Chance Meeting

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Chance Meeting

Katie Barker was running late. She scurried through the large common area of St. Paul Union Station when suddenly a figure loomed up in front of her. She paused, clutching her handbag instinctively.

The man froze, his briefcase suspending its arc swing, surprised by her sudden presence, he stopped and smiled.

“I know you. I saw your picture in The St. Paul Dispatch.” Barker blurted. “You’re that young man Melvin Purvis, the crime fighter.”

“In fact, I’m here to meet Mr. Hoover to discuss the local problems we’re having with a couple of road gangs and this wave of kidnappings.”

Purvis smiled, remembering the front-page photo of him and J. Edgar Hoover stepping out of their Washington meeting earlier that month. Hoover had declared war on crime and the gangs preying on America during the depression. “I don’t know if I’d call myself a crime fighter. I’m merely working with Mr. Hoover to tame the outlaws and bring them to justice.”

Barker looked up at the Agent, “If only someone like you was around when I was raising my four boys, things might have turned out different. These hard times bring out the worst in people.”

Purvis glanced at the people milling about the station and focused on the woman’s gray overcoat and dark flowered dress. Probably the best of the two or three she owned. “Are you here to meet someone?”

“My boy, Fred, is coming home today.” She said, dabbing Kleenex at a tear. “He’s been gone for several years. But today he’s returning home to the family.

“It’s always nice to hear about families gathering to face the challenges of today’s world together.”

Barker brushed an aberrant stray hair from her eye, “My sentiments exactly. I always tell my boys I’ll stand beside them to the death if needed. No one is going to harm them while I’m still alive.”

Purvis glanced at Barker’s slightly open purse and could just make out the ebony butt of a small pistol, probably a .32. His vision skimmed over her slightly slumped shoulders and weathered features, they reminded him of his aunt Eunice, “Is this your first trip to the big city, Ma’am.”

“It’s certainly been a spell since I was here last.”

Purvis smiled. “You should know it’s illegal to carry a concealed handgun in most cities, counties, and states. If you have one in your possession, you could face arrest. When you get back to your car, I’d recommend you put yours in the trunk.”

The station speaker blurted out the current arriving trains and track numbers.

Flustered, Barker clutched her purse tighter to close it. “My, look at the time. I’ll have to rush to meet Fred’s train. Goodbye, Mr. Purvis.”

Purvis nodded and called out as she left, “Hope to meet you again sometime, Mrs. Barker.”

Barker turned, pausing, “I’m sure we’ll meet again, Mr. Purvis. If you’re ever up in Stillwater, you stop by. Everyone knows where Ma Barker lives.”

 

 


Submitted: May 04, 2020

© Copyright 2021 L.D. Lauritzen. All rights reserved.

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