Who Is In Charge?

Two days ago, I was enjoying my train commute home. My eyes were closed but my mind knew the stops.

Three stops prior to mine, the train hesitated for much longer than normal. I hoped an accident or someone who decided to commit suicide, wasn’t the cause.

Fear not, you emerged, an elderly lady with a pink stocking cap and a basket. You entered the car.

You had your fare.
You paid your fare.
You get to ride.

The conductor was annoyed when you departed. He barked out orders to walk around you, as if you were an object.

I was ill yesterday so I do not know what happened.

Tonight, I am following my train routine. The train stops three stops prior to mine. The train hesitated much longer than normal. You entered with your pink stocking cap and basket. Deja Vu, but this time, not so much.

This time, the conductor was not as patient. He yelled at you for making the train late for “this” as he pointed to your basket.

You responded by telling him to shut up.

You had your fare.
You paid your fare.
You get to ride.

As he reached the door, he decided he wasn’t going to take your words. He stomped his feet and screamed so that everyone in the car paid attention.

“I am in charge. You are not. You do not talk to me like that.”

You laughed in his face and told him that he would have to scream louder hecause you are deaf. He stormed off in a huff.

You had your fare.
You paid your fare.
You get to ride.

I don’t condone mean words, but yours were reactive. I don’t know your situation. I don’t know his. I also don’t believe that the customer is always right. In this case, you seemed to be right.

You had the fare.
You paid the fare.
You get to ride.

To the conductor, who is in charge? She pays your salary and so do I as long as we can afford to ride. We are, if we are not abusive. You are not allowed to be rude to her for taking precious time loading her basket. I hope you are never in her shoes. You will break your ankles under the weight of your arrogance.

Dream A Dream – The Train

The train crept into the station. The purpose was to transport a body for identification. My family was waiting on deck and I was voluntold to identify the body. They gave me a picture. They knew the person but didn’t want to board the train. I called them cowards. In defiance, my youngest nephew who knew the meaning of the word, insisted on boarding the train with me. My family gasped in horror. They all agreed to board.

The conductor was menacing but I saw the wink he gave my nephew. I identified the body based on the picture that my family provided. We stepped back into the vestibule but I noticed that my family was gone. The conductor grabbed my arm and told my nephew to exit the train. The doors slammed shut. I begged the conductor to let me off, too. He obliged, but I had to crawl through a window. As my feet touched the ground, I saw my nephew hop back onto the train.

As the doors were closing, the conductor told me to enjoy the poison in the air.

My family waved goodbye from the train. My hands and lungs started to blister.

I wake up in a cold sweat.

Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story 2015

Thank you Jackie for including me in the blog hop shenanigans for this year.  I’m not sure if I’ve participated before…  I know I’ve done stories like this, blog hopping goodness, but I’m not sure if it was in November or as part of the Nano Poblano festivities.  Anyway, thanks for passing the story to me.  And, Fishy, what a wonderful way to start it.  I can’t wait to see where it ends up.

The rules are:

Nano Poblano Blog Hop Basics:

  1. Wait until you are tagged, then add a new post on your blog with these rules, the story so far, and who’s been tagged.
  2. Title and tag the post as Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story 2015.
  3. Add at least one sentence to the story.
  4. Pick another Pepper from the blogroll to tag (preferably one who hasn’t already been tagged).
  5. Add a link to your chosen Pepper’s about page (so they get a notification that they’ve been tagged) to the tagged list below.
  6. Pass the story along within two days of getting tagged.

Here is the story so far, with my addition in blue at the end.

nanopoblanohop

Eli stumbled into the compartment, flush and out of breath, and took the only available seat next to an old woman and a child. After months of planning, he suddenly had a bad feeling about this and stood right back up again, but at the same time, the train started moving.

There was no going back. As if to accentuate the point, the jerk of the train starting thrust Eli into his seat. Was he doing the right thing? Was he doing the wrong thing for the right reasons? Eli didn’t really know. What he did know was that the old lady had fake teeth that hadn’t been cleaned in a while, and the child reminded him of all the scary movies he’d seen about children. But that was besides the point. Eli was on a mission. Kind of.

He cringed, wishing he had planned this trip differently. The train ride lasted a full hour, plenty of time for things to go wrong when split-second timing was needed.

A droplet of sweat beaded at the end of Eli’s reddened face as he tried to catch his breath. Luckily, the old woman seemed to be busy telling the child a long and rambling fairy story. She hadn’t even noticed her fellow passenger.

Eli meant to keep it that way.

The child Eli had noticed was Rory, who was on a “real-life Thomas the Train trip” with his Gramma. Eli was right to note that Rory looked a little scary. The poor child did look a lot like Chucky from the classic horror movie Child’s Play…but then maybe that could be said of any three-year-old with red hair and freckles.

Rory, normally the sweetest of all kids despite his devilish appearance, loved his Gramma. Today though, her lack of a smart phone and insistence that “banana you glad” was the punchline to that knock-knock joke about fruit didn’t play well with his preschool-aged attention span. Especially on this long trip. Instead, he turned his attention elsewhere…

“GRAMMA, WHO’S DAT MAN?” Rory exclaimed, using his “outside voice”, pointing directly at Eli.

wpid-20151103_130425
THAT MAN RIGHT THERE GRAMMA! SEE? SEE THAT MAN?!
DAT MAN DARE, GRAMMA! SEE? SEE DAT MAN?!

That man was the conductor of the train and he had an announcement to make.  The passengers gave him the solemnity and respect fairly due to any person wearing such an official uniform.

He coughed sternly and spoke rapidly:  “There has been a minor delay and we’re going to disembark a little early while necessary repairs are made.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  Accommodations have been made for all passengers in the nearest town.  We think you’ll find the quaint, quiet rhythm of Bubbleville to be your liking.  The town is rich with, well– let’s call it history.”

Eli jumped when the conductor started to speak right behind him. At first he thought the kid had been pointing at him, which made him sweat, but the kid instead had pointed at the conductor.

The passengers started to leave the train, Eli followed reluctantly. He had no choice. He had heard of Bubbleville and its ‘rich history’. It was supposedly haunted with the ghosts of its founder Mr. Bubbles, a mean and miserly man and some of the people Mr. Bubbles had done wrong. Eli wondered if the legend was true. He hoped not. What he needed was a new plan, as his was not panning out.

Eli followed the rest of the passengers into the only hotel in Bubbleville. A dark, brooding place that looked more suited for nightmares than restful slumber.

A giant chandelier crashed into a thousand tiny pieces, sparkling with fire and mischief, and Eli, along with his fellow travelers, jumped and cried out in fear.  It hadn’t landed on any one but had come close to squishing the little boy he had shared train compartments with.  The child, for his part, had weathered the proximity of the disaster better than the rest.

Laughing, a rotund man dressed in a too-tight suit came forward from an alcove behind the reception desk.  “Forgive our little pranks.  Our guests, you see, often come with such trepidation that Mr. Bubbles is haunting around that we decided to play into their fears a bit.  Just a bit of fun.  See, look, feel, your tension is already easing, and now you’ll be able to relax more thoroughly than you would have otherwise.”

Eli was not more relaxed.  He was, however, considering all of his potential exits from Bubbleville that might afford him the opportunity to play a trick on the manager before making his full departure.  A rueful smile played across his face as he was shown to his room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The contributors so far:

Fish of Gold
A Disquieted Mind
SVM & TB Stories
Excerpts From Nonexistent Books
NotAPunkRocker
Rarasaur
Jackie
And now me!

Jessie, if you would do us the honor by adding to the story and then passing it along…

whistle

https://i2.wp.com/images.forwallpaper.com/files/images/d/db42/db425912/678899/night-train.jpg
Image Credit: ForWallpaper.com

The wailing whistle moaned through the still morning, drowning out the rhythmic humming of steel on steel.
Progress and industry passed while most rode the REM express across dreamland, bridging night and day.
Moonlight glinted off the tracks before slipping into the streaming beam chugging after the thundering reverberations.

Shaking the very foundation:
The moment slipped away,
And time turned on its wheel.

The distance and future beckoned from the horizon, where the soft light of the heavens danced atop the ocean’s surface.
The whistle signaled its approach, its mile by mile victory, and cried with despair at being ignored and slowly forgotten.
Track and train would soon rust to dust in the shadows of the love they had once received.

They would not be grieved:
Death would be less rotten,
Than to be deemed worthless.