Friday, August 23, 2013

The enumerator and Frank James.

St. Louis, 1900.

   "Good morning Sir, I'm with the United States Census. Can I have your name?" The young man asked.
   "Last name?"
   "It's Frank James."
The kid looked up at the man in the door. Whoa, it is him.
It was strange to see him in the flesh and odd that the world famous bandit would be here. In this house. In St. Louis. But maybe that's why he isn't dead.
   "Where were you born Sir?"
The man squinted at the kid.
   "I'm supposed to ask.2 cents per name wasn’t worth getting a slug in the gut and he added, “I’ve always respected you.
   "Look kid, is there something you can do about all those questions?" grunted James. 
   "Uh, well no. Or maybe. Uh, if you were out of town I’d have to..."
   "Yeah kid. I'm out of town."
   "OK, Right. Uh, I've read all your books."
   "I didn't write those. It wasn't like they say." And as the door shut he said, "See you around kid".

The kid stepped off the porch and onto the sidewalk of Laclede Avenue. He couldn't believe it. The brother of Jesse, the outlaw, killer, famous bank and train robber. The man in hundreds of pulp novels and movies and in that song that every schoolboy knows.

On the enumeration sheet he wrote, “James, Frank.” 
Then across the columns for Age and Occupation, "Gone to Jefferson City."

Then, "Member of the famous James Gang of Missouri," and then, "WOW.
And again, "WOW.

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