After Twenty Years (Henry)

From Summarium
Disclaimer: This summary was generated by AI, so it may contain errors or biases.
After Twenty Years
Summary of a short story
Microsummary: A man waited at a prearranged meeting spot for a friend he hadn't seen in 20 years. When the friend arrived, he couldn't bring himself to arrest the man, so he sent another officer instead.

One evening, a policeman patrolled a quiet street in New York City, checking doors and keeping an eye on the area. The streets were mostly empty due to the chilly weather and the late hour. As he continued his patrol, he noticed a man standing in the doorway of a darkened hardware store. The man, who had an unlit cigar in his mouth, quickly reassured the officer that he was simply waiting for a friend.

The man explained that he had made an appointment with his best friend, Jimmy Wells, twenty years ago to meet at that exact spot. They had agreed to meet there, no matter their circumstances or the distance they had to travel, to see how their lives had turned out. The policeman found the story interesting but noted that twenty years was a long time to wait between meetings. The man admitted that he and Jimmy had lost touch over the years, but he was confident that his loyal friend would show up.

As the man waited, he reminisced about the past and the restaurant that used to stand where the hardware store now was. He mentioned that he had traveled a thousand miles to keep the appointment and hoped that Jimmy had been as successful in life as he had been. The policeman wished him luck and continued on his patrol.

After waiting for about twenty minutes in the cold drizzle, a tall man in a long overcoat approached the waiting man. They recognized each other as Bob and Jimmy, and they excitedly caught up on their lives. Jimmy suggested they go somewhere to talk more about old times, and the two men walked arm in arm down the street.

As they passed a brightly lit drug store, both men looked at each other's faces and Bob suddenly realized that the man he was with was not Jimmy Wells. The tall man revealed that he was actually a plainclothes officer who had arrested Bob ten minutes earlier. He handed Bob a note from the real Jimmy Wells, who had been at the appointed place on time and recognized Bob as a wanted man in Chicago. Unable to arrest his old friend himself, Jimmy had enlisted the help of the plainclothes officer to do the job.