Story:A purchase with a promise
A purchase with a promise
Written by Gideonwebb
“Yeah, yeah, I know…Hold on, Elizabeth,” Mariam chatted, happily, catching up on her many phone calls, again, “Hey, Uncle Levi, Luh-vee,” She always teased him when in a good mood.
“My dear niece, it is done….”
Mariam Viridis-Varda Walstein dropped her O-phone on her mahogany Queen Spaniel ball and cloth couch jumping up and down to the music of her own squeal. For a center, she sure could jump, and her hardwood floor knew it all too well. Her eyes widened as the self-made music suddenly stopped. The house grew eerily quiet as her phone kept trying to call her back.
“Mariam, are you there? Mariam, come back off the court. . .”
The Cape buffalo picked up the phone, wide-eyed as ever. “Please, dod Levi,” her plea in Hebrew came out only when she meant it, “Tell me…t-tell m-m-mee, you’re not going to ask.”
“I know that I have not had a great season. . .” she continued at a more frantic pace.
“MARIAM…We’ve talked about this before. You’re not done yet, just need to be aware of your future. . . .”
“But uncle, free agency is this off-season.”
“It is every off-season.”
“Uncle Levi, I am talking about me, you know that…If I don’t get picked up, will they. . .”
“My sweet, loving niece that is partially why I called. The rebbe feels you have not healed yet from your scars. Do not worry.” Mariam winced at that left-hoofed compliment. If only the rebbe knew what her shrink thought of her, he might chant a different prayer. “The other reason I called is when the announcement is made, you will deal with ‘him,’” Levi continued, “You know him best; he practically thinks of you as a daughter.”
“Tozer? My team is in the playoffs. I’m going to have to sleep sometime.”
“Rebbe felt it was fair as per his decision.”
“Huh, okay, uncle, okay. I guess I had better get back to Elizabeth.”
“Love you, Mariam”
“Shalom. . . Elizabeth, I need a verbal hug.”
The executives and administrators huddled around the end of the long table in uneasy silence. The grey and blue business suits, crowned with various animal heads, held their breath, eyes glaring at the signatures beings laid on the fine, printed paper. A monitor showed an aged sable antelope on the other end of a camera monitoring every attempt at penmanship. As a particularly large lizard set down his fountain pen, Levi Walstein lifted the tally of names for the aged sable antelope to see.
“It is finalized, rebbe; every signature is accounted for.”
The elderly antelope interlocked his fingers and closed his eyes. Several execs leaned forward counting each breath to themselves. Six. Seven. Eight. The aged irises glimmered with new life. “It is good. Baruch HaShem!” sudden laughter rang out as hooves shook paws. Rebbe ben Shimon’s thin black lips curled.
“Todah Rabah (thank you very much). Rebbe. Next, a family wide meeting, and then a press conference . . .”
“I must have a call, for there must be a vote concerning a secondary.”
“You said,” Levi paused, “Mariam is not healed yet. . .”
The sage grew stern. A scowl silenced all the chatter and flattened all the smiles. “I said her set time for mourning was not done, not that she was not healed. Tell me you did not say that?”
Levi looked down without saying a saying a word.
“’Our’ beloved Mariam is quite capable; she has risen to meet the challenge every single time. Apologize and put her name on the ballot for secondary. Baruch HaShem.”
A frowning senior antelope clicked off the screen. All eyes were on Levi. The lizard waved the back of his left claw. Several execs quietly shuffled out of the room leaving the Walsteins alone.
Mariam dropped her duffle bag just to the inside left of the door. Gone was the family at Itsy’s parents, who were ever so glad to be grandparents over a long weekend. Only the living room light gave any evidence of life resided in the home. She sighed. Her shoulders drooped. It was hard fought victory, away games were always harder with the audience rooting for the other team. She shuffled her way to the kitchen.
Ring! Ring! Ring! The sudden cadence from the phone meant only one person, mother.
A weary smile grew on her face for a mere moment. Everything seemed simpler with mom’s wisdom.
“Shalom, eeema (mother).”
Mariam froze for a second. “Dod Levi, what are you doing . . .?” Her patience wearing thin.
“You know the decision has been made. The meeting and the vote are set for Thursday.”
“I am not giving up my dream before . . . 12 years full career was what we agreed upon unless free agency occurs after 10, AND NOT BEFORE! I will keep my promise to the oath I swore in Las Vegas the morning after the draft. If that honestly was good enough then, why have a vote on it now?”
“You are right, my dear niece. I will bring it before the vote, but I cannot stop it. Please understand.”
“I forgive all of you, you know that I do, but this vote is so unnecessary and we all know it. Please don’t kill my hopes.”
Click! No sooner the phone was set down then Itsy came in intending to be a pleasant surprise. Tears poured from her eyes; she would do anything for her family. As a bull, it was difficult to peer down his spectacles. Itsy raised a glance, “The vote?” Blubber filled wails told him everything.
The annual business conference of the whole Walstein Family sat eerily quiet. Usually joyous affair, more a reunion than business, was anything but. The final vote that sealed the purchase, the largest in over three decades, divided the family. Iddo, from Upper New York, stood behind the podium.
The dark, sable antelope took several small breaths. His brown eyes gazed above the audience. “Ahem, I would normally dispense with some pleasantries, but formalities have no place at this time. . .”
“We bought it,” an adopted Asiatic Lion snapped, “This vote changes nothing of the purchase. Why even have it? “We do not make special favors, Mariam agreed to an oath.”
Veronica stood up, “Isn’t that the point? She agreed by oath before our beloved rebbe here to do exactly as this vote requires after her career is done. She loves basketball, but she loves this family even more. Not long ago, she met her real father and scandalous birth family, and she appreciates this family more than ever before.”
Veronica raised a little black book high above her head for all to see, “You know of this book, Mariam’s book of owed favors. It marks the date every favor owed to her. . .With every single one paid in full!”
Several shifted in their seats snouts pointed downward. Veronica scowled. “Our beloved Mariam never expected a thing. Being in this family was payment enough because we supported her. You want to pay her back, then let her keep her oath. Dreams don’t age, but neither do they retire.”
Iddo looked down at the podium, towards the rebbe in the first row, and then back at the audience. He cleared his throat. “Where shall we go from here?”
Mariam sat in corner of the locker room alone. She desperately grasped for her breath. The victory was intense as always, but this time it was something more. One by one the sweatiest room in the stadium cleared out, the Minotaur left to herself. Beem! Bem! The most unusual ringtone meant only one person- Tozer. She cracked a smile as she picked up the phone.
“Yes . . . Turn on the tv? . . ..”
The monitor blared from the corner above her head, a flood of voices looking at her Uncle Levi ready to make a statement.
“Yes, yes, the rumor is true,” the antelope affirmed his deep baritone voice, evidently having missed the beginning of the press conference, “The Walstein Family and its holdings has purchased the other half of the Huntsville Mayors from their business partners, Cyrus Animalian Trade Ltd. As of the next season, we will be the sole owners of the Mayors Franchise.”
“Will you be making changes?”
“Nothing that is not calculated first; it may seem slow coming out the gate, as it were, but every decision will be weighed before action is taken. We will let the G.M. resume official duties for now. . . .”
“What of your niece?” a voice blared from off-screen.
“Yes,” the voice shouted again, “IS she going. . .”
Levi smiled large. “My niece is a capable young woman. That is her decision to make.”
The sable immediately got up and left the conference table satisfied. Mariam almost jumped up and down, elated, had not an irate, short mutt called her back down to earth. She cajoled her coach as if to placate the impossible.
“Now, I will say this only once – you can apply like everyone else; the family does not show partiality to species, religion, or friendship. Understood? Well…”
The two continued, coach and student, as always.
The otter slunk back into the recliner cupping the Ophone in his paw. The smile across his muzzle, gazing at his wife’s backside as she passed by, seemed adequate for the successful caper that him and his one and only pulled off. Mercedes had a great treasure, Mariam Walstein’s black handbook of owed favors; for all that she did for others, it was now a relief that she did not actually expect any mammal to pay her back. As rich as the Walsteins were, she’d practically bankrupt the family
“Yes, yes,” Marcus laughed, catching his wife’s eye, “Having Mercedes sneak the little book out from under her muzzle, in own house no less, was skill, pure and simple, Our Mercedes is definitely quick of paw. . . Well, we’ll get back to its place, Mrs. Walstein, when we go to her birthday party. Mariam will never know . . . Uh-huh, good night.” Beep!
Mercedes and Marcus Knight peered into each other’s eyes and smiled. Oh, what the Cape buffalo did not know. . .
Tozer, Mariam, Itsy, Walstein family, copyright Gideonwebb. Marcus and Mercedes Knight copyright Daniel Thwaites. Written in the FBA Universe.