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Robert explained a lawyer had contacted him with the unexpected news. My friend’s sudden benefactor was a great-uncle that he had never met and, as Robert was an only child with both parents deceased, it appeared ownership of Yew Manor was now his.

Robert then told me to my great delight that he would like me to accompany him to inspect the property. I immediately agreed, but knowing Robert’s style of driving, without hesitation, I offered my services as chauffeur.

After making phone calls to ensure that first, my employer, and then my fiancée approved of my sudden vacation, I loaded a hastily-packed suitcase in my 1964 Volkswagen Beetle and made the normal thirty-minute drive to Robert’s apartment in twenty-five. Robert had already inked out our journey on a roadmap from Baltimore, Maryland to Yew Manor outside of Columbus, Ohio estimating a journey of eight hours not counting stops.

“So tell me,” I said, as I settled back into the driver’s seat, “What are the particulars of this specific windfall?”

In the confines of my Volkswagen, Robert sprawled his lanky frame over the passenger seat. He scratched at his thinning blonde hair and shrugged.

“My uncle’s lawyer will meet us at the house and give me more information. I have no desire to move to Columbus, so I plan on dumping the property on the market. You know me. Misogynist bachelor. Dedicated hermit. I’m happy in my apartment so after I get all the papers signed, we’ll return to Baltimore immediately.”

The journey to Ohio passed without incident, but as we approached Yew Manor the scenery changed dramatically from Ohio’s flat, farming landscape to heavily wooded forest.

At a gas station, we stopped to use a payphone to call on the lawyer, letting him know we had arrived in the area and were not far from our destination.

Back on the road and not that many minutes later, when I expressed concern that I might have taken a wrong turn, my friend assured me that we were on the right track.

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