Up to this point, I'd entrusted the family's assets to my uncle, but I felt now that I owed it to my parents to make myself smarter. My uncle was a self-professed "busy man," always hurrying place to place. He came and went between the house and his lodgings in town, two days here, then three days there. Thus he moved about, day after day, always looking flustered. He never failed to mention, too, how busy he was. Before I'd come to distrust him, I'd presumed he was, in fact, busy. Or at least, in my cynical moments, I'd assumed his busy airs a necessary part of his modern persona. However, now that I required his time to review the family assets, I began to perceive his busyness as nothing more than a pretext for avoiding me. It was no easy task to get time with him.
I heard that my uncle had a mistress in town. I heard this from a friend, a former middle school classmate. I wouldn't put it past this uncle to have a mistress, but I'd never heard such rumors while my father lived, and I was duly taken aback. There were various other things that I also heard from this friend. One was that my uncle's businesses had flirted with insolvency. Then, over the past several years, the situation had suddenly turned itself around. This seemed to confirm my misgivings.