Um, long short flash. Fiction. Purely fiction.
Been out of town for about thirty years. Really out of town. Out of state. Out of the country. Long enough if I didn’t have friends in high places, I’d have had serious problems getting back into the country. Long enough I’d learned an exotic new language. Learned it very well.
Near the end, I got “disabled.” So I was “retired.”
With a handsome pension and money I’d never spent for thirty years, I knew what I wanted. I’d had a belly full of fast, fast, and dangerous. A nice hobby ranch sounded just right. Problem was, the only place I really understood was where I grew up.
It fit the bill. Out of sight. Out of mind. So far out of sight and out of mind even the folks who lived there half the time didn’t recognize the place.
Bought the old Hix place. Had it fixed-up. Moved in and started being retired. As a hobby rancher. Bumped into Frank Timmons. We’d never been buds. For some reason he figured we were.
“Say. Seen Francis Detweiler.”
“She’s why I left, Frank. You knew that. She dumped me. Unceremoniously. Cut deep.”
“You know what?”
“Frank, I been gone thirty-odd years. What the hell do I know?”
“After you left, she realized the mistake she’d made. Regretted it.”
“You going somewhere with this?”
“Never seriously saw another man.”
“Unfortunate. I never seriously saw another woman.”
“She knows you’re back.”
“Again, Frank, you have a point?”
“Said she’d like to see you.”
“What in hell for?”
“She never married, you know?”
“Frank, how would I know? Why would I care?”
“I think she carries a torch.”
“Ah. You’re on a mission here.”
“Well, yes, I guess I am.”
“Next time you see Francis?”
“Tell her I’m not interested.”