Birthright The conference room smelled of robust coffee. The espresso machine in the corner had been brewing since the first employees arrived at a quarter after seven; it was just past ten now. Orville had a steaming untouched cup resting on a coster beside him, but it would have to wait. The woman perched on the leather armchair across from him demanded his full attention. She had introduced herself as Bastet when she was escorted into the conference room. Orville noticed her attempt to conceal her age lines and guessed she was in her early forties. Her hair, likely dyed, was silky black and pulled tightly away from her face. Once seated she straightened her midnight blue handkerchief dress and settled her large handbag across her lap. "You can change your name but you can't change your blood." She mentioned his name again. It's the only reason she was brought back to speak with him. As soon as his men's suit store—O.L. Fields—opened its doors for business Bastet had sauntered in. When she asked one of the salesmen if she could speak with the owner, the well instructed employee replied that Orville wouldn't be in the store today. But Bastet knew better, and she dropped the right name—an old dead name that Orville's family had tried to bury long ago. "I have the same name that was printed on my birth certificate the day I was born." "It was a lie then, and it remains a lie today." Orville shifted uncomfortably but relaxed after locking eyes with Bastet. Despite her words her expression was free of condemnation. All of her mannerisms smacked of a cat and mouse game, and she was obviously set to play the cat. Orville thumbed his college ring. "What difference is it to you?" Pleased with his question she smiled and unfastened her handbag. With both hands she carefully revealed a brass and ivory jewelry box. She took a moment to pet the container and then she gently placed it down on the table in front of her. "Inside this box, Mr. Fields, is an heirloom—an artifact that needs to be reunited with it's bloodline." Orville furrowed his manicured brow and peered down at the ornate jewelry box. He could see his own reflection clearly in its polished trimmings. His finely tailored steel gray suit looked just as debonair painted in brass. He swiveled his armchair back to Bastet. "It's bloodline? You're beginning to sound mystical." "I ought to, I'm a mystic." He shook his head and sighed, but her smile continued to grow. "Do you believe in the occult Orville?" It wasn't a question he was prepared for. In his hesitation she began to search his face for the truth, which agitated him. "I'm rather agnostic about all of it." She nodded and reached out to tap her glossy fingernails across the jewelry box. Then she pushed it closer to him. "You won't be for long... Inside this box is a foci." "Come again?" Orville scooted to the edge of his seat. "A foci, a material link to the spirit realm. This one is yours Orville, it's your birthright." He reached for the box but stopped short; his fingers flexed apprehensively in midair. Then he snatched his hand back to stroke his tie as he chuckled. "Ah, I see where this is going now. You're selling me something." Bastet lifted herself gracefully out of her armchair and shook her head. "It's not mine to sell, I'm merely delivering it. And for that I've already been compensated." "By whom?" She peeked at her cellphone and then tossed it back into her handbag. Then she leaned forward until their eyes were level. That's when he caught the scent of her perfume—the espresso had overwhelmed it until then. Her next words were a breathy whisper. "You're not ready for that answer today, but you will be. Until we meet again." With that she sauntered out of the conference room. Orville didn't bother to say goodbye. He waited a few minutes before he stood up and addressed the jewelry box. The lid was lifted and his artifact was revealed: a green glass monocle affixed with a silver chain.