Thursday, July 10, 2008


The train had struck the person walking right before her stop – a mere block from the station she was supposed to meet him. The weather was cold and the chilly breeze rushing off the water blew around a light mist. The area was dark except for some flood lights that were mounted high on the industrial buildings.
Malcolm leaned against his car and looked across the dark towards the train as it sat in the gloom waiting for the police to be done with their business so it could move along. He was sure that this process could take hours. Police moving around the train and marking and measuring where the poor soul was hit and were he was dragged. Maybe they would use spray paint to mark angles and determine fault. Maybe they’d just take some pictures and cart the guy away. He wasn’t even sure if it was a man or woman that had been hit. All he knew is that his girlfriend was still on the train and wasn’t allowed off.
His phone rang. He pulled his cap up off his ear and placed it to his head.
“Hey, Baby.” Her voice sounded tired.
“Hell of a way to end a two hour trip, huh?” He sighed. “You doing ok?”
“Yeah, I just wish I had hoped off when I called you before instead of waiting. They say it’s a crime scene and we all need to stay on the train.” She paused, listening, then continued. “Are you here?”
“Yeah. I’m at the front. Parked.”
“You ok?”
“Yeah – I’m fine. No worries. I’ll wait for you.” He spotted a police officer walking down the tracks and narrowed his eyes trying to get a good read in the dark. “I see a cop. I’m going to ask how long he thinks all this will take.”
“Ok – talk to you soon. Love you.”
Malcolm hung up and watched the officer come to a stop on the other side of the tracks. He pulled his cap back over his ear and thought things through a moment. It was dark and he didn’t want any misunderstandings here among the warehouses and darkness and train tracks.
“Hello? Sir?” Malcolm waved a hand and made his way towards the officer a few feet, but made sure he didn’t cross the track. Something in his head warned him against it. Maybe it was a crime or something. Later, he would think it silly.
The officer stood for a moment, then waved back.
“Hi. Do you-“ Malcolm stopped and rethought the conversation. “My girlfriend is on the train there. Do you know when all this might get resolved?”
The officer stared for a moment, then looked to his right and left. He then crossed the tracks in a slow, deliberate way and made his way towards Malcolm.
Malcolm watched as the officer walked over. It reminded him of the small town sheriffs he’d seen in countless old TV shows and movies. “Yes, Sir. That there train really laid old Arlo out flat – a-yup!”
The officer stopped about three feet away, paused, then said, “Sorry, what was that?” He was Asian, about Malcolm’s height, and friendly looking. He wore standard "police in the cold" garb - hat, and puffy, dark jacket.
“Oh, my girlfriend is on the train and I just wondered if you knew how long everything would take – you know?”
The officer looked over at the train and then back to Malcolm. “Yeah, well, this is a crime scene now.” He glanced at the train and back. “So, no one can get off the train.”
Malcolm looked at the train, then back again himself.
The officer continued in a friendly and informative way. “So, I think it will take about…an hour? Maybe?” He nodded.
“I see.” Malcolm nodded back. “Ok…well…thank you. I’ll just wait over here at my car I guess.” Malcolm sighed. “Thanks.”
“Sorry.” The man shrugged and turned to walk back to his position by the tracks.
Malcolm turned and started back to his car, then stopped as he pulled his phone from his pocket. He turned and faced the officer again and called back to him. “I was going to grab a coffee. Did you want one, Sir?”
The officer stopped and turned. He bowed his head slightly as if he were thinking, then he started walking back towards Malcolm in that same, slow way, again, stopping about three or four feet away.
Malcolm smiled.
“No, but thanks for offering.” The officer nodded, turned, and took his position again by the railroad tracks.

1 comment:

shana said...

This sounds so familiar!

I like this a lot - it is a good framework for a lot of possibilities...
1) a story about racial issues in the USA, even in as progressive a place as NorCal.
2)A scary 'wtf is going on' story - great environment for that
3)A love story - maybe these characters had a fight or are just damn sick of each other and they are resolving it through the realization that when they can't be together, they want to be.
4) all three!
5) batman hero story.