“Did you know?” I demand, my voice hard.
“Excuse me, what?” Understandably, Mrs. Tsai is confused. “Who is this?”
“Megan Liang,” I say through gritted teeth. “Did you know that your husband bilked my sisters and me out of our inheritance?”
“What are you saying? I don’t understand.” There’s fear in Mrs. Tsai’s voice, and I don’t know if it’s because she’s hiding something or because I’m ranting like a crazy woman. I take a few slow and smooth breaths so I don’t verbally slaughter her. I’m mad at her husband, who is now dead. I shouldn’t take it out on her.
“Your husband was the executor of my father’s will,” I say, my voice dangerously calm.
“Yes, I know. He said Henry had given all the money to us.” There is nothing but sincerity in Mrs. Tsai’s voice, and I’m sorry I’m going to have to be the bearer of bad news.
“Did you see any of that money?” I ask. I know it’s a leading question, but I need to find out what she knows.
“No. George said wills take time. Probate and all that.” It’s clear she knows nothing and that her husband had been deceiving her as well. Suddenly, I wonder if I should tell her what I know because chances are, the will is in his house. I doubt he even submitted it to probate. I’m assuming there has to be a copy in legal land somewhere, but I’m not sure. If I tell Mrs. Tsai, she might destroy the will. Then again, Mr. Tsai probably already has. I need to call a lawyer and stat. First, though, I confront Mrs. Tsai.
“Your husband lied. My father did not leave his money to you—he left it to my sisters and me. I have proof,” I say, hoping she won’t ask me what proof and how I got it. “I’m assuming you didn’t know about this.”
“No! Are you saying George lied to me? He wouldn’t do that.” I stay silent, though it’s clear to me that her husband has lied to her about many things.
“Your husband also was the one stealing money from his partners, not the other way around.” I feel as if I’m pummeling her with the information, but I have run out of patience at this point. I’m furious that her husband was a piece of shit who decided to intrude upon my life. I really wish I hadn’t heard of him, but there’s nothing I can do about that.
“I can’t deal with this.” Click. She hung up on me! I stare at my phone in shock. I mean, it’s not that surprising given the barrage of information I’d given her, but it’s very un-Taiwanese behavior, especially for an elder. Then again, she’s lived in San Francisco for most if not all her life, so she’s more American than Taiwanese. I stifle my impulse to call her back because it won’t do any good. Instead, I read about the will again, and I get angry all over again. I call Viv and wait impatiently for her to answer. I know she’ll still be awake, whereas Jasmine has probably been asleep since a half hour after we returned home.
“What’s up, Meg? I was just about to start a piece.” Viv’s voice is distracted, and I know I have five minutes at best to keep her attention.
“I found out more information about our father,” I say, stepping outside to smoke. “He left all his money to us in his will.”
“His will,” Viv repeats, her voice uninterested. Then a few seconds later, “His will???”
“Yes. He made that man his executor, but Mr. Tsai decided not to fulfill his duties.” There is bitterness in my voice, and I don’t attempt to hide it. My rage needs to go somewhere, and I know Viv can handle it.
“You can do that?” Viv is as astounded as I was before I Googled the issue at hand. The number of people who’ve bilked their so-called loved ones out of the family fortune has disheartened me. I know families can be shitty to each other, but it’s depressing, nonetheless.