A 500 word short story by Scott A. Gese
The old man lived in a modest house in a middle class neighborhood.
He didn't entertain or socialize. His neighbors didn't know much about him. He was a recluse who kept to himself. The neighbors talked about him among themselves. It was a game to them as they tried to figure out more about him.
All they knew was his name. That happened when one of the neighbors accidentally got his electric bill delivered to their box. The neighbor took it over to him. He graciously thanked the man but didn't invite him in. If someone saw him outside, they would say hello and he would respond in kind, but no conversation ensued.
His name was Chester Franks. That was known. A couple of the more nosy neighbors did some online research. There were several Chester Franks, but no way of knowing which one was correct. One was rich and secretive. One was a noted author who hadn't been heard from in awhile and one was nobody special. No one wanted to foot the bill for a private investigator to find out for sure, so it was generally assumed that their Chester Franks was nobody special.
Chester always took care of his property. He hired a maintenance company to keep the yard clean and the lawn mowed. His groceries were delivered. He didn't own a car but took a cab somewhere every now and again. Usually with a pet carrier. It was assumed he had a cat. One that never went outside.
One day in late Summer, there was some excitement in Chester's yard. The neighbor across the street noticed a couple of teenage boys picking on Chester who happened to be outside. As he walked across the street to intervene one of the kids punched Chester and they took off running.
The neighbor helped him into his house. It was the first time anyone had seen the inside. The house was very well kept. A bookcase held many books. An old Underwood No. 5 typewriter sat on a desk and a stack of papers sat next to it. Chester thanked the neighbor for his help and then did something out of the ordinary. He offered the neighbor a cup of coffee. The neighbor accepted and for a full hour he listened as Chester reveal the most fantastic life.
He was not the man they had all thought, but the well known and very prolific author who had not been heard from for a time. He talked about how he first enjoyed but eventually shunned the fame his books had brought him, so he took a pen name. When those books became popular, he changed his name again. He had written over fifty books. Thirty were best sellers and seven had been made into movies. He was a millionaire several times over.
Chester Franks was both rich and famous, but all he really wanted was to be nobody special. Just a simple man who enjoyed his writing and his privacy.
© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.