Fred Freestone checked his watch and it was ten seconds past six, so he quickly locked the doors, and without cleaning the floor, he hurried home. But what he missed, for he normally did, at three minutes to six each day, was go inside and out of the station and pick up the trash, to see that no one had something mistakenly left. But on this day, he did not see the box he had placed on the third seat. A plain brown paper box that he had wrapped, tied with a string.

One corner was a little squashed, and then at seat twelve, which was near the door, a cigar did still smolder. And below it, there, laying on the floor, was a newpaper, thoroughly read. The station windows and the door without blinds or shutters they had, and anyone who stood looking in could clearly see the whole room.

A little after six, a small boy came rushing back to the depot for he had waited and waited for his Auntie Mar. She had been late, and he, oh how he had to go. And as he put his face to the window and looked inside, what did he see on the floor?

A newpaper there was, and oh what it said was San Francisco Chronicle, August tenth, 1924.

That was ok, except for one fact, and that happened to be that the cigar ashes had fallen down. He didn't like what he saw. For the newspaper did smolder and then it did catch fire and it lit up the room.

As the blaze glared, he looked further on, and oh my, there was his box, still sitting there in the room. He checked the door and windows too, and all were tightly locked. So he ran around to the other side and thought what shall I do?

He saw how the fire grew and thought of his box, and then his old grannies's words came to mind. For she had told her boy that times would come when he must be like a man, and decisions he must make like a man. But then, at other times, which were most of the time, a boy throughout he could be. So he ran to the wall and there he found a pail of sand, and he quickly took it down. And a rock he picked up and with both in hand, back to the door he did go. And with the rock, the door window he broke, and he deftly reached inside.

He opened the door and quickly with the sand, the fire he put out, and all was safe indeed. Then his box he spied, and walked slowly there and picked it up gingerly. He smiled as he sat down, and from his pocket, a jack-knife he did draw. Slowly and surely, he opened the knife and began to cut each string.

The paper he split, then the string he picked up, and lay it too, on the paper laying there. Slowly and deftly he opened the box, and three meows he did hear. For there inside were three kittens which he had brought home from his grandma's.

The box lid he did apply and the paper he did pick up, and a policeman he found. He showed the ashes and where he had the fire put out, and then he went home, where milk he did give to his kittens three. For one was for him, and one was for Jim, and one was for cousin Sue.


By Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)

 




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