank at the motor-home dealership to tell him that I got my lottery check. He agreed to follow me up north to the village where I would be opening up a new account in a local bank.

 

********

I walked up to the 'Customer Service' desk in the bank.

"Hello...how may I help you?" The girl behind the desk asked me.

"I would like to open a new account," I said as my hands shook as I took out the lottery check.

"I can help you with that. How much will you be depositing today?"

"Ummmm, $60 Million..." I whispered as I handed her the lottery check.

"OH MY GOD!" She gasped as she sat back down on the chair and everyone in the bank looked in our direction.

"Is there something wrong, Tammy?" A gentleman asked as he came rushing out from one of the offices and nervously looked at me.

"OH My..." It was all he said as she showed him my lottery check.

"Is there something wrong?" I hesitantly said.

"Oh no, I'm sorry...It just that we have not seen a lottery check that large here in our small village." The gentleman said.

"I was hoping to keep it a secret but I can see that is not going to be easy in a small village." I half chuckled.

"I can assure you that I will instruct my staff to keep this confidential." He said.

"I would appreciate that."

"Would you follow me into my office, Sir?"

"Please, just call me Paul."

"You can call me Charles. I'm the bank manager. Do you have any immediate plans for this amount of money, Paul?"

"As a matter of fact, I do. There is a gentleman sitting in the bank waiting for a bank draft for the campers that I purchased from him already over the weekend."

"We can handle that right away."

"I'm also in the process of purchasing a few properties in the area."

"Well, you sure do not waste any time." He chuckled.

"I had been planning and dreaming about this for a very long time. Plus, I hated just waiting around on the weekend."

"You are aware that this is quite a large amount of money. You have not delegated the entire amount yet have you?"

"Oh, no...I am not about to go on a huge spending spree. I do have plans on several business investments but they won't even cover half that amount."

"Did you want to invest some of this money in a retirement fund?"

"I'm not really a big fan of those types of investments; especially given the current financial situations around the world."

"I do understand but we need to figure out where to divide this amount up."

"Is it possible just to put it in a high-interest savings account?"

"We can set that up for you. I would recommend some sort of security investment too."

"I really do appreciate your honest opinions and recommendations. I will be happy to discuss all my financial options with you possibly tomorrow. Right now I need to get that bank draft to my salesman out front and the rest of the money into some sort of savings account. I would like a nice chunk of cash to spend now and set up some sort of secure credit card."

"We can look after all that right now. I'll issue the bank draft to your salesman out front and have my secretary get the paperwork needed for the credit card and a savings account. Is there any amount of cash you had in mind?"

"How much can I get right now?" I half chuckled.

"I could get you $25,000 but I don't think it is wise to walk around with that much cash."

"I do not think there is a high rate of crime in this village."

"True but still not advisable. I could arrange traveller's checks for that amount. It would be safer."

"I really do appreciate you looking out for me. I really do. I am going to count on your financial advice once I wrap my head around this windfall. I just want to 'FEEL' wealthy right now and having that amount of cash would do that for me."

"I understand Paul. I guess I would want to feel like you do too. I'll see to the cash withdrawal too."

"When you issue the bank draft for my salesman out front, would you issue him another one in his name for $10,000?"

"Sure, I'll see to that right now. May I ask what that is for?"

"It's just a bonus for the great service he gave me."

"You are very generous."

"I just believe in paying for good service."

"I hope your generosity does not leave you broke."

"Oh, don't worry about that. I'm counting on you to making sure my money does generate enough to satisfy my generous nature." I chuckled.

"I will do my best." He said as he stepped out of the office to see to my immediate requests.

"I'm so sorry for my earlier outburst, Sir." The secretary said as she came in to help me get started on the paperwork.

"That's alright. Please, just call me Paul."

"Thank you, Paul."

I used the tiny cottage address that I slept in even though I did not have it in my name right away.

I was finished with most of the basic paperwork by the time Charles came back into the office.

"Alright, your salesman got his bank drafts as you requested. I have one of the tellers working on your cash withdrawal. How are we doing in here?"

"She has been very helpful explaining all these bank forms."

"All you need to do is fill in the amounts Mr. Jones." She said.

"Thank you."

"Now Paul you mentioned that you wanted a secured credit card. You can apply for a regular credit card and I'm sure you will be granted one."

"Well, I went bankrupt a couple of years ago so my credit rating is not great."

"Well, I can help you re-establish your credit rating for you."

"I would appreciate that. For now, I would just like a secure credit card."

"Do you have an amount in mind?"

"I don't know...how about $100,000?"

"We can do that. We can secure the card with a savings bond. That way it will earn you a bit of interest at the same time."

"That sounds good to me."

"Great, now what about a daily withdrawal limit on your savings account?"

"You mean I have to have a limit?" I chuckled.

"Well, technically yes for the paperwork but all you need to do is make a call if you want to go over that limit."

"Alright...how about $50,000?"

"You do not plan on withdrawing that each day?" He said shocked.

"No, but I do plan on doing some immediate shopping for my new places so I'll need that for things like furnishings."

"Alright....is there anything else you had plans for?" He asked.

"I would eventually like to set up some sort of foundation or charity fund and a business account once I figure out names for both."

"I can look into your options and get back to you on that."

"I would appreciate that."

"Alright...here is your new temporary secured credit card. One with your name on it should be mailed to you and you should have it by the end of the week."

"Here is the cash withdrawal you requested, Mr. Jones." She said as she came back in the office with a small cardboard box."

"Thank you. I requested that your cash withdrawal be in small denominations. I hope that is what you wanted Paul."

"Yes, thank you. That is exactly how I wanted it."

"Very good....Well...I think that about wraps it up for now."

"Oh, could you make up one more bank drafts for my mother?"

"You forgot about your mother?"

"Well, we were never that close...long story."

"How much would you like the draft made out for?"

"Well, eventually I plan on paying for her new home so make the draft out for $250,000."



"Hey Frank, I thought you would be halfway back to the dealership by now," I said when I came out of the bank.

"I would have been, but I wanted to personally thank you for your generosity."

"You gave me great service. That was the only way I knew how to show you my appreciation."

"Well, the commissions I made on your purchases would have been plenty."

"I know. I just wanted to do something extra."

"Well, I do appreciate it. Here is the ownership and insurance slips to your new camper and I already put your new plates on it."

"Thank you so much, Frank."

"I put the order in for the other motor-home and it should be ready sometime in December."

"I'll look forward to that Xmas present." I chuckled.

We shook hands, and he was off back down the highway.

 

********

"Paul..." John shouted from across the road.

"Hey John."

"All the owners agreed to your terms for the sale of the 4 properties. They signed the papers, and we filed the paperwork this afternoon."

"That's great."

"The owners of the two main cottages want to take you up on your offer for the hotel rooms for 2 weeks."

"Of course, that's not a problem."

They said they could be out by tomorrow night even though the final paperwork will not be finalized until Friday if you could issue them the bank drafts for them tomorrow."

"I can do that; all I need is the amounts."

"I have the names and amounts back at the office."

"Great. Would you mind meeting me at the bank in the morning?"

"Sure. I assume you have already got your lottery check and cashed it."

"Yes, that's where I just came out of."

"What are your plans for tonight?"

"I'm actually not sure. I finally got cash of my own in my pocket and a secure credit card. It still doesn't feel real to me."

"I can only imagine. Maybe you should go out and celebrate."

"Oh, I plan on doing that, eventually." I chuckled.

"Why wait? You said you have money in your pocket and a new credit card. Go get a room at the Pinestone Inn. It's the best resort in the area."

"Maybe you are right. Will you and Marj stop by after dinner?"

"I think I can talk her into it." He chuckled.

"Great. How about you come by around 7 pm?"

"7 pm will be perfect."

"See you then."

********



It hit me as soon as I jumped back into 'my' new camper. At that moment, I realized that the camper was now actually mine. I pulled the ownership out of my pocket and looked at the name on it. It was my name on a brand new camper. I went into the back and just sat at the dinette and stared at the ownership. I opened the box with my cash in it and placed it on the table. It was still hard to believe that it was real. I eventually stopping thinking and staring at everything on the table. I put a couple hundred dollars in my pocket and put the rest back in the box. I hid the box in the back bedroom. I jumped back in the driver's seat and headed for the Pinestone Resort.

"Hello Sir, would you like a room?"

"Actually, I would like two rooms. Is the honeymoon suite available?"

"Yes, it is."

"Great. There will be a couple coming in around 7 pm. I would like you to give them the honeymoon suite when they ask for my room number."

"So, they don't know you are getting the room for them?"

"No, I want it to be a surprise for them."

"That sounds so romantic. Are they your parents?"

"No, they are actually my real estate agents." I chuckled.

"Wow, they must be great agents." She giggled.

"Well, they were great to me."

"What are their names?"

"John and Marj..."

"Oh, My GOD..." She exclaimed before I could say the last name.

"What?"

"Do they have an office in the village down the highway?"

"Yes, they do...why?"

"They are my parents." She said excitedly.

"Well then, I guess you know how to make the room even more romantic for them." I chuckled.

"I sure do and I'll give you the best discount since you are doing this for my parents."

"I don't want your father to pay for a thing. I want all their meals and room service put on my bill."

"I will Sir."

"Please call me Paul."

"Thank you so much for doing this for my parents."

"Like I said, they were great to me so it's the least I can do for them."

"They will be so surprised."

"Now I want you to escort them down to their room when they arrive. You can tell them you are taking them to my room but end up at their room."

"I will enjoy doing that." She giggled excitedly.

"In order for this to be a surprise, I think you have to tone down your excitement." I chuckled.

"Oh, don't worry...I'll not spoil this surprise for them."

"You can use the excuse that I stepped out, and you were instructed to show them into the room. That will give you an excuse to open the door for them. Can you have a bottle of champagne in the room for them too?"

"That sounds perfect."

"Feel free to add anything else to the room to make it special for them."

"Will it just be for tonight?"

"No, I think it should be for tomorrow night as well. That way they will have something to look forward to tomorrow night after tonight's shock wears off."

"Will you be taking your room for 2 nights as well?"

"No, but I will need to book 2 rooms for 2 weeks for another 2 couples. I don't know their names but your parents do." I chuckled.

"May I ask why you are booking two rooms for 2 couples that you don't know?"

"Well, I'm buying their cottages and I'm impatient. I did not want to traditionally wait until the end of the month to move in."

"Wow, you sound like you won the lottery." She teased.

"Actually, I did..."

"Did what?"

"Win the lottery."

"No way...! You're fooling me." She gasped.

"Ask your parents." I teased.

"You're serious..."

"Yep."

"OH WOW! I've never met a lottery winner. How much did you win?"

"I won last Friday night's jackpot."

"That was...$60 Million!!!" She gasped.

"Ya I'm still trying to wrap my head around that figure." I chuckled.

"So what cottage did you buy?"

"Actually, I bought 4 properties around the area that your parents had listed on their website."

"FOUR???? Oh you mean 4 small cottages."

"No, actually only one was classified as a small cottage. I only bought that one so I could canoe over to the retreat property I bought across the lake."

"I know that property; it's the one with the Bunkie with the movie posters upstairs."

"That's the one."

"What were the other two cottages?"

"One was the most expensive cottage on your parents' website and the other one was the 3rd most expensive on their site." I teased.

"OH I know the first one but I guess I'll have to look on their website to guess the other one."

"Is that before or after you set up your parents honeymoon suite?"

"Oh, right...here is the key to your suite." She giggled.

"Thank you...After you surprise your parents; tell them I'll see them in the morning. I was supposed to meet them tonight but I think they should enjoy their room tonight."

"What if they want to know your room?"

"Just tell them that I've gone for a drive and won't be back until late."

"Thank you again for doing this for my parents. They never splurge on themselves."

"I've enjoyed doing this for them. Let me know how it goes."

"I will."

After I checked out my own room, I decided to go shopping. All the stores in the village were closed, so I headed over to a small city about two hours away. It would still give me an hour to do some shopping.

My first stop was a liquor store. I was not able to afford any booze since February so I decided to celebrate with my favourite Canadian whisky.

I then went to the nearest mall just to walk around. I bought a few new clothes, 2 new game consoles and a few games.

On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some things to eat once I moved into my new cottages. It felt great not looking at the price of things and worrying of I had enough money in the bank. The cart was full by the time I got to the cashier. I was shocked when the bill came to over $300.

I did manage to find a spot for everything in the camper's fridge and cupboards.

I brought my new bottle of whisky and my new clothes into the hotel room. I found a nice thank you note from Marj in my hotel room when I got back. She joked that she has to spend the night mending John's broken heart when he found out that he was not going to talk real estate with you all night.

I poured myself a drink and then stripped out of my old clothes. I brought my drink and bottle into the bathroom. I took a nice long hot shower and then soaked in the whirlpool tub.

I made myself a second drink after I got out of the tub. I threw on my new bathrobe and decided to sit out of the private patio for a few minutes. It was a cool November evening, but it was a clear night with a bright full moon lighting up the night sky. I sat on the lounge chair and gave thanks to the universal Spirits, God, My Spirit Guide, for giving me a new life. I was not sure what I believed at that moment but I knew there was a higher power at work in my life.

 


Tuesday:

Leaving My Old Life Behind.


I woke up the next morning. I realized that I actually slept all the way through the night. I've always woken up, tossed and turned and then fell back to sleep. Last night I slept right through the night.

I met Marj and John in the atrium having breakfast.

"Thanks for standing me up last night." John chuckled.

"You don't look any worse for wear." I teased

"Actually, I am a bit worn out." John laughed while Marj blushed.

"Thank you again for setting us up for the room last night."

"Well, your daughter was a big help with the surprise."

"So when would you like to go to the bank?" John asked.

"We can leave right away to get all those bank drafts on one condition."

"What is that Paul?"

"You have to promise to come back here with your wife and spend the day with her."

"All Day...?" John joked.

"I think with my commissions you two can afford to take a day off."

"If I know my husband, he will still be on the phone most of the day." Marj giggled.

"Well, maybe I should get your daughter to hold your phones until tomorrow morning." I teased.

"You are trying to give me a heart attack?" John whined.

"Well, at least you will die happy." I chuckled.

"I'll go to the office to reschedule today's appointments while you two are at the bank," Marj said.

"You drive a hard bargain, Paul."

"That means we thank you for your generosity," Marj added.

 

********

It took us about an hour in the bank to make up all the bank drafts for all the properties.

Marj was waiting for us in the office. She handed me the keys to my new homes and said the owners should be out by 6pm. I told her that I had arranged for two rooms at the Pinestone for the owners. I agreed to another 2 rooms for their children. John tried to talk about the other investment properties I was considering but I reminded him that it was his day off.

After I gathered up by belongings back at the hotel and checked out, I headed back to 'mother's house' to pack up the few personal belongings that I left behind.

When she asked me about the camper, I told her that I won last Friday's lottery and handed her the bank draft for $250,000. As I was packing up my personal belongings, we got into this huge fight over money. She expected me to give her half of my winnings. All my life it had always been about money with her. We never had a mother/son relationship. It was always her house and never our home. She never showed me any motherly love. She never even said the words. It only took me about a ½ an hour to gather up my personal belongings. She asked me about all the other 'crap' I was leaving in the bedroom. I told her that she can have fun destroying it and throwing everything out.

I immediately went down to the post office to fill out a change of address form. I again used the tiny cottage as my new address. I cancelled the insurance on the minivan that I had with a company in town. I went to the Ministry of Transportation and changed the address on my driver's licence.

I was thrilled to finally be free of her and that town. I had a lot more bad memories than good ones living there. I drove down to the motor-home dealership.

"Hello Paul. I hope there are no problems already with the camper." Frank said as he greeted me outside.

"Hi Frank. No, there the camper is running great. I came back to figure out what to do with the minivan. You wouldn't know anyone that needs a vehicle?"

"Well, I have a son going to college but he could not afford to buy it off you."

"You know I don't need the money for it. If you think your son could use the minivan, give it to him. I'll even pay the first year's insurance on the van if that will help him out."

"That is very generous of you."

"Not really, I just really want to get rid of it."

"May I ask why, Paul?"

"Let's just say it reminds me of my old life and I don't want to be reminded of that time."

"I can understand that."

"I cancelled the insurance on it already so maybe we can set up an insurance policy for your son before I leave."

"Don't worry about that. I'll look after that for him."

I signed over the ownership over to him. I put $1,000 in an old envelope with Frank's name on it and slipped it into the glove box in the minivan. I took off the plates off the van.

As I was walking back to my camper, I saw a row of enclosed cargo trailers. I picked out a large black one to match my camper. I went in and bought it with cash.

I texted Frank's cell phone as I drove off the lot and told him to check the glove box in the minivan.

 

********

For the first time in my life, I felt totally free. I was financially free, and I also felt totally stress-free. I did not know what to do with myself. I still felt exactly the same as I did last week; except free. I did not feel wealthy.

I drove to one of the local malls to wander around. I decided to get two new cell phones; one for personal use and one for business. I also asked for two new 'unlisted' phone numbers. I did not even want my old number to remind me of my past. The clerk activated the phones before I left and wrote down the new numbers for me.

I texted Frank, Marj and John's cell phones from the new business cell phone to give them my new phone number.

I wandered into an electronics store and came out with a new laptop and tablet.

I decided to have a late lunch or early dinner at the food court in the mall. It felt great not having to worry about the prices.


Wednesday


I woke up and realized that I slept all the way through the night again. I woke up refreshed and eager to get started on a new day.

I checked my business cell phone and had 3 messages from John. On one message, he said he drove out to all my properties looking for me.

I called Marj's cell phone to let her know and to tell John that I was alive and well. I told her that I was heading back. I asked her if she could arrange to have a locksmith change all the locks on my cottages. I wanted a combination electronic lock as well as a key lock. She said she had all the spare keys the couples left with them and would get John to go out to the properties with a locksmith.

I agreed to meet them at our usual restaurant for dinner so they could give me the new keys and the manuals to set up the electronic passwords.

As usual, John wanted to talk about real estate during dinner. He was not a typical pushy salesman. He really was a nice guy. I tried to explain to him that everything he was explaining was a bit overwhelming. Marj understood what I was trying to say. John apologized for being so passionate. He agreed to slow things down. I agreed to look over all the paperwork he worked hard at putting together and call him when I decided.

All through dinner; people were looking over at us and whispering. One outspoken but nice woman came over to congratulate me on my windfall and to welcome me to the village. It was then that I figured my secret was out, and it was useless trying to keep it a secret in a small village. Everyone was still genuinely warm and friendly toward me. Nobody was just being nice to get something out of me. Some people left me their business cards and offered to help me any way they could.

Outside, Marj handed me a bottle of champagne from their car and John handed me a bottle of scotch. They said it was their house warming gifts to welcome me into the area. I thanked them and we went our separate ways.

It felt strange driving up to my personal cottage alone. I still felt like I was trespassing on someone else's property.

After I looked around, I decided that I would sleep in the bed in the camper. I did not feel comfortable sleeping in the beds the previous owners had slept in even though I owned them. I decided to go furniture shopping in the morning to find a brand new bed. 


Replacement Evil Editor's Note:

Paul still has no idea what is actually going to happen to the rest of his life. He is riding the crest of a Tsunami and he had better hold on for dear life. So fasten your seat belts and get ready for the rest of the roller coaster rides. I am very interested in the next chapter, so Silas hurry up and write it!

Oh, wait it is already in my Inbox, I will go read it and let you know what is going to happen....See Ya Next Time!

TSL