"Duncan's Legacy"
a short story by G.E. Nordell

        So I dropped in at The Office, the old beer bar on Fifth, off of Spring. The folks in there was happy and upbeat for a change, so after I tasted my beer I ask’em, “Why’s everybody so cheerful this morning?”
        “Ol’ Duncan died last night.”
        Duncan was a good man, so it made no sense they was happy about it.
        “I didn’t hear. What happened?”
        “Well, he lived on the third floor of that Golden Arms fly trap and he clumb the stairs and sat down to rest a bit and his heart just stopped and somebody found him and they called the coroner and the boys on the meat wagon had to unfold him to get him on the stretcher and they took him away.”
        “Terrible thing. Duncan was a good man. But why the cheerful attitude? Why’s that make you all happy?”
        “Sure, terrible thing. He still owes me a fiver.”
        Gertie chimed in. “Remember couple years back, the cops picked him up on drunk and disorderly?”
        ”I remember. He took a swing at the cop or something.”
        “Right. So the first cop writes him up for drunk and disorderly, and the second cop writes him up for resisting arrest.”
        “Three days later, they let him out on the D and D charge. Only.”
        “Wait a minute. They put Duncan in jail twice. And let him out once?”
        “Yeah. And every once in a while Duncan would laugh for no reason, and you knew what he was thinking about.”
        “Uhuh. According to the records at the county jail, Duncan is still in there.”
        Gramsby delivered the punchline. “And now they’ll never let him out of jail — cuz he’s dead!”
        And sometime later somebody came and towed Duncan’s car away.
        And every time I think about Ol’ Duncan, it is impossible not to smile.

© Gary Edward Nordell 2014, all rights reserved

This story won the First New Mexico Mensa Writing Contest and was printed in the "New Mensican" newsletter
for August-September 2016; prize was a $50 Amazon gift card!

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