Do Right

“Uncle Mikey, explain it to me again. Explain it to me like I was five,” Bridget said. She got up from the rocking chair and began pacing around her old bedroom.
Michael scrubbed his face and sat on the pink and purple polka dotted bedspread. “Listen, honey, you made an investment in a special kind of insurance and it’s not quite working out like it should.”
Bridget pounded the wall, ripping her R.E.M. poster. “You promised my settlement would be safe as houses, safe as mother’s milk. But insurance is a safe investment, right?”
“Usually, but these policies are viaticals. That’s when a really really sick person, like terminal about to die sick, sells his life insurance policy for a lump sum of cash to a viatical investment company. And that brokerage firm sells that policy to an unrelated third party like you. When The sick guy dies you collect, see. That’s how it is supposed to work.”
“Wait I’m making money off dead people,” Bridget said. She grabbed Amelia Renee, her beloved Cabbage Patch doll, and muffled her scream in its squishy yarn covered head. “What have I done. What did you do! Is this even legal, Uncle Mikey?”
“Of course sweetheart. It’s all perfectly legit, see. These are AIDS patients and they get money to help their last days. It’s a good thing really. But it is not quite as regulated as I thought. Doctors are supposed to determine prognosis and everything.”
“Where’s my money? Where’s all my money?” Bridget was squeezing Amelia Renee’s narrow neck.
“Well that’s the funny thing. Not funny but okay have you heard of protease inhibitors? Me neither ! But these miracle AIDS drugs are saving lives, extending lifetimes, honey,” Michael said. He looked everywhere but at his niece.
Bridget’s door opened. “The turkey’s on the table. We have to say Grace before Danny and Denny started fighting again,” Christina said. Reading the tension, she looked between her brother and her daughter. “What’s the conspiracy? Do I have to get my bat and crack heads.”
Nervously Michael chuckled. “No worries here Big Sis. Everything’s copacetic.”
“Yeah no worries Mom. I was just talking to Uncle Mikey about a special Christmas gift I wanted to get for a certain person. Unc always knows the best deals. He’s just promised to do right by me?” Bridget playfully tossed her dolly to her uncle. She headed towards her bedroom door. “Right, Uncle Mikey?”
Michael noticed the doll’s head was almost torn off its floppy body.
Arms folded and eyes steeled, Christina and Bridget both waited for his response.
“Of course honey. I will do right by you.”

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