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.
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?”
“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.