A plump maid led me upstairs to a door. I walked in to find an elegantly furnished bedroom where a middle-aged woman dressed in black sat in a rocking chair staring out the window.
She turned as I entered. “Be quick and close the door,” she hissed at me. She then looked again through the window as if to see if I had been followed to her house.
Seeing no one else, she pulled the shade down, again turned to me, and uttered two words, “Sit down.”
“The general sent you?” she asked. I nodded yes. I tried looking at her face to see her features, but her face was shielded by a large grey veil.
“Can you handle the assignment?” Again I said a simple yes.
She then turned to Marie, the maid, and dismissed her, but not before ordering her to make sure the house was firmly locked down and that the two of us could not be interrupted.
“The general and my husband were the best of friends. They both served in Vietnam and both were made generals at the same time. The general even flew from Washington, D.C. to attend my husband’s funeral.”
I nodded as I knew all that.
She handed me a letter that had no return address and had been postmarked from some small town in Virginia. No signature or any hint of who had typed it, just a simple paragraph stating that the writer was the illegitimate child of this woman’s husband.
The woman informed me that her late husband and she did not have any children because of some injury he had incurred during her husband’s war service.
If this letter were true, the woman told me that she wanted to get to know the writer, with the possibility that she might be able to help the person in some sort of financial way as her husband had done quite well in the business world after he left the service.
“Please, sir, take this letter and do as much investigating as you can,” she said to me. “But please come back soon and let me know what you have found out.”
“Madam, I promise you that I will do all I can and, if this is a real person, I will bring him or her back to you.”
“I think, sir, the general knew what he was doing when he sent you to help me in this project.”
“Thank you,” I said as I walked myself down the stairs, only to find Marie at the front door to let me out.
I called the woman in two weeks to inform her that one week from this phone call to her I would have the he or she at her front door.
One week later I called her from my cell phone and told her to be looking out of her front window and that, within two minutes, she would see the person.
Two minutes later I walked up to the front door and rang the bell.
© 2017 Albert Zimbler
Albert Zimbler is a 92-year-old author of six humor short story books on Amazon of which MORE DATING AND MATING SECRETS OF SENIORS AND OTHER HUMOR SHORT STORIES is the latest. He also teaches senior improv.