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Word Count: 1,185
The short story After Twenty Years is one of over 113 short stories written by O Henry during a three-year period between 1902 and 1905 The New York World where he worked during that period only allowed him the space of one page for a story Therefore this particular short story like most of the others is very short The story takes place around 10 pm along a dark windy New York City business avenue mostly within the darkened doorway of a closed hardware store This particular location had been a restaurant until five years ago The weather worsens as the drama builds going from chilly gusts of wind with a taste of rain to a fine cold drizzle falling and wind had risen from its uncertain puffs into a steady blow The plot begins with a policeman on the beat who discovers a man standing in the dark doorway The man then proceeds to explain why he is there He and his best friend Jimmy Wells had parted exactly twenty years ago to make their fortunes and had promised to meet at that spot After Twenty Years He had gone west and gotten rich and was sure his friend Jimmy would meet him if at all possible They talked a while and the policeman carried on The man from the west wonders if his friend will show The drama increases in anticipation of the rendezvous Twenty minutes later another man who we assume is his long lost friend greets him warmly and they walk arm in arm discussing careers until they come to a will lighted corner The man from the west gets a good look at his companion and discovers that he is not his friend Jimmy We are treated to several surprises at this the climax of the story 1 The man from the west is under arrest 2 He is actually Silky Bob a gangster from Chicago and
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