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Next Legend in Line

“Who’s in Indiana?” The old man grunted as he stood from a stoop and held out the postcard he had retrieved from the floor.

“Thank you, sir.” Brody blushed as he took the card. “It’s for my mother.”

“Your mother interested in the railroad?” The old man raised his eyebrows, nodded toward the the picture on the front of the postcard.

“What?” Brody was confused for a second, then caught on. He smiled. “Oh, no, sir. It’s me who loves the railroad. I just promised Momma I’d let her know I got here safe.”

“Here?” The old man waved a dismissive hand. “No one comes to Parkertown on purpose.”

“Oh, I did. I’ve wanted to see the Diamond Pass ever since we learned about it in Miss Lawson’s schoolhouse. Larabee Parker is my hero!”

The old man frowned. “Parker is just a man, like any other.”

“But he figured out how to cut through the hardest rock face in the west! Why, without Mr. Parker, there wouldn’t be any towns past Missouri.”

“That’s all just legend, son. Parker had a good company of men who all believed in what they were doing. That was the secret to his success — picking the right men.”

Now it was Brody’s turn to frown. “And just who are you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Me?” The crinkled, sunbeaten face softened. “I’m nobody, really. Just an old man who once worked for a fine railroad company.”

Footsteps sounded behind the counter, and the two men turned their heads to face the postmaster, emerging from the darkened back room. He placed a stack of letters on the oak surface.

“Here you go, Mr. Parker.” The postmaster smiled at the old man. “Still my best customer, after all these years.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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