From the office of Roger Claybourne, January 17, 2026:
As most of you know, I have successfully run several businesses under the flag of Claybourne Industries for several years. As a consequence of this, I have amassed quite a large fortune. However, I have no heirs to inherit and I have given generously to multitudes of charities over the years.
Recently, I was handed a time-limited diagnosis from my personal physician. I cannot take my fortune with me when I go, so I am searching for a worthy successor and heir. To this end, I have developed a sort of game, with a strict set of rules, consequences, and one very lucrative outcome for the winner.
The rules are simple: Within the confines of all laws, with the exception of homicide, the person who manages to kill me will inherit my business, my possessions, and my contacts. The consequences of failing to abide by the law will result in forfeiture of my fortune and prosecution by local law enforcement. To the winner of the game goes everything I own, from my business enterprises to my house, my car, and my business and personal contacts.
If no one successfully manages to complete the game before June 6, ’26, I will arrange to liquidate my assets, dispose of said assets, and peacefully cross over from this life to the next in the company of my personal physician in my own home.
Roger Claybourne, the CEO of Claybourne Industries, stared at the creamy parchment in his hand. His eyes were wide, amazement and unbelief battling on his sharp-featured face. He turned to his head of security, Leo Holtz, who had handed him the memo just moments before.
“Where did this come from, Leo?”
The burly man shook his shaved head and shrugged his broad shoulders. “Dunno, Mr. Claybourne. I got this one from some machete-wielding chump trying to get into the building through the main loading docks downstairs. He claims these things are all over town.”
The CEO shook, though with anger or fear his head of security couldn’t tell. “I don’t know…I didn’t send this out. I haven’t even seen my doctor in months. There’s no fatal diagnosis. I have three children, two nieces, and one nephew. I have heirs! This is unbelievable. Who would believe this nonsense!!”
“Umm, boss,” the hulking bodyguard cleared his throat, “seems most people do. Including the police and your attorney. I mean, that is your signature on the paper.”
Roger Claybourne whirled to face his paid man, “How do you know they believe it?”
“Heard it on the scanner. Commissioner Adams made an announcement earlier today, first to the police force, then he let it be released to the media. Cops aren’t to interfere in the murder attempts, unless, like the memo says, the culprit breaks some other law.”
“And my lawyer,” Claybourne demanded harshly, “what has he said or done?”
“He’s got some kind of papers written up, something to do with a transfer of property…or something like that…”
The nearly apoplectic CEO threw his hands up, tossing the creamy paper into the air. Then a thought occurred to him, “Leo, how do you know what…”
The words trailed off into a gurgle of wet air and blood.
“Sorry, boss,” the bodyguard muttered as he wiped the knife clean of scarlet, “you pay good, but not good enough…”