A client who prefers to remain anonymous retained me to manage the literary estate of a close relative. The relative, who died in 2017 at the age of 59 in a high-speed car crash, left an olographic will bequeathing the copyrights in a number of original literary and musical works to the client and her siblings, and naming the client as his literary executor. Although the decedent had worked only as a biegnet cutter at Morning Call in New Orleans since he was 15 years old (despite earning a law degree in the interim), he’d managed to create a plausible literary estate under the pseudonym “Jack Strange.”
The will directs the client to the location of an encrypted file on the decedent's computer containing a folder entitled "Complete Works of Jack Strange.” According to the will, the folder contains subfolders entitled “Autobiography,” “Novels,” “Poems,” "Screenplays,” “Songs,” and “Stories,” and these subfolders contain “at least” one autobiography, eleven novels, 926 poems, seven screenplays, 1216 files of recordings, sheet music, and song lyrics, and 167 short stories and children’s stories, respectively. The encrypted file has the extension .afp and is 34.4 gigabytes in size.
The will further directs the client to the secret location of a paper document containing the password necessary to open the encrypted file on the decedent’s computer. However, neither the client, nor I, nor our IT consultant has been able to open the file using the password printed in the document produced. Apparently it is not the correct password, or the encrypted file is corrupted, or the file will not open for some other unknown reason, and otherwise there are no original literary or musical works stored on the decedent’s only known computer or storage devices. Fortunately during his lifetime, Mr. Strange published a volume of poems entitled Would-Be Poems (2001), a volume of short stories entitled Snake Tales (2004), and four musical albums entitled Still Alone (2000), Heartbeat (2001), Ever Laughter (2003), and Back in New Orleans (2009), on the self-publishing website Lulu.com. These are the sole surviving literary and musical works of Jack Strange.
Whether any of Mr. Strange’s literary or musical works is worthy of publication, readership, or listenership is not for me to say, and there is no record that anyone other than Mr. Strange himself ever purchased a copy of, or even read, any of his self-published works at any time. Nevertheless, in accordance with my duty and authority as manager of the decedent’s literary estate on behalf of my client, we have released the Kindle Direct
Publishing editions of Would-Be Poems and Snake Tales based on Mr. Strange’s original Lulu.com files. We also intend to ensure
Mr. Strange’s four musical albums remain accessible to the public on most music streaming platforms.
June 1, 2020