Short Story Sunday: Out of the Frying Pan – with a Mysterious Stranger

On Saturday night I made tamales. I’d never made them before. It is a lot of work but I figure if I do it enough I’ll take the time down from all day to just a few hours. The kids were at the water park and the husband was on an overnight fishing trip. It was just me, my time with a whatever I wanted on the TV, hanging out and making tamales. I’d wrapped about 25 of the little packages of joy in their corn husks all neatly folded and ready to steam when the doorbell rang.

I wasn’t about to buy siding or new windows or magazines and I wasn’t in the mood to have my soul saved, but it wasn’t either any of those things.

The most handsome man I have ever seen stood before me. He wore an obviously expensive suit and a silk tie. I brushed my hair out of my face, standing there barefoot in jeans and an old tee shirt covered in masa flour. He smiled, then paused for a moment, then he said my name and handed me a card.

Jonathan S. Dryer

Dryer, Hansel and Yantz

Attorneys at Law

“What’s this about?” I asked, not asking him in, at least not yet.

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a picture – an Ambrotype. A photograph on glass from the 1850’s.

“Do you recognize this man?”


handsome Victorian man


“I have no idea who he is.” I swear, I didn’t.

Jonathan S. Dryer flashed a smile at me that would melt most women and said, “He said you’d say that.”

“I don’t understand. Who is he? Why are you here Mr. Dryer?”

“I was tasked to find you and tell you his story. He was in love with a widow who had five small daughters. As one who symphonized with the abolitionist movement and those who believed in equal rights for women he took an interest in the five girls being more than just pretty objects or vessels to produce male heirs for their husbands. He saw potential in the female sex and saw that half of the population on this earth was silent in their opinions and potential. As he tried to guide the girls the mother worried that they’d end up unmanageable and without the proper requirements for marriage. Becoming impatient with him, for his unorthodox ideas and his lack of a proposal the mother of the girls began to distance herself from our friend in the ambrotype portrait.

She soon fell in love with and married a wealthy man and left, but not before the seeds of change had been planted in the minds of the daughters, or at least one of the daughters. That said, he continued to be in the same social circles as the woman he once had loved and watched the girls grow up into women. All five of the girls were beautiful and accomplished. They all married brilliantly and became successful wives. Their husbands all attributed success to their wives.

As the years went by and the children and grandchildren of the girls grew the man still watched. They all lived nice lives. They had their adventures. They were good people, the descendants of the five sisters. Some did better than others and the occasional bad seed appeared, but that was no matter. What it comes down to is that you were of the first generation of young women who went to college.”

“My dad went to college. GI Bill,” I said.

Dryer gave me a slight smile. He was handsome to the point of distraction. “No women ever went. No women ever had professional jobs. They didn’t travel or live on their own. They didn’t venture out like you have. You’ve lived the life of a man, not depending on anyone or anything. Men have left you for being too independent. Yet you’ve raised a family and loved a man strong and true. You’re not like others.”

Sure. I have it all I thought but didn’t say anything. This was fascinating but a little creepy knowing that someone had been watching me. It was more of a stalking feeling.

“The reason I’m here,” continued Dryer, “is to let you know that he would like to meet you.”




I have to stop. I’ve written myself into a hole again.   You pick the ending.


7 thoughts on “Short Story Sunday: Out of the Frying Pan – with a Mysterious Stranger

  1. You know… this was quite interesting – and you’re right, a little creepy too. I am kind of fascinated how you “ended” it without even ending it… I figure, after participating in the poll – you got your answer… 😉

    • I had about 20 more answers in the poll but had to do something else. I sort of like how it ended too and it might just be the end. My life is sort of like that. A lot of opened ended questions and random events that are never wrapped up. But hey, it makes things interesting. Thanks for stopping by. Max says hello.

      • Thanks, say hello back to him…
        Still – an ending to the story is necessary. (not only because I’m so curious!! LOL)


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