The next couple of days were a blur of emails and long distance phone calls. Cassidy was the youngest of three brothers and his siblings Thomas and Richard took control. He sat limply by his laptop nursing a mobile phone, thinking of his family, unsettled, absurdly resenting his brothers, waiting for something to happen.
Thomas and Richard.
His dad was Henry.
Tom, Dick and Harry.
Nice one dad.
The phone rang early Thursday evening.
"Regarding the funeral service, I'll be reading something appropriate", Tom was as dry as ever "and you know how hot Harry was on civil rights? Well Dick's going to sing a spiritual for him, ‘Eyes on the Prize’. Acapella I think. He doesn't want Thelma the ten-thumbed organist ruining his performance. What do you want to do Peter?"
"Who does Dick think he is, Mavis frickin’ Staples?" said Cassidy, another seamless deflection.
“There’s a comprehensive will and Mom’s been well catered for, as have we all. It’s no surprise that the old man was prepared for departure”, sighed Tom. “And apparently we’ve each been left one of his potted plants; don’t know what that’s all about, do you?”
Cassidy caught his breath and sat down heavily, holding his hands against his chest as if nursing an injured bird.
“Anyway, Dick and I are the sole executors “ continued Tom “so you’ve nothing to worry about bro.”
Cassidy looked for offence but could only find relief.
“Strangest thing happened yesterday”, Tom softened “We went into Yarmouth and met with Sam Jonas, Dad’s financial guru. He was talking us through the immediate arrangements, consolidating all dads’ checkbooks and cards into one easy access account for Mom, stuff like that. You know how Dad always threw Christmas checks and gifts at us all, to get around the inheritance tax thing? Well Mom said she was keen to carry that on; even increase the gifted amounts to the max. Damndest thing, just as Jonas okayed this, the building was struck by lightning; no shit, lights went out, windows rattled. Dick and I hit the deck. Mom just stood there looking up out of the window, smiling serenely. It was like a message from beyond, Harry pissed at Annie for splashing out with his cash…”
Tight arse, thought Cassidy.
"What’s that?" said Tom.
That night he had a dream: ‘The Cassidys’ were practicing in their garage. Harry prodded the keys of his accordion, while Tom hunched over his Fender bass, glowering darkly at his four strings. Dick was shirtless and thrashed at a low strung acoustic, bellowing out ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ in a key that was obviously too high for him. ‘The Cassidys’ always reformed to perform at family gatherings and Harry was a taskmaster at practice. “A band’s only as good as its drummer” was his mantra. Cassidy was a lousy drummer. In the dream his hands were so sweaty that he kept dropping his sticks so he gripped them tight and the tighter he gripped the harder he hit. A stick splintered and broke. Reaching for a replacement he dropped the beat. Tom, Dick and Harry stopped playing and retreated into a corner, whispering. When they turned back to face him they were all wearing plastic masks sporting the features of smiling baby dolls. There was a darkening and the rumble of thunder, a loud crack as lightning struck the tin roof of the garage. The amps blew, sparks everywhere. Within moments ‘The Cassidys’ were aflame, dancing horribly as their masks melted grotesquely.