Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bruce's Story chapter 39

Bruce Frederick Patterson was a very wealthy man with no need to work. He had his whole life in front of him and felt that he had no purpose. In the months that had passed since the discovery of the bag in the bus station, he had sold his parents house, sold cars and jewelry and found himself not feeling at home anywhere.

He had spoken with Monica on several occasions, met with Amanda and had met his half sister. But he did not feel at all settled in his life. He had no idea where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do or what he expected out of life.

Nick (or whatever his name was) had warned about seeking out the other families, but as Bruce got more and more restless he felt that he had to find the rest of his siblings and find out if all the other families had the same experiences his family went through.

Starting off with the list of names provided, Bruce got busy looking up his father’s alter egos. It took several months, but when he was done Bruce had discovered that he had 5 half sisters and 7 half brothers. All in that meant his father had fourteen children. He found that all families had similar experiences and all were taken care of financially. That made Bruce determined to discover all the scams his father had pulled off. How many people had been hurt by his deception? How many did not even realize they’d been deceived?

By Bruce’s thirty fifth birthday the idea of finding all the scams became an immeasurable task and he realized that his father had done too good of a job covering his tracks to ever have been discovered. It was time for Bruce to put Bruce first and starting living his life, rather than recreating the life of the man who was a habitual liar.

Nebraska was no longer home to him. He had a degree in business, but had never really used it.  Resolute not to waste the rest of his life Bruce Patterson set off on a personal quest. Packing his car with everything he owned he headed west. He felt that he would know where home was as soon as he saw it.

Heading west on Highway 80, Bruce took time to enjoy the scenery. He had really never been to south west Nebraska before. As he headed west his surrounding changed. He went from farmland to the northeastern corner of Colorado; an area that caused him to be amazed. His original intention was to continue on Highway 80 through southern Wyoming and then head south through Utah, but when he reached the Colorado border he chose to continue through that state and changed his route to pick up Hwy 76. Little did he know that one decision would be the turning point of his future.
He had traveled no more than two miles into Colorado when his car hit something on the road and punctured his tire. His car broke down on the side of the road and he had no option but to walk. He continued walking west until he got to the junction of the 76 and the 59 where he headed north and found a gas station. Explaining where his car was, Bruce arranged for a tow truck to pick up his car and headed over to the local diner to wait.
The city he landed in was Sedgwick, Colorado. It was a small town with less than 200 residents. There was one diner, one hotel, one gas station and all the locals knew each other. The diner was nearly empty when he entered. The only waitress smiled at him and asked him if he wanted a seat at the counter or a booth.  The booths were covered in cracked naugahyde that must have been installed in the early 60’s.  The counter looked like it had seen better days and the stools were rickety at best. He chose the booth.
Shirley, that was the waitress’s name, told him that the menu was on the chalkboard and he could take his time. She must have been in her late sixties. He ordered a chicken fried steak and watched as Shirley yelled to the cook in the back. He stuck his head out to see who he was serving and it was obvious to him that this was Shirley’s husband.
“What brings you to our little slice of heaven?” Shirley asked. “You just passing through?”
“Flat tire brought me here,” Bruce responded, “and I’m not sure if I’m staying or not. I really have no plans for where I’m going.”
“Now how can a nice young man like you not have any plans?”
“It’s quite a long story, ma’am.” Bruce answered, realizing that he really never told anyone the story. The only people who knew anything about it were also affected by it.
“Look around son, I’m not too busy to listen to a story.”  Shirley smiled kindly at Bruce as she slid in the seat across from him. “I’m a great listener.”
Bruce looked into the face of this older woman and suddenly understood how all alone he was and had been. He had not had a conversation with anyone in a long time, except about what he was trying to accomplish at that moment. He had been so consumed with learning, surviving, creating a life and determining who he was that he had not been living. Now that the opportunity to live as he wanted was in front of him he had no idea which direction to turn.
Bruce told Shirley everything. His story went on for hours and during that time he ate his chicken fried steak and proclaimed it to be, “The best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
Shirley brought him coffee and pie which he immediately devoured as he continued with the story. Shirley listened respectfully, nodding where appropriate. When the story was finished the sun was setting. The diner was getting more customers and the mechanic entered the diner. “Sir, we have your car, however we have to order that particular tire. It is going to take at least two days. Were you in any kind of rush to leave?”
Bruce shook his head and told the man, “That’s not a problem. I really don’t have any immediate plans.”
“All righty then, come on by the garage on Thursday and you should be good to go. In the meantime the hotel across the street will make you feel like you’re home.”
Bruce paid his tab.
Shirley said, “We’ll be busy until around eight and close shop at nine if you find yourself getting lonely. And we make the best breakfast in town, well actually we make the only breakfast in town.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bruce's Story - Chapters 37 and 38

Chapter 37

My Dearest Nicole,
If you are reading this than it means that I am no longer by your side. I have loved you since the day I met you and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Unfortunately I was not the man you thought I was and I had no right to marry you as I was already married. In fact, my name is not actually Nicholas Patterson. The truth is that I really don’t know who I am or where I came from.
My earliest memories are from a church home for unwanted children. My personal space consisted of a bunk bed and a box I could keep under the bed. As there were two of us on the bunk, the box could not be very large. All I really remember about that place was being cold all the time, even during the summer. I really didn’t have any friends. Most children that are raised that way become loners. Every once in a while one of the boys would go home with a family, but never me. Finally when I was fed up enough I just left. At first I thought someone would come looking for me, but that didn’t happen.
            I know I was born in 1947, but no one knows exactly what day. The home celebrated it on November 12, as that was when they figured I was a year old. That is what I had always used as my birth date until I went out on my own. The year was 1961 and social security cards were available. I didn’t realize how easy it was to get one until after I got my first one. You only needed to appear in person, state your name and age and a number was issued. The home called me Joe and I knew that I didn’t want to keep that name anymore, but my first social security card was issued to Joe Smith. I then went to several different offices, after all I had no home and eq   traveling kept me busy, and registered myself as Sam Patterson, Nicholas Patterson, Jason Flint, Frank Brewster, Fred Williams, Tom Stanford, Aiden Grant, Brandon Grant, Carl Roman and Lester Hunt.
            I cherished each identity and kept all the cards in a safe place. By the time I met you I was already married; twice in fact. My days were spent conning people out of money so that I could support my family(ies). I literally ran into you on campus after I had managed to gain a massive grant from the college to do research on the social behavior of ants. Of course I had no intention of doing that research, and in fact the grant was given to Brandon Grant, who for all intents and purposes did not exist anywhere but on paper.
            I had no intention of falling in love with you, but you were beautiful both inside and out. I realize now that I have done you a great disservice as I was never and could never be completely honest with you. Please understand that I did love you and the children you gave me.
            I do not think it would be wise for you to try and seek out my other wives (of which there are 4 more), as this story is fairly implausible.
            My last con was by far the largest. I used my name Tom Stanford and flew to San Francisco and managed to get twenty three million dollars from the trust fund set up for all living heirs of the Stanford family. I had managed to make my story solid and had all of the proper documentation to prove it. If I were to get caught for this I would never see the light of day again.  I cannot go to prison. The one year expedition is really just another rouse as I will not be returning home with you.
            I have made sure that you, Bruce and Adriana are set for life. The house is completely paid off and there is another envelope in this box that has a key to a safe deposit box that has money in it.  
Chapter 38

Bruce re-read that letter several times, each time garnering more questions. He could not believe that his father had done all of those things. But there was a part of him that was in awe of this man who had managed to created separate lives for himself with several families.

He had met one of his set of step-siblings, were there more?

Did every family get one of these letters?

How many people had he conned out of money to be able to afford five families?

Why had he done this?

His head was spinning as he went through the rest of the contents in the box. There was an envelope addressed to his with the Deed of Trust for their home. The deed was in his name.  There was an envelope addressed to Adriana with bank statement in her name with a balance of $785,000.00, and that was years old. And there was an envelope with a key in it.

He put all of the contents from the original box into his pocket, as best he could, and went in search of the bank manager.

“I would like to close out the account on this box,” he said handing the manager the key. “And I would like to open this one.” Bruce showed the manager the second key he had.

“I’m afraid that key is not for our bank,” the man said. “I can possibly help you locate what bank that is though.”

“That would be great!” Bruce had the beginning of a headache and all of the twists and turns in his father’s life were making it much worse. Why would he provide a key to a bank box that was not in this bank?

“I believe I have located your bank”, the manager said interrupting his thoughts.

“That’s good,” Bruce smiled at the man, “Where is it?”

“It appears to be in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it is not a bank key, but a bus locker.”

“A bus locker?” Bruce asked.

“See the number on the side of this key?”

Bruce nodded.

“That is the locker you will be looking for and it’s in the main Greyhound terminal in Las Vegas.”

Bruce took the key back and said, “Thank you very much. I really appreciate all of your assistance. I have one more thing I need to accomplish and perhaps you can help me with that.”

“Certainly Mr. Patterson, what can I do?”

“I just returned from a very long expedition and have over three hundred thousand dollars in cash. I was hoping you could assist me to open a couple of accounts.”

“I can help you with that. Were you thinking about an investment account or a simple savings and or checking account?”

“I’d like to definitely open an investment account for much of it and then I would like a checking account and perhaps a credit card. I have found it difficult to do much business with cash only.”

The manager nodded his head and said “I could see where that might raise some eyebrows. Do you have all that cash with you right now?”

Bruce shook his head, “No, it’s in a safe place.”

“I will get all the paperwork put together for two accounts and a credit card. Come back tomorrow around this same time and bring in the money and we will get you rolling.”

“Sounds good,” Bruce said.  “Thank you.”

Bruce went back home and opened the safe again and decided it was time to go through everything that was in it. Both his and Adriana’s birth certificates were there, the pink slips to all the cars, jewelry, and fifty thousand dollars in cash.

He booked the next flight to Las Vegas and drove over to the airport. He decided as he was driving that all four cars needed to be sold and that he needed a more modern vehicle. “Just put that on the list too!” he thought.

Standing in front a row of lockers in the bus station, Bruce felt completely lost. This was not an uncommon feeling for him anymore, but this was a different experience entirely. He looked around and saw people going in every direction; each one with a purpose. What was his purpose? Did he really want to spend the better part of his life chasing down a ghost of a man he did not completely understand?

He placed the key in the appropriate locker and found a large duffle bag stuffed inside. He pulled the duffle bag out, determined not to open it until he returned home, left the key in the door and went back to the airport for his return flight.