The Boy Who Called Himself Nameless
Mr. Franklin Delano RooseveltSome time after that the old man came back from fetching dinner one cold winter night, smiling and whooping, clutching a newspaper tight to his chest.
“Ho-ho, boy, you will never guess what has happened.”
The boy tried to pry the newspaper away, but the man wouldn’t let go.
“No, stop, this must be saved.” A kind of desperation set in the man’s face, “This is history, boy. History. President Hoover is gone and Mr. Franklin Delanor Roosevelt has taken over. He has promised us a new deal, a new start, to get us out of this depression we are in.”
The boy stared; an end to the depression? Surely it was too good to be true. After four years of knowing little comfort, was there an end in sight? A smile grew over his face and he quickly joined the old man in his celebrations, whooping and dancing, even as snowflakes gently started to fall. To the boy, winter had never looked so beautiful.
The next few months were full of talk about Mr. Franklin Roosevelt. The old man sang praises to everyone he met, never taking skepticism to heart.
“Aw, shut up old man, Roosevelt don’t know what he’s doin’ up there in that president’s seat. He’s just tryin’ to look good.” one young man told him.
The old man hadn’t even blinked, but the next morning the young man had woken missing several items, including a woolen blanket that looked suspiciously like the one that appeared in the boy’s sleeping area a few days later.
One day, however, the old man didn’t rise from his bedding. After waiting much longer than he should have, the boy crept over to see what was wrong.
The man’s face was ashen, his skin cold, and his chest no longer rattled. His eyes were shut, and the small amount of white hair that still graced his liver-spotted head hung limp. The boy let out a small gasp, and scrambled backwards, knocking into an empty oil lamp. It fell over, revealing a note written on a grimy slip of paper.
Boy, the note read, If you are reading this, then my time must be up. Do not worry, for you will survive; I have seen to it that you are protected until such a time comes that you can go and serve Mr. Franklin Roosevelt. Never forget that it is Mr. Roosevelt who is getting us out. It is he that will bring this beautiful country of yours to glory once again.
Under my blankets is a small locked box. The key you will find is already in your possession. The contents of the box are now yours, as well as anything else of mine you wish. Leave the rest, or give it out, whichever is your choosing.
Never forget, boy, the note concluded, a brave man and a fool are nearly synonymous.
The boy sat until well after the sun had reached its zenith, then tucked the note into his pocket. He found the key just as the note had said, stuffed into his bundle pack, and found the box shortly thereafter. With shaking hands, he popped the lock, lifting the lid with apprehension.
Inside were photographs, stories of the old man and who he had been. Underneath a fake bottom, the boy found nearly two thousand dollars, stored away over years of waiting for an economic break through.
The boy left the train compartment the next morning, after scrawling a message to other hobos on the side. He shouldered his pack, like he had years previously, and waited in the train station for a different train, one that would take him a different direction. It was the morning of his seventeenth birthday.
Seven years later, December 7th, 1941, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.