A Disappearing Act
“How much money is that man talkin’ ’bout?” Alva asked.
Kitty had shut down her little in-house bookkeeping operation at Alva’s and moved everything to Cal’s office. She was showing Alva her accounts.
“I can’t say right now. It all depends on what the IRS says,” Kitty told her.
“I got no head at all for that kinda thing. You know that,” Alva muttered. “Seems like all of everything is falling on me at the same time. Almost more than a body can take,” she sighed and sat down on a kitchen chair.
She had been in the middle of making soup out of leftovers. The aroma filled the room.
“Alva,” Kitty began and then stopped.
“What is it child?” Alva asked, looking tired.
“I’m so sorry. I wish I could help you. You’ve been so good to me. Helped me so much. I feel so much stronger than when we first met,” Kitty said.
“Do you, child? That’s nice,” Alva looked up at her. “Want some soup?”
“Sure,” Kitty walked over to the stove. “I’m sure Cal will do his very best to work out a payment plan with the IRS. And you could always borrow against the house. You own it outright. It’s probably worth a fortune.”
Alva stood up suddenly, alarmed. “They couldn’t take my house could they? They couldn’t come in here and steal my own house out from under me?”
“No, no. That won’t happen. Calm down now.” Kitty came over and helped Alva back to her chair. She put a bowl of soup in front of her. “Have some of your good soup. And stop worrying. But tell me, why did the lawyer stop filing your returns? I mean he’s really the one who got you into this trouble.”
“Lord, that man,” Alva took a steaming spoonful of soup and blew on it. “He come with the house and all them other properties. Used to work for Mr. and Miz. Berg. Told me it was part of the will he was to keep on. So I let him. How was I to know he up and quit? Never give me notice. I thought he was still following along.” Alva started to eat her soup. “Mmmm, that’s some good. Get you some.”
Kitty filled a bowl of soup for herself. She sat down across from Alva.
“Alva,” she said, “Where are all your records from before? From the years when that lawyer was handling everything for you?”
“Oh, he kept all them things at his office. He just would come by the restaurant every now and then with papers,” Alva said.
“Papers?” Kitty asked.
“Yes, He would tell me where to sign and that’s what I did,” said Alva. “I was so busy. And glad to have him be taking care of everything for me.”
“But how do you know what he was doing?” Kitty asked.
Alva looked up, surprised, holding her spoon in midair. “You think he was up to no good?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” said Kitty. “But it’s strange that he suddenly disappeared. If you give me his name, maybe I can find out what happened to him.”