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Tragedy by Cheque

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Lawrence Exeter was astonished and overjoyed when he received the glorious news of his wife’s pregnancy. Exeter was a lazy, rich guy who ended up forgetting about the pregnancy until his wife reminded him three days before the baby was due. In a craze, he rushed to tell his servant to peruse the local Goosie Gander Baby Shoppe with a $148.50 check he wrote last minute.

On September Second in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred And Three, Lawrence Exeter Junior was born, thus continuing the dynasty of wealth by costing $100 just by coming into existence.

After indulging in many expensive purchases for his son, Lawrence Senior grew so tired of his son’s personality that he sent him away to school for the low, low price of $1,250. At the Palisades School for (Rich) Boys, Junior learned all about the art of being snooty and rich with all the other rich and snooty boys. Junior only grew more insufferable as time went on, forcing his father to buy him his very own bicycle by the end of the school year. Needless to say, private school wasn’t working out. Senior needed even more distance, so he sent his eleven year old son to a military academy for an even lower low price of $2,150.

By the time six years had passed Junior had graduated the academy, a seemingly more respectable man. However, he was just as careless and as rich and snooty as his father. For his 18th birthday, Senior bought his son a new Cadillac to celebrate this milestone into adulthood. It only took four days for Junior to wreck the car after a night of drinking (the Twenties weren’t called Roaring for nothing!), forcing Senior to spend almost $300 on repairs. Junior needed the car because in just over a month, he would be heading to Stanford University for a start on his adult life.

Now that Junior was all grown up, Senior felt it appropriate to have a little fun in his life. He didn’t care much for his wife anymore, and it was at this point Miss Daisy Windsor walked into his life. It was a very scandalous love affair, complete with lavish gifts like flowers from the elite University Club for the sociable rich, as well as a $25,000 check to keep her quiet on the ordeal. Over the years, Senior would frequent the University Club Florist, buying flowers for both his mistress as well as his wife to cover his tracks, spending over $500 in total.

Meanwhile, Junior was having some fun of his own. With his father in a better mood, he managed to land an opportunity to study abroad in France. While there, he would meet Miss Marie Wharton, and from there it was history. She and Junior settled down together in France, where he would propose to her at the quaint Cocoanut Grove Sweet Shoppe. All expenses covered by his father, of course.

Senior’s pocket seemed bottomless as his mistress took his mind off his headache of a son. With Junior further away than ever, Senior took Daisy on a vacation to Hawaii for some alone time away from his wife, pretending to be away strictly for business. While Junior and his soon-to-be wife spent their time in bridal boutiques, picking out bridesmaids’ dresses, browsing the selection of bridal gowns, and planning for a romantic honeymoon, Senior was busy proving how little his wedding vows had meant to him. After his son’s wedding, both Junior and Senior returned to the United States. While distance separated the father and son for much of Junior’s life, it seems he picked up some of his father’s bad habits. That was when Tony Spagoni walked into his life. Spagoni had a sort of charm about him that instantly drew him in. Junior was smitten within an instant.

In a contest of scandals, this beat Senior by light years. He had only been married for about a year before he began a relationship with Spagoni, who, come to find out, was actually a member of the local Italian mafia. He paid Spagoni some money here and there but nowhere near as substantial as the other lover in his life: Miss Flossie Wentworth. Junior had wanted to propose to Tony, but Tony’s role in the mafia was revealed to him at the last second. With his heart shattered, Junior found solace in Flossie. However, their relationship was simply just a fling, and he feared that Flossie would tell his wife of the affair, so he paid her $50,000 to keep her quiet.

It wasn’t enough. Word got around and soon Marie was demanding a divorce. One affair, she claimed, she could deal with, but two made Junior irredeemable. He tried to win her over with $5,000, but she was not so easily wooed as his other lovers. Over the next few months, the divorce was settled at the Reno Municipal Court, costing him nearly $200,000 between legal fees and alimony.

Alone and with a major dent in his bank account, the growing economic depression was reflected in Junior’s negative disposition. That is, until Tony Spagoni sought him out once more. Tony, angry and betrayed at Junior’s sudden rejection, demanded retribution in the form of $100 payments. It wasn’t long until Tony’s mafia friend Peter Ventizzi started coming around as well. Their visits became more frequent and hostile until even money wouldn’t satisfy them and their need for revenge. In Junior, sadness was replaced with anxiety and paranoia.

On July Fifth in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred And Thirty One, Junior was attacked by a group of mafia members, put to the task by Tony and Peter, resulting in him being hospitalized from a gunshot wound in the stomach. For the first time in years, Senior intervened financially on his son’s behalf and paid the costs.

Ten days later, the wound would become infected, and on July 16, Junior would die. Lawrence Exeter was no longer a senior, and for once he regretted how strained his relationship with his son had been since the very beginning. The burial cost his father $1,280, continuing the family’s long history of costing a lot of money just by leaving this existence.