When Collin returned from school that afternoon he was met by his Uncle Andy.
"There's my firebrand," stated Andrew Marshall as he grabbed his 'nephew' and gave him a great big hug.
"What brings you here, Uncle Andy?" asked Collin.
"Can't I come to visit my favorite nephew, when I want too?" asked the much older man.
"Yeah, sure you can, but usually I know when you're coming. This visit doesn't have anything to do with my news conference yesterday; does it?" asked the teenager.
Uncle Andy just laughed at hearing what the lad had said and grabbed another hug.
"Collin, you're getting to be a lot like your father. I like the fact that you are very perceptive about the things around you, and that you are not afraid to say your piece. I heard your entire speech, on the courthouse steps, and I do say you would make a very good politician, one day."
"H ... how did you hear what I said, Uncle Andy? You weren't there unless ... unless Bro sent you a recording. Is that how you heard it, Uncle Andy?" asked Collin.
"There you go my boy. You know how to deduce things by thinking through your experiences and knowledge base in order to form a reasoned question. Well done, Collin, well done. And the answer to that is yes, Mr. Ken did send me an email with the audio of the entire conference and not just your part my boy. That and a few other things have brought me down here. I hope you don't mind!" answered Uncle Andy.
"Mind? Why would I mind you're coming to visit me, Uncle Andy. You are the only person, I know, from my other life and I love it when you come to see me. Did you bring me anything?" teasingly asked the teenager.
"I'm afraid not this time Collin. There is something you and I and your guardian will have to discuss, later. Something of great importance, I may add, but also something of which you may not like," a somber Andrew Marshall replied.
"You didn't find my grandmother did you, Uncle Andy?" a fearful Collin asked.
"No, nothing of that lesser importance but one nevertheless that will have a bearing on your inheritance and future wealth, I am sorry to say," responded Uncle Andy.
"What is it Uncle Andy? Tell me, please!" implored the boy.
"Well, we have to file the final papers of your parents' estate and pay the inheritance taxes. We were given some additional time because of the circumstances surrounding your parents' deaths, but as they say 'death and taxes' cannot be avoided. But enough of that for now, I know Momma Maria has planned a wonderful dinner for us all, and after that we will go to your Bro's Study and discuss all of this, OK? Now go and do what you normally do when you get home from school, and I will see you at dinner."
Uncle Andy then grabbed Collin for another big hug and the two departed and went in their separate ways.
"That was a wonderful meal, Mr. Ken. You really found a diamond in the rough when you hired Momma Maria," exclaimed Andy Marshall, as he and Mr. Ken and Collin, along with Chief, walked into the Study.
"Please, Uncle Andy, call me Ken. I am young enough to almost be your grandson and your calling me Mister makes me feel ... well I feel like I don't deserve that title coming from such a distinguished person as yourself," asked Ken Thomas.
"Ken, my boy, I've been around here enough and have heard all those boys call you that ... well, it is out of habit, and of respect, for what you have done for my 'nephew', here. And for what you have also done with all of Wilkinson Enterprises since you took over as CEO and COO. Each and every operation has buckled down right from the beginning when you told them all you'd fire them if they didn't get their operations back on track, and made up for the losses, ever since James' passing. Many of the companies President's didn't believe you would follow through. That was until you had each and every one of their company's books checked by an independent CPA.
"My phone line was hot to the touch for days after those CPAs showed up at their doorsteps and took over their accounting offices. That was one good move too, Ken. We found so many slush funds and bogus retailer accounts that amounted to almost ten million dollars being put back into the Wilkinson coffers. Of course, we also fired a good number of former accountants and a few administrators and charged them and their so-called friends with fraud and everything else we could think of. Why James never did that I have no idea! I, for one, am very happy that Collin stood fast and got you to be the one to run his Corporation."
Ken just sat there smiling and basking in the over-the-top compliments Andrew Marshall just bestowed upon him. Then, he took one of the biggest hugs he had ever gotten from his 'little brother' Collin and smiled some more. The three men sat in the leather chairs and relaxed and allowed their big meal to settle some more. Before long. the three of them all were out for a much needed nap.
About forty-five minutes later. Momma Maria entered the Study carrying some coffee and chocolate milk and some of her awesome sweet cakes, only to find all three lightly snoring. She tried to gently place the tray onto the table, without waking them, but the slight tinkling of the coffee cups was enough to get Mr. Ken to open his eyes and see his companions asleep, just as he was.
"Thank you, Maria, for the coffee and milk and cakes," said her employer.
It was his talking that woke the other two up and then all three decided to visit the 'little boys room' before they began to talk about the tax bill Wilkinson Enterprises, and Collin, had to pay.
"Collin, there is no other way to say this. So, I will come out and tell you straight up that Wilkinson Enterprises will have to pay a combined total of $35 million to settle last year's Corporate Federal Taxes and the Texas Franchise Taxes . These would have been much more but since a good amount was placed into Trusts for you that it saved quite a bit of money," announced Uncle Andy.
"Also, Collin, even though you were only fifteen, when your parents passed away, the Federal Government does not exempt anyone, who has an 'income' over a certain amount, from paying federal income taxes. Lucky for you Texas doesn't have a State Income Tax. So, because you inherited a huge amount of money, it was NOT all protected from the tax man. Your taxes to the federal government for last year amounts to $12,495,359. You are in the 35% tax bracket, because you received a very large sum of money, Collin," finished his Uncle Andy.
Collin sat there stunned. He couldn't fathom the numbers as he heard them, but he knew there were huge. Then, he began to think about his parents and what they did to earn all that money and that now their deaths mean they, or, now he, would 'lose' all that much just to pay the tax man. It all became too much, for the now sixteen year old, and tears began to lightly fall from his eyes. It took his Big Bro a few moments to realize what was happening, before he went to the lad, and began to hold him and hug him with all his might. Even Chief knew something was very wrong, and she too was there licking at his face to take the tears away.
It was more than thirty minutes before Collin began to settle down and sit up and face his Uncle Andy, and be released from Mr. Ken's arms.
"I'm sorry I did that Uncle Andy and Mr. Ken and you too Chief. The numbers were so ... so incomprehensible to me at first and ... and then I began to think about all the hard work my dad did to earn all that money that I ... just lost it. It was all too much for me," said Collin.
"Collin you have nothing to apologize for young man," said his mentor Mr. Ken. "You have had way too much on your plate, for way too long young man, and the best way to help yourself to deal with it is to sit back and release the 'bad energy' you are feeling. Crying is one of our body's best defense mechanisms as it allows our mind to regroup, and wash away some of those 'bad feelings' we sometimes get.
"I think you will find it now easier to focus on what Uncle Andy has told you. ... Do you think you can continue, or maybe I should ask, do you want to continue or wait until tomorrow, so you can better grasp on what you heard tonight?"
Collin sat there for a few moments thinking about everything that happened that day. He remembered back to how well his friends treated him, at school all day, because of his appearing on TV, the day before. He thought of seeing his Uncle Andy appearing at the house unannounced which was unusual unless it was something unpleasant. Then, he found himself running those two huge numbers through his mind and thinking of the word 'million', along with them. Then, he looked up at his guardian and then at his Uncle Andy as said, "I think I'd rather wait until after school tomorrow, if you don't mind. There has been so much happening to me, as of late, and I want to relax and sleep on it, some. Will that be Okay with you?"
His Uncle Andy and Mr. Ken both went to the teenager at the same time and gave him a 'group hug' and almost simultaneously said that that would be alright with them. Collin sort of smiled at the two men, and hugged them once each, and then excused himself, and then walked out of the room. Chief followed quickly behind.
"That went better than I expected, Ken," said Andy Marshall.
"You think that went well?" responded Mr. Ken. "We'll have to wait and see!"
Andy sat there thinking a few moments and then sort of shrugged his shoulders and then reached for another cup of coffee which by then was almost cold. Ken laughed at the man's reaction to the cold coffee, so he called Maria and asked her to bring some fresh coffee, for them. Soon, fortified with fresh hot coffee, the two men discussed their strategy for tomorrow with Collin.