The Final Will And Testament Of Amelia P. Gibson

I’ve been toying with this idea for some time now, and the first month of 2022 seems as good a time as any to put my plan into action. You see, I have all these short stories lying around that are never going to get published. Some of them are older works from 10+ years ago, some are experiments, and some are the result of involvement in writing communities. I love these stories, and I want to share them with the world, but not all of them really reflect the brand I’ve been building. So although I would never put these in a collection to sell, I thought it might be nice to share some of them through my blog. Once a month, you’ll get to read a short story of mine that, more often than not, is written in a completely different style or genre. And, of course, I’ll be providing a little back story.

This month’s story is a comedy – I don’t write many of these. I felt that this would be an appropriate story to post for the month of January because today would have been Betty White’s 100th Birthday. Once you read The Final Will and Testament of Amelia P. Gibson, I’m sure you will understand why this was the obvious choice for today. And remember, if you love animals half as much as Betty White, or the fictional Amelia P. Gibson, then I strongly urge you to donate to an animal shelter today.

This short story was written when I was a part of the ReedsyPrompts community. Although I am no longer a part of the community as it just wasn’t for me, I really enjoyed the weekly writing prompts. They gave me a chance to experiment in other genres, but also encouraged me to think outside the box in my genres of choice. The Final Will and Testament of Amelia P. Gibson was written using the prompt: “Write a story that starts with someone writing their will – one they know people won’t like.” Rather than write a story that featured a controversial will, I wanted to experiment by telling the story through the will. And it paid off because my story was shortlisted for that week’s short story contest through ReedsyPrompts.

Honestly, I didn’t require a lot of brainstorming for the character of Amelia to pop into my head. She’s everything I would want to be if I was an eccentric old widow. Although Amelia certainly isn’t based on me – she’s her own person and I adore her. Her family (rather, the suggestion of her family) represents the stereotypical difficult family present at the reading of a will. But since family trauma is a topic I re-visit often in my writing, it made sense for my personal writing style to have Amelia surrounded by these appallingly toxic relatives. And if you’ve seen any of my many, many, many social media posts about my cats, then I’m sure you’ll have no trouble identifying who the cats in the story are based on.

I hope you enjoy this silly little story, and I hope you come to love Amelia P. Gibson as much as I do.

If you are reading this, then I am surely dead.

(Note to the person reading this aloud: Pause here for dramatic effect. It will drive my family insane.)

Do not pretend to be alarmed. You know I have always had a flair for the dramatic.

This is my final will and testament. I, Amelia P. Gibson, am of sound body and mind as I write this. My witnesses are Gloria Roberts, and my lawyer, Mr. Thorington. I trust them to carry out my final wishes.

All of you know that I have always been a stubborn old bat, and that no matter how hard you have all tried to convince me to change my ways, I never did. Now that I am dead, I certainly do not plan on changing anything about myself. I suppose what I am trying to say here is that you should not be at all shocked by the way I have divided my estate.

(Note: Brace yourself. I doubt my family will react kindly to what you are about to read. My only regret is that I will not be there in person to see the looks on their faces.)

First and foremost, all of you know that my cats mean the world to me. I have spoken to my dear friend Glo, and she has agreed to care for my precious babies when I am gone. My house is to be sold, and the money from the sale is to be given to my friend Gloria Roberts. I trust this money should be more than enough to help her keep my cats well fed and cared for. I have also encouraged her to adopt more cats, should there be sufficient funds to do so.

For my personal possessions, I have nothing of value left. When I could sense that the end was near, I sold off everything I could in order to prepare for this day. For the past few months, I have been living with only the barest essentials. My ungrateful family is welcome to fight over the few meagre possessions I have left, but I doubt they will find anything of value. Whatever they do not want is to be donated to a local charity of Mr. Thorington’s choosing.

Now, I am sure that some of you will feel offended by this obvious slight, but some of you are still waiting patiently in the hopes that good fortune is headed your way. I will tell you right now that none of you will ever lay a hand on my fortune. You, my family, have been horrible to me my entire life. You have always mocked the fact that my personal sense of style does not match your own. You told me I had failed as a woman when it became clear that I could not conceive and chose to adopt cats instead. You did not comfort me when my husband, the love of my life, passed away at far too young an age. From the moment I began to show signs of age, all of you have begun to circle like vultures, hoping to snatch up my hard-earned wealth. You horrid creatures will never even see a cent.

My entire fortune is to be divided equally between my five cats.

(Note: I do hope that it is Mr. Thorington reading this aloud. If not, do not be concerned. I am not senile enough to think my cats could spend millions of dollars. That would be absurd.)

For my old man Tiger: There is a donation to be made in his name to the Maple Grove Retirement Home. He has been my closest companion for many years and I can think of no better gift to him. In my old age, I was fortunate enough to be in relatively good health, and to be well-off enough to stay in my own home. Many others who are affected by the difficulties of old age are not so fortunate. I hope that Tiger’s donation will allow the wonderful folks at that home to live out the rest of their days with the quality of life they deserve.

For my beautiful Miss Abigail: There is a donation to be made in her name to Woodson Elementary School. She is the most intelligent cat I have ever owned, so I hope that her donation will help plenty of children to reach their full potential. Having known many teachers over the years, I know that those brilliant people will make good use of the money and be able to take even better care of their students

For my precious little Nugget: There is a donation to be made in her name to the Judy Greene Stray Cat Rescue. Nugget was found out in the rain when she was only two months old. I will forever be grateful to the rescue for saving her and nursing her back to health. They have done so much for so many other cats. In fact, all of my cats except for old Tiger have come from that rescue. I admire the work that they do, and I hope that Nugget’s donation will provide them with the resources to rescue and care for even more cats in need.

For my one-eyed Toby: There is a donation to be made in his name to the Mills Children’s Hospital. Toby had his eye removed as a kitten because it had been deformed since birth. That is why his donation will be used to help all of the children who so desperately need medical care. I hope that the money will allow the hospital to purchase all of the equipment and supplies that they could possibly need at this time.

For my adventurous Fluff: There is a donation to be made in his name to the Riverside Beekeeper’s Association. Sweet Fluff was the only one of my cats who enjoyed venturing outside. I even had to purchase a leash for him! Due to his love of nature, his donation will be going to support the beekeepers and their bees. I hope that Fluff’s donation will allow them to better help our local pollinators. If anything were to happen to the bees, I am sure that all of nature would suffer.

Now, if I know my family, I am certain that you have all been shouting, and protesting, and hurling abuse at the poor person reading this will aloud. If what I have just written is true, then I am glad that I decided not to give you goons any of my money. You are deplorable people and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. I hope you can all learn to be better.

(Note: thank you so much for reading my will. I am terribly sorry if my awful family caused you any discomfort today. There should be a small envelope that has been kept with the will. Mr. Thorington assured me that this would be done. There is some money in there for you for your troubles. I really hope they weren’t too hard on you. I know how frustrating they can be. But I do truly appreciate your assistance today.)

Signed,

Amelia P. Gibson

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