Sequence of Events: Anarchy (part one)
[G]ird yourselves and ye shall be broken in pieces;
gird yourselves and ye shall be broken in pieces.
Even the walks had been only a nudge. Only to remind Florrie Quincy that she was watched. She’d been given a task. She was late with it.
The day Jack had come away from her mother’s bed…
He’d seen Florrie coming up the ward. Got in front of her and took a few steps backwards. Comic, Jack had been, reaching behind to feel his way along the row of bedrails, but keeping his eyes on hers. His shoulders were hunched and his face wore a sheepish little smile.
Sheepish, so she’d thought.
Her mother, when he was gone, said, “Florrie, will you go round to Nora’s? I don’t want you with Jack alone. He’s brought down a box from Matthew. It was Matt wanting to give it to you. They don’t know. Jack had it in his automobile.”
And so at her first visit she’d been given the box. She’d seen Charles Huey pass through Nora’s kitchen, the glower on his face, and not a sign of noticing. He knew, of course. Charles Huey knew everything, and he knew that Florrie’s brother Matthew had laid this burden on her. But she must not think of it as a burden. Only that it was her own turn to do a Quincy’s duty.
Once she got home, she opened it straightaway. She had been told twice that her brother meant the box for her. Jack, adding emphasis to Mrs. Quincy’s phrase, said it again. “Just what he says. No one but Florrie.”
Winsome with his little blue-eyed smile, once again. She’d had a daydream about Jack.
The box was not a postal box; it was not addressed to Miss F. Quincy, or to anyone. Nothing, she supposed, would ever trace it back to her brother. And it contained only a few things. A sheaf of clippings―newspaper stories from almost ten years past, ’19 and ’20. Those Gimbels bombs, J. P. Morgan…
Most of the troublemakers had been deported. One had blown himself up. Take it as a caution, Florrie. She twisted her mouth, and emptied out the rest.
Some booklets. Put out by the Armistice House, no less. She could have got them from Nora’s husband, if she’d known to ask. The Practical Mechanic’s series, five cents each.
And Charles Huey would have charged her.
(2016, Stephanie Foster)