Ten Minutes To Park Street by Mike Ryan by Mike Ryan - Read Online



When his Green Line trolley breaks down on the way to a meeting at the State House, Dan Pulaski meets a beautiful stranger and feels a connection. Unfortunately, service resumes thirty minutes later. When Dan gets off at Park Street Station, he can't hear her name above the commotion. During the delay attorney Joy Hawley, who also is late for her meeting, notices a man with a blue novelty tie. She recognizes the writing on the tie as the preamble of the United States Constitution. When Joy is caught staring, she starts a conversation with Dan. She tries to tell him her name, and he tries to tell her his. When the doors open at the station, the ensuing noise muffles their responses. Did you ever feel you had a connection with a stranger? Would you dismiss it as a fluke, or would you not stop trying to find that person until you had exhausted every possible avenue?
Published: Whiskey Creek Press on
ISBN: 9781611606720
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Ten Minutes To Park Street - Mike Ryan

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Published by


Whiskey Creek Press

PO Box 51052

Casper, WY 82605-1052


Copyright Ó 2014 by Mike Ryan

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 (five) years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

ISBN: 978-1-61160-672-0

Cover Artist: Molly Courtright

Editor: Chere Singer

Printed in the United States of America


This one’s for Debbie, the greatest coincidence in my life.

I would like thank those who read my books. Writing is lonely, and your feedback has been wonderful.


Stuck With a Stranger

I’m ten minutes from Park Street, Henry.

Dan, the hearing’s going to start soon. Where are you?

Between Arlington and Boylston stations is my guess, probably right under the swan boats.

You’re not near either of the stations?

Henry, I don’t think the MBTA will let me jump out and walk down the track in the dark.

You have on you all the information I need.

I just need to get to the office and print it out for you.

If you had one of those fancy electronic hand-held devices, you could e-mail it to me.

No, I only have my lousy cell phone with no bonus features. Henry? Dan Pulaski tried to move slightly in the crowded Green Line trolley car, but it was a tight squeeze. He’d lost his phone signal. Shit, he muttered. Of all days for public transportation to fail him. He’d been stuck on the T many times before, but today his boss, Senator Henry Augustus Downey, was going to speak before a committee on casino gambling, and Dan had prepared a paper of bullet points for him. His paper, which he had spent considerable time on, was stored on the memory stick in his pants pocket.

Dan stood looking out at the darkness of the tunnel, totally helpless. No voice came over the intercom to tell the passengers the reason behind the delay. Even worse, it seemed the air conditioning had cut out.

Dan’s only fear on the T wasn’t being mugged; it was being stuck near unwashed bodies during the summer. In the past, he’d been caught in that dilemma several times and felt like he was going to vomit. Other riders worried about encountering terrorists, weirdos, perverts, and mad people on the bus, subway, or trolley. Dan tolerated the kooks, but he hated the stink of B.O. when it permeated his personal space. So far, during this lull, he breathed freely. Now he worried that he would perspire in the airless car. Dan studied his cordovan shoes and wished he had shined them. He tried to focus on the scuffs, but an attractive woman on the opposite side of the car caught his attention.

As he studied his footwear, a lawyer sitting next to the doors at the other side of the car studied her folder.

Joy Hawley’s cell phone had no signal, and she was worried sick that she would be late for her appointment.

She couldn’t remember the last time she had gone to Boston, probably to Fenway Park with her father. Joy had spent last night in the Allston neighborhood of Boston with her best friend, Maria Ortiz. This morning Joy woke up, ate breakfast with her friend Maria. Then she dressed and walked down to the trolley stop. Joy was no veteran of commuter failures. She couldn’t believe that she was stuck somewhere underground. Living in Worcester, she hadn’t used public transportation since high school, before she received her driver’s license. She had used the WRTA at home, but not the MBTA in Boston.

She wished she could have sent a text to her co-worker and friend, Andrea Vollman. It wouldn’t have mattered even if she had service, because Andrea never kept her cell phone on during the workday.

If she was stuck with service, Joy could’ve texted her boyfriend Bill. Like her co-worker, he kept his cell phone off during the workday. Bill probably forgot that his girlfriend was going on a big trip to Boston. Saturday night she’d told him in the bathroom about her plans, but he kept his earphones on while he was brushing his teeth. She tried to talk to him over the beat of AC/DC.

Joy shook her head at his late-night apathy. They hardly had seen each other over the weekend. That night they had eaten a quiet supper. Afterward, each retreated to his or her respective lairs. She was worried because she caught him recently studying a porn website. He admitted it and had said, I’m a guy. What can I say?

Joy studied the folder again, but she closed it after reviewing it for the umpteenth time. She was decked out in a beautiful charcoal gray with white-pinstriped suit and a purple blouse. For jewelry, she wore pearl earrings with a pearl necklace that her parents proudly gave her after college graduation.

The trolley car was getting warmer. She hoped her hair wouldn’t start to frizz. Joy also feared she might sweat if the car didn’t start moving.

She saw a guy wearing a navy blue blazer, stone-colored Dockers, and a white shirt with a blue novelty tie with white text on it. She thought the guy shouldn’t have let his shoes get so beat up. Maybe she’d put on her glasses for distance to read his tie.

Joy thought that Tie Man was close to her in age. She caught a glimpse of his left hand and saw no wedding ring. She quickly looked away. She brought out her folder again and reread the details for the hearing.

He has a nice face. I have to stop this. I’m just bored. Not everyone wears a wedding ring. He could’ve lost it, or maybe he couldn’t afford one.

Dan looked up and saw a beautiful woman wearing a striking gray suit and a purple blouse. She read a paper on the top of a manila envelope.

What if she was supposed to testify at today’s hearing? That couldn’t happen to me. I couldn’t be that lucky.

Dan tried not to stare, but he didn’t see a diamond ring or a gold band on her left ring finger.

That doesn’t mean anything nowadays. She could still be married.

Should I go over and start talking to her or will she think I’m some sort of whack job? If I approached her, I’d probably scare her.

Dan returned to re-reading all the ads pasted throughout the car. Did he need his GED? Did he need a new cell phone? Did he want to learn Swahili at night? None were applicable.

Joy put her folder back into her briefcase and pulled out her glasses. I might as well as read his tie. She put on black-rimmed glasses and started to read the opening lines of the United States Constitution. We the People… She chuckled and looked at the Tie Man’s face.

Dan Pulaski finished another ad about a super-duper dental outfit when he saw the gray-suited woman’s eyes look into his. She smiled.

Should I go over there?

Chapter 1

When to Grow Up

State Senator Henry Augustus Downey wasn’t a demanding boss for Daniel Tadeus Pulaski. Downey was gentleman-farmer Republican from Groton who loved his party and his horses. Downey never minded that his chief of staff was a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat.

The senator always said, Don’t worry, Daniel. You’ll be a conservative well before you reach my age.

I hope not, replied Pulaski.

Dan had worked seven years for Downey and never experienced any real problems with his sixty-five-year-old boss. He was surprised that his superior never sought any further political glory. Sure, Downey chaired a few minor committees, but he could’ve easily been selected minority leader. Since the Republican Party in Massachusetts had faced extinction in recent years, Downey could’ve picked his spots for advancement. Dan thought Downey, a lawyer by education, would’ve made a good judge. He was fair, honest, and decisive.

Several times the GOP asked him to run as the sacrificial lamb for governor or for Congress. He told his aide, When the party hounded me to run for higher office. I quoted General William Tecumseh Sherman. ‘If nominated, I shall not run. If elected, I shall not serve.’

Downey graduated from Harvard College, but he delayed law school by serving in an unpopular war. After two tours of duty as a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam, the young veteran looked to politics as his career.

Dan, the war changed me, said Downey. Before the war, I was a happy person, an idealist. I might have, heaven forbid, become a Democrat. Downey grinned with a twinkle in his eyes.

Dan had heard this before, but he enjoyed listening to Downey.

I had plans, I had dreams. Downey stared at the back wall of his senate office. When I came home, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I actually fell into a depression. My father, who had served in the Navy on a carrier during the Second World War, basically told me to get my head out of my ass and make something of myself. He didn’t want to coddle me, nor did he want me wasting my time or his.

Downey returned to school, graduating from Yale Law School. He came home to work at the farm, took a few legal clients, and started his political career on the local school committee and the board of selectmen. He entered the Golden Dome of the state house in his thirties and never looked back.

Dan had asked the senator why he never expanded his career beyond the Senate.

Dan, I never wanted to run statewide. It would be a big pain in the ass. I like my quaint Senate district. I’m comfortable where I am.

Dan was approaching thirty and wondered what was in his future. He majored in secondary education with a minor in history at nearby Suffolk University. He loved politics, but he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He wondered if he would ever get married. Dan liked kids, but there were no marital prospects.

Dan spent his junior and senior years observing classes at various Boston public schools and later student-taught seventh-grade history at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury, a tough minority neighborhood. Dan hadn’t spent time in a place where he was the minority. He liked the students, and he liked the school. He seriously considered looking for a teaching job after graduation.

During the summer before his senior year, he worked as an intern for a quiet Republican senator from some town called Groton. Dan loved the State House in all its forms. He learned a lot from his mentor and was fascinated by the labyrinth of legislation. Bills were created, weaved their way through committees and hearings, and either died or survived the Committee on Third Reading.

Members took to the corridors and the telephones to enlist support for their designs. Some reps and senators contacted the media to drum up public support for their legislation. The bill could emerge intact or with different looks. Other items might be tucked into the bill. Finally, the bill would face the voting by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Upon passage, the new law could be signed by the governor or he could veto legislation. The governor’s veto could be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the House.

Dan read every plaque, studied every gubernatorial portrait in the place. During Dan’s senior year, Downey asked him to help out when he wasn’t in class. Since Suffolk bordered the capitol, Dan found himself flitting between his campus and the State House.

During that first intern summer, Dan studied a portrait of James Michael Curley who ruled the Commonwealth for two years, 1935-1936. Curley served four terms as mayor of Boston in four different decades with stints as congressman, city councilor, alderman, and state rep. The Purple Shamrock also spent two spells in prison.

He was a very interesting man, said a man in a navy blue suit, interrupting Dan’s perusal of the portrait. Did you know that Curley outlived his first wife and seven of his nine children?

No, I didn’t, replied Dan. I just thought he was a character.

Despite all the tragedy in his life, Curley remained a steadfast Catholic. He still believed in God. His youngest son was a Jesuit.

I’ll have to read up about him.

Curley probably was the most famous politician of the twentieth century before Jack Kennedy.

Dan nodded.

I’m sorry to interrupt you. My name’s Gus Baptiste. I’m a state rep from New Bedford, the Whaling City.

Dan shook the mammoth hand, which was warm and strong. Dan Pulaski. Nice to meet you, Representative Baptiste.

Just call me Gus. That’s what my mother calls me.

My mother calls me Dan.

Have you visited our great city? asked Baptiste.

I’m sad to say I haven’t. I come from central Mass.

You should visit, if you like history.

Maybe I will.

Are you a visitor to this splendid building?

I’m interning for Senator Downey.

He’s a good guy, even if he’s a Republican. Baptiste laughed. We have good people in both parties.

Now, years later, Dan asked himself how much longer would Senator Downey stay active in politics. Other than silver hair, Downey looked as healthy as his favorite horses. Downey drank rarely and only smoked cigars. He rode every day, and walked everywhere.

Once Downey left, so did Dan’s job. Dan didn’t want to be forty and unemployed when his meal ticket dried up.

His buddies from home seemed to have established themselves in law, real estate, finance, and computers. Most of his high school classmates had left the single life.

Dan made $60,000 a year, enough to pay the rent for his apartment in Brighton and to bank a monthly portion. Expenses were modest. Since much of his time was devoted to work, he had only spent his money on a night out at the bars or to an infrequent trip to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox.

Politicians weren’t supposed to receive anything substantial in the way of gifts. Occasionally, Downey gave his two season tickets to his aide. These precious ducats had been in the Downey Family since Ted Williams played for the home team. The seats were located five rows behind the Red Sox dugout. Although a big fan of the hometown nine, Downey rarely went to Fenway, preferring to give his tickets to charity or to constituents who couldn’t afford an expensive trip to the ballpark.

Dan’s father, Jerry, always nagged his only son about his job future. Why don’t you come back here, get your MBA nights, and work for me?

Dad, math was never my strong suit.

That’s what God made computers and calculators for. You only need to know how to work with spreadsheets. You’re good with people, so you could easily handle my clients. It’s a lot like working with the electorate.

Dan shook his head.

Jerry Pulaski tamped tobacco into his cherry pipe. The senior Pulaski stood just under six feet. He was thin with a narrow face and a sharp long nose. His hair was wavy with a sprinkling of silver. After settling the amount into the bowl, his father struck a match and slowly puffed, shooting blue clouds to the ceiling.

You know what your grandfather did after he came to this country from Cracow?

Dan answered, He worked a series of odd jobs—working in the tobacco sheds on the Connecticut River, carried bricks, mopped floors, bagged groceries, and finally became a mason.

Right. He provided for his mother and his siblings to come over to this country. Papa never spoke great English, but you could understand him. What did he always say to me and my brothers?

Dan knew this aphorism since he was a child. Education. Study hard and get a good job.

Correct! He wanted a better life for his boys. Look how we turned out. An accountant, a lawyer, a policeman, and an auto dealer, said his father. Too bad, Daniel, that Papa didn’t live long enough to see his boys be successful. Mama did.

Jerry Pulaski pointed his pipe at his only son. Are you happy with your job, Daniel?


Do you see any chance for advancement?

Doubtful, unless I work for a higher ranking member or get a job in the cabinet.

So you’re stuck where you are?

I don’t think I’m stuck, Dad. I like my job.

But you don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

No, not really.

So what do you want to really want to do?

Play centerfield for the Red Sox.

You couldn’t make the freshmen team at a small high school.

I know that only too well.

Daniel, you’re pushing thirty with no good prospects. What are you going to do?

I’ll figure out something.

Work for me.

Dad, I hate math. I would be bored dealing with numbers all day.

I find it interesting. You always got good marks in it. What do you like?

I liked teaching.

Oh, great, another worthless job.

Didn’t you say education was important?

Jerry nodded.

So why would you call teaching worthless?

I’m sorry, Dan. I meant that it doesn’t pay well. Of course, we need good teachers.

You don’t think I know that? Are you happy with your job, Dad?

It’s a job. I don’t have to get excited.

"I want a job that challenges