Friday, May 22, 2020

Microstory 1370: Gareth Morgan

Prison Counselor: Mr. Morgan. I hear you’re getting out soon. Congratulations.
Gareth Morgan: Well, it’s bittersweet. That’s why I wanted to talk to you today, one last time.
Prison Counselor: Oh? Go on.
Gareth Morgan: Since I’ve been locked up, everything has been provided for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish I could stay, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve grown accustomed to the routine and monotony of my days.
Prison Counselor: Yes, that’s very hard. That’s why we have programs, like halfway houses, which help those who have been released adjust to their new lives. We want you to be as productive and positive as anyone else in this country.
Gareth Morgan: Well, see, that’s not actually a problem. I don’t need a halfway house. I’ve come into some money. I should have gotten it months ago, but I was unqualified for the funds while I was in prison.
Prison Counselor: Where did this money come from?
Gareth Morgan: I won’t name names, but let’s just say a certain very wealthy business magnate recently died, and it turns out, he’s my father, and he left me a stipend.
Prison Counselor: A stipend, not an inheritance?
Gareth Morgan: No. My sisters—who not only did I never know about, but didn’t even know about each other—have already divvied up his assets. Only a little bit was set aside for my housing and food. According to his lawyer, I don’t even get a set amount each time. I have to save and scan my receipts every single month, and send them to an accountant. Then she will only reimburse whatever I bought that fits the criteria. Everything else I have to pay for myself. Which is fine, it’s just...
Prison Counselor: It’s really complicated.
Gareth Morgan: Yes.
Prison Counselor: Well, it seems to be the most complicated part is that you have sisters you’ve just met.
Gareth Morgan: Oh, no. We’ve never met, and we never will. In fact, I don’t think they so much as know I exist. The lawyer apparently wasn’t required to disclose the entire list of inheritors? There are many more than just the children, I guess. He left little bits of money here and there for charities, and other people he admired throughout his life. I’m just a line item.
Prison Counselor: Well, I’ve met you, and I can tell you that you’re more than just a line item. Don’t let your past determine what you do in the future, or try to predict how people will receive you. Your estranged sisters have just as much right to know you as you have to know them. Don’t take that away from them just because you’ve been kept secret, beyond your control.
Gareth Morgan: Well, what if they try to erase me from the will entirely? I might need that living stipend. I don’t have a lot of skills that apply in the legitimate workforce.
Prison Counselor: You’re again underestimating yourself. I’ve seen you grow in here, and I’ve heard what you’ve learned. You spend a lot of time in the computer lab. Plus, you have that road construction experience. But the truth is, yes, they may work against you legally. That’s a risk you have to take. But what if it’s the other way around? What if they want to include you? You’ll never know if you don’t try to talk to them.
Gareth Morgan: Quit making sense.
Prison Counselor: Haha. I have some other clients to get to, unless there’s more you want to talk about.
Gareth Morgan: No, I’m all right. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I really appreciate you coming down here. I know there isn’t a lot of money in prison counseling.
Prison Counselor: I don’t regret my choices at all.
Gareth Morgan: It would be inappropriate for us to hug, so how about I hug the air from over here, and you hug the air over there?
Prison Counselor: I can do that. Good luck, Gareth.

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