“Please, sir, I’d like to buy a ticket.”

The railway clerk didn’t seem to hear the tiny voice. The crowd pushed and shoved, almost knocking Alfie over. Then an old woman brandished her umbrella, clearing a path.

“Didn’t you hear the gentleman? He wants a ticket. You there, lift him up.” A brawny young man picked up the youngster and held him level with the ticket window.

“First class ticket, one way.” The little boy handed over a handkerchief stuffed with money.

“Where ya going?” the young man asked.
“Meeting my grandfather.”

The train pulled into the station, and Alfie peered into the well-lit dining car as it slowly passed. There he was, that handsome man with the white hair and the silver cane, sitting at a table with linen napkins and cut-glass crystal, just as he did every evening. The little boy had watched him for months, squirreling away coins and bills until he had enough for a ticket. He stepped onto the train and wove his way to the old man’s table, calling “Grandfather!” He made sure everyone in the car heard him.

Gerald Fitzsimmons looked up in astonishment. He’d never married, had no children, no family life. How dare this gutter snipe claim kinship? The two of them eyed each other warily, as the diners watched in fascination.

Sir Gerald had made his fortune in business with his infallible intuition. He felt a sudden admiration for this resourceful urchin, probably raised on the streets, living by his wits for all of his six or seven years. He sensed the two of them were more alike then most blood relatives. He had succeeded by making brilliant, split-second decisions. He made one now.

“There you are, my boy! Just in time for the Beef Wellington!” The other passengers heaved a sigh of relief. They had been afraid it was all a con.

The aristocratic old man leaned over and whispered to the boy, “What’s your name, sonny?”

“James Alfred, sir.” The co-conspirators grinned, enjoying their newfound mutual sense of belonging. The train hurtled through the night toward home.

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10 months ago

Belonging isn’t always based on blood or legalities. Sometimes it’s the meeting of two mischievous kindred spirits. A fun and heartwarming story. 

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
10 months ago

Aw Fuji, this is such is a cute and heartwarming story, just the thing to put a smile on your face. Love it!

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
10 months ago

You have certainly set the bar with this story Fuji. So descriptive, I felt l was right there amongst those passengers watching the scene unfold. Little Alfie, I pictured as a modern-day ‘Artful Dodger’ and, if I were casting this as a movie, Walter Pidgeon would have made a perfect Sir Gerald. I see a bright future for Alfie, especially as his ticket was one way only! I also think it’s obvious by now that I absolutely loved it!

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
10 months ago

A nice story, Fuji. It looks like an epic story. A throwback to yesteryears. Good job.

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Paul Lewthwaite
Paul Lewthwaite(@paul-lewthwaite)
10 months ago

Fuji, a very evocative, well written story. I liked the scene setting and the bit with the bossy woman made me chuckle. Excellent.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago

Wow. I found it very inspiring in Alfie’s (James Alfred) perseverance to have enough money to buy a ticket which became the way for him to meet Gerald in person. Which caused Gerald to admire Alfie for this resourceful urchin. I see his bright future with Gerald Fitzsimmons. Alfie is so lucky. Another well-written story, Fuji.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Fuji
10 months ago

You’re most welcome, Fuji. I incredibly enjoyed this story too.

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
10 months ago

What a great story, Fuji, very Dickensian! I can just imagine how it carries on and I admire the young boy’s pluck and the old boy’s recognition of a kindred spirit. Yes, those two really belong together!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
10 months ago

Wow! Congratulations to yet another very well crafted story, Fuji! I also had Dickens in my mind while reading, enjoying every little wonderful detail. I loved Sir Gerald’s quick decision to accept Alfie’s idea of kinship and play along with his bold idea.
The story seems to be part of something bigger, and I got the feeling that, like some of your previous ones, it was based on an historic event. Would you like to reveal if it’s based on pure imagination?

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
10 months ago

Fuji, what a sweet, heartwarming story! I’m so glad it turned out the way it did and that Gerald Fitzsimmons didn’t call Alfie out on his con! I am sure it is the start of a beautiful friendship! Well done!

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Susan Giles
Susan Giles(@susan-giles)
10 months ago

Such a perfect ending for a young boy who knows exactly what he wants. Sir Gerald will be enriched by knowing him. Thank you for the smile this brought.

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