(12) George and Wandy

 

 

(photo by Lee Ka-sing)


(12) George and Wandy

It is already early March. As one steps into the much anticipated March break, the weather in Toronto also starts to loosen its freezing grid. A succession of snowstorms created snow piles almost 2 meters tall on the roadsides of the city, and when the snow banks melt, one icy layer upon another, slushy puddles and minor flooding occur everywhere, making it difficult to get across from one street to another. Looking out from the eighteenth floor skyscraper window, there are just two zebra crossings from George and Wandy's condominium to Mr. Bento's home. That's why, on this Wednesday afternoon, when the sun finally breaks out, bright and high above, when the temperature is a good 8 degree celsius, when they have taken enough rest journeying back from their Winter home in Hong Kong, George and Wandy, Mr. Bento's long time friends, decide to drop by his place with their home-made banana walnut cake.

What's actually more behind this seemingly casual visit, exists a big secret and a grand plan.

"Hey nice to have you back!" opening the door, Mr. Bento greets George and Wandy each with a big hug.

"We heard the weather has been awful in Toronto, have you got someone to help you shovel?"

"Lucky for me this year, part of the snow removal has been taken care of. Our neighbouring condominiums employ small tractor snow plows and have been using them after each snowfall. But me and Ginger still have to cover a lot of ground after hitting by one snowstorm after another, with that white stuff piling up to more than three feet high! Our driveway also has to be cleared to accommodate guests' cars." Mr. Bento shows more excitement than trouble when he talks about the snow hazard. "Now enough of our woes. I do hope you have better news to bring us."

"Ah-ah better news…," George squints his eyes a little and sweeps towards Wandy, with a secretive smile. Wandy returns with a cryptic, but slightly mischievous look. After a minute of silence, which seems like an hour, George clears his throat.

"We've won a Jackpot." says George, in a steady but still trembling voice that can no longer contain its excitement, "it's twenty-three millions!"

"No way, that's…that's one shot in almost 14 million! Have you actually collected the money?" Mr. Bento's glasses almost fall as he looks at George with disbelief.

"It's already in the bank. We're not required to pay tax on the winnings but there's a tax on the interest we've earned. We've got to look into ways of protecting this hell of a fortune before we go insane. It's simply too ... too good to be true, and now we're afraid of waking up the next morning and finding it all but a dream."

"We're still in the state of ecstasy, and trying to make sense with this huge sum, where it will go and if it goes, is it the best use and value. Of course the major struggle with this fortune is saying "no" to friends and family when they hop in for some share." Wandy said with some degree of seriousness in her face.

"We do have a plan in mind to use the money effectively, and in some ways, to fulfil our dream, or the dream of many others." George mumbles in a low and hardly audible voice.

"Then share it, see if it's my dream too…" Mr. Bento, a usually low key person, shares uncontrollable excitement and chock-full positivity as he pours out these words.