To say that Wilson was surprised by the arrival of Mr. Roth would be an understatement. He had been so sure he would hear nothing. He supposed there could still have been a mistake, maybe Tooth had decided to send him a book or two. Regardless, there was no need to leave the man standing around in the hallway, so he invited him in.

Wilson hated having guests over, which worked out fine since to date no one had ever really wanted to come. It wasn’t that he did not enjoy the company, quite the contrary, it would have been quite nice to have someone to talk to from time to time. It was really more that he had never felt that his small apartment was quite up to the task. He didn’t have enough seating, for one. Actually he had almost exactly enough seating for one, just not so much for more than one, and what he did have was rather embarrassing. He had an old easy chair that had seen better days in the days when other chairs that had seen better days had been new. He had a small dining table that wobbled, and a dining chair that wobbled more. If he was lucky he could get them wobbling in sync, so it appeared that the table and chair were staying still and it was the apartment that was moving. The floor was covered by a threadbare rug, and the rug was covered by a squat coffee table that had once been painted but was now mostly paint chipped where he kept his book. He was used to it all, and generally fine with the state of things, but visitors made him very conscious of it all. The fact that Roth was actually here about Tooth, and possibly the fate of the book shop just made it worse.

He gestured Mr. Roth to sit down in the armchair. Other people would have said something along the lines of “Please, make yourself comfortable” but Wilson was at least moderately sure that was an impossible task for the chair. He’d found exactly one way to sit in it with a degree of comfort, and he really didn’t think that would work with even a slightly different body shape. He also found ┬áhe was having a difficult time speaking just then. He made his own way back over to the table, sighed again at his now abandoned dinner, already going slightly cold and beginning to congeal a bit around the edges, and grabbed the rickety dining chair to move into position across the coffee table from the slightly uncomfortable Mr. Roth.

“I apologize for the unconventional nature of this meeting, Mr. Pool” the little man stated. His mustache undulated oddly as he talked, as if it was a separate entity, hanging on for dear life. “Normally this would be a much for formal occasion, but in the case of Mr. Feris and due to the nature of his will a more personal face to face seemed appropriate.”

“You are seeing each of the..” He didn’t really want to even list himself as a beneficiary, he certainly didn’t want to presume, though he couldn’t think why else the man would be here, and the Officer had already named him. “Listed parties”, he concluded, “individually?”

“In a manner of speaking, Mr. Pool. It seems you are the only one.”


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