Not All Heroes Wear Capes
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Fletcher,” I answered.
“What kind of a name is ‘Fletcher’ for a fry cook at a diner? It’s a name of a frat boy … or a private investigator,” she said.
She had been giving me giving me grief since she came into the diner about 30 minutes ago, and ordered a full country breakfast. She was the victim of middle age spread — she was squat, with straight, mouse-brown shoulder-length hair, small brown eyes, wearing a less than a flattering dark blue pant suit. She might have had a nice smile, but it didn’t look like she smiled often. I pegged her for some kind of a cop in a nanosecond.
“It’s a family name, used to belong to my great-great-granddaddy who fought for the Union Army bravely and came home missing his left arm, so tread softly,” I said.
Ours was an open kitchen, so while I was cooking, I couldn’t get away from prying eyes or prying conversation. I was always on display. Besides, Beverly, the owner of this establishment, wanted me to socialize with the customers, establish a repartee, make them feel welcome, home away from home, as it were. Beverly was nice and she was now 82, so she was hard to say no to.
The woman threw her arms up in mock surrender. “Please forgive me, Fletcher. I meant no disrespect upon your family nor your name. I should be the one to talk. My first name is Mildred.”
I snorted, but immediately apologized. Mildred waved my apology away. “Don’t sweat it, Fletch. May I call you Fletch?” she asked. I nodded and she continued, “I know I don’t look like a typical ‘Mildred,’ and I’ve grown used to it. I’m in a male-dominated field. We go by our last names anyway.”
“Yeah, I’ve always wanted to have a daughter, so I could name her Fletcher Junior,” I said dreamily. Mildred laughed. She did have a nice-looking smile, her laugh also had a nice sound to it.
“So,” I continued, “what alphabet soup are you a part of, Officer? FBI? CIA?”
Her left eyebrow went up just a smidge, and if I wasn’t looking hard for a reaction, I wouldn’t have noticed. “Am I so obvious?”