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It Was a Small Box
by Doreen Hammond
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


It was a small box, but perfectly round enough for Bosco, Sharon’s ninety pound boxer to swallow. Looking up at his mistress, while she sat at her sitting table frantically searching for the box, Bosco licked his chops and let out a burp.

“Oh Bosco! Where is that silly little box? It was right here a minute ago. It’s been here for weeks. Do you realize how important this box is? It’s worth a lot of money…well…it could be. It may not have looked like much, but it’s what’s inside it that counts!” Sharon continued her search, opening the drawers and moving things about, reorganizing as she went.

Cocking his head from side to side, as if he understood her words, Bosco reached with his giant paw and rested it on her thigh.

Reaching over and lifting his heavy paw off of her, Sharon pet his head. “I don’t have time to play now, boy. I have to find that box!”

The doorbell rang and Bosco ran to the door, with Sharon chasing him. Fighting to keep Bosco away from the mailman, she managed to sign for the package before the mailman got away, and shut the door before Bosco got out.

“I’ve been expecting this letter, boy. I’m glad he came on Saturday, while I was home to sign for it.”

Walking towards the kitchen table, Bosco close at her heels, she tore open the envelope and began reading:

Dear Miss Brighten,

Bring this letter, along with the combination to the safe, to the following address two weeks from today at 3:00 p.m. The inheritance will be given at that time. Legal representation will be provided.

Please don’t be late.

Sharon sat with her mouth open wide, wondering what her dear Aunt Clara could have possibly left her. She died at age 80. Her mother,s only sister never had any children, and with Sharon being an only child, she was pretty spoiled by Aunt Clara. It was weird that she was having such drama over her will. However, she was her favorite aunt, so whatever Aunt Clara wanted, as her dying wish Sharon would comply.

At thirty-five and still single, Sharon was following closely in her aunts footsteps. A third grade teacher and a CPR instructor, she stayed pretty busy. Except for Bosco, her aunt preferred cats over dogs. Remembering their last visit when Bosco rested his head on Aunt Clara’s lap, she touched his nose with her skinny, pointy finger and said, “You take care of your maw.”

Clutching the letter to her chest, she stood at the refrigerator reminiscing. Snapping back to attention with the sound of the ice dropping from the ice maker, she put the letter on the refrigerator, out of reach from Bosco and went back to search for the combination. It shouldn’t be hard to find, since she never moved it from her dressing table.

Bosco lay on the floor, just a few feet from his mistress and watched her rummage around for the box. Again, almost as if he knew what she was looking for, he covered his eyes with one paw, peeking through a tiny sliver. He began to roll over on his back and act silly. Trying to bite his tail, he attempted to distract Sharon from her hunt.

“Okay, boy. What have you done?”

Jumping to her attention, Bosco got down into the play stance with his hind end in the air and his front legs on the floor. Tail wagging, he was ready to have fun.

Knowing her dog’s behavior, she knew he did something he didn’t want to get caught for. “Bosco! Did you take my box? Please tell me you didn’t!”

Bosco excitedly began to hop and run in circles. Tongue out happily, eyes shiny, he was clearly happy about something.

“You did! No wonder I can’t find it! Oh no, Bosco! Dog gone it! Now what am I gonna do?” Realizing she had two choices, Sharon opted to let nature take its course.

The following morning, Bosco woke Sharon up early in the morning. He had to go outside to do his business. As usual, she took a plastic bag to pick up his droppings, but this time, she took two.

“Found it! Thanks, Bosco, you wonderful dog!” Depositing the prize in the extra bag, they quickly came back into the house for sterilization of the box.

Two weeks passed rather slowly as they waited for the date to finally arrive. Sharon, having never been to a will reading before, dressed in a plain navy skirt and jacket, with a basic white shirt. Clutching the box in one hand and the letter in the other, she headed out the door.

“See ya later, Bosco. Be Good!”

Nervously, she drove into town. Wondering what was the gain? Of course she needed money, who didn’t? But she didn’t recall her aunt being rich or having much in the way of furniture. Instead of letting her mind ramble any longer, she decided to just wait until she got there to find out the truth.

Fifteen minutes later she pulled into a parking space of an old house turned into an office building. She grabbed her purse along with the box and letter and walked to the front door. Inside, she was greeted by a cheery middle-aged, heavy set woman named Sherry.

“Hi. May I help you?”

“Yes Ma’am. I’m Sharon Brighton. I have an appointment at 3:00.”

Looking at her schedule, she made a check and asked her to ‘have a seat’ while she announced her.

Sharon sat down and picked up a magazine. Anticipation was beginning to mound.

About ten minutes later, a handsome young man came out to collect her, apologizing for the delay. Introducing himself as her legal representation, she reached out and shook his hand.

“Hi Mr. Stanley…I’ve waited two weeks. I suppose ten extra minutes won’t kill me.” Sharon said nervously trying to make light conversation.

“Well, the wait is over, Miss Brighton. Right this way.” He directed her into a large dark conference room where they were met by a lawyer representing her aunt’s estate and a legal secretary. They sat around a huge oak conference table. The walls were black curtains. The light was poor and only shown on the table.

The formalities over, the meeting began.

Mr. Ranker, Sharon’s aunt’s lawyer, requested the box.

“Here you go.” Sharon handed it over.

Opening the box, he pulled out the tiny paper inside and unfolded it. Using a magnifying glass, he read the numbers aloud so the secretary could record them on her laptop. Then, turning behind him, he moved the curtain out of the way, revealing a safe on a cart. The safe was no bigger than a bread box.

Sharon’s curiosity was provoked. What was in the box for her?

Opening the safe, he revealed an envelope along with a bigger box, much similar to the one Sharon brought in, only this one was as big as a coffee cup.

“I’ve been your aunt’s lawyer for many years. She was a dear woman and she was fond of you.” Tearing open the envelope, he continued, “When you were born, she started a savings account and as she prospered, she increased her donation into your account. Eventually, she invested it for you. When you became a teacher, she was so very proud of you, she tripled her contributions. Her investors advised her wisely until she became part owner into two different companies, leaving you her shares.” Putting on his reading glasses, he peered over the top to take a peek at Sharon as she sat on the edge of her seat trying not to appear too excited.

“The first share is Purina Dog Food Corporation. Her investments increased in the last two years, since you got Bosco.

The second share is Intel. Not understanding what industry was about back then; your aunt picked this up cheap and never wavered. You, Miss Brighton, are the proud owner of these two companies, or so to speak.”

Sharon sat dumbfounded. Speechless, she put her hands up to her mouth. Never at a loss for words before, all eyes were on her.

“I almost forgot this.” Mr. Ranker walked over to Sharon and gave her the large box. Carefully, Sharon opened the lid and exposed a beautiful diamond brooch in the shape of Bosco. Inside was a hand written note:

My dear Sharon,

I know you are a self-sufficient young lady. I’m very proud of you. Life is short. Trust God. Live your dream. Have your kids without worry. Write your book. Take care of the helpless and unfortunate. I know that is your heart’s desire. I’ve watched you all of your life and now, I give mine to you. Enjoy it. I love you very much.

Aunt Clara

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