You are in a Small Train Station

You are in a small train station. It has long, old-fashioned marble benches along the walls with two down the middle of the room. The ticket office has a window with a set of six vertical cast iron bars, closely carved, with a half an oval opening at the bottom where the ticket man would take your money in exchange for a ticket, if it wasn’t closed. Posters are carefully tacked to a board, giving train schedules, rules for proper etiquette on the train, and one poster for a circus performance. No one is around.  You can’t figure out is why the large wall clock has the number twelve at each hour on its face. And why is that large rope hanging from a ceiling beam with a knobby knot in the end? It nearly reaches the floor, hanging between the two middle marble benches.

24 responses to “You are in a Small Train Station

  1. You are in a small train station. It has long, old-fashioned marble benches along the walls with two down the middle of the room. The ticket office has a window with a set of six vertical cast iron bars, closely carved, with a half an oval opening at the bottom where the ticket man would take your money in exchange for a ticket, if it wasn’t closed. Posters are carefully tacked to a board, giving train schedules, rules for proper etiquette on the train, and one poster for a circus performance. No one is around. You can’t figure out is why the large wall clock has the number twelve at each hour on its face. And why is that large rope hanging from a ceiling beam with a knobby knot in the end? It nearly reaches the floor, hanging between the two middle marble benches.

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    • Ha! You bloody killed it there!

      My first three goes at it here were all dream related. This bit, Peanut, is priceless.

      I just thought of another angle. I will have to make a go at it tomorrow.

    • Hi Peanut – cant top that one! Jeff

    • I think I want some oxoOHNO! I actually thought you might show up for the desert hike. It seemed like Peanut kind of challenge. I shall assume you are saving your brains cells for just the right moment. Glad you’re with us!

  2. Peanut, you really hit this one over the fence. What a delightful piece.

  3. Please do not forsake me darling. If there can be only one person, one, to stand beside me at this hour, I beg of God that it is you. Listen, and hear the approaching wail of the iron horseman, prophesied by table and clock, who carries within his maw the unspeakable pestilence of our own hand. Observe as I do, the rope, eternal binder of the wicked, hanging motionless between good and evil. Its knotted end is empty, unguided by the righteous. Even the shadows shrink away as high noon forever approaches, and, I remain, torn between love and duty.

  4. Hmmmm. A love letter? Written at the final hour? With something in his/our hand (ebola?)? I can’t help thinking that while the rope here is a divider between good and evil, and the narrator is torn between love and duty (is that what the two fingers in your picture symbolize?), any kid who showed up would know what to do with that rope. But then, you don’t sound like you are in a playful mood.

  5. High Noon?

  6. I was thinking of the movie, “High Noon.” I believe there’s a character named Frank Miller who Gary Cooper has to shoot.

    • Yes, that was my ‘inspiration’ for this piece. I was intrigued by the clock with 12 at each hour. Of course it could be midnight, but I saw it as always representing minutes before noon. Add to that the train station, and I imagined the movie ‘High Noon’. The phrasing is inspired by Tex Ritter’s theme song. I figure if you’re only going to write 100 words, it helps if someone else has already told the story.

  7. “Three. Two. One.”

    The brass pendulum hung just above Samuel’s eye level reflecting the dim light emitting from a desk lamp across the room. His eyelids lazily opened and then closed. The brown-leather chaise lounge cradled his limp body in the darkened room.

    “Samuel, all fear and anxiety are diminished. You are comfortable and protected. In a moment, I will ask you to go back to the train station that you have dreamed about. When you are there listen to my voice. I will guide you through the station. Are you ready?”

    Samuel nodded, “Yes.”

    “You are now in the small train station. Tell me what you see.”

    Samuel’s eyes fluttered open then closed. His eyes darted behind the lids. “There is a ticket booth with metal bars. The station clock has twelves for each hour. A large rope hangs in the middle of the room with a knobby knot at the end.” Samuel shifted on the leather chair and puffed air. “Please, no.”

    “You are in a dream, nothing can harm you. What else do you see, Samuel?”

    Samuel panted big breaths in and out of his open mouth. “It’s on the wall!”

    “Samuel, everything is fine. You are only seeing the dream. Nothing can harm you. What do you see?”

    Samuel bit his lips and puffed his cheeks with air. His hands wiped the sides of his face pulling the cheeks down and showing the whites of his eyes. “It’s there. On the wall. I can see it!”

    “Samuel, listen to my voice. Tell me what you see.”

    Samuel sat up with a snap. His shirt, already damp with sweat, strained against the buttons. “It’s too late.” Tears overflowed his eyes and ran down his face. “The circus is coming!”

    • Walter: I wonder if Samuel’s anxiety on account of the coming of the circus was due to an overjoy feeling or it was that, years ago, he had a love affair with one of the ladies trapeze and he was eager to see her again.
      Good piece.

    • I don’t know if it’s appropriate, but that last line made me laugh out loud. Upon sober reflection, however, I can understand the fear. I believe this is a medical name for the phobia about clowns.

      Even more impressive, I thought the idea that this was a dream scene in a psychologist’s office, under hypnosis, was terrific! I never got even close to that possibility. Very creative!

      • Totally appropriate. I designed it that way. Clowns are only the tip of the ole iceberg. There are all kinds of scary stuff in a circus! 😉

        Thanks for the compliment. I thought this could be one of those intro scripts for SNL. I could see Dana Carvey sitting up grabbing his face and shouting, “The circus is coming!”

  8. Small Train Station
    “Who was that on the telephone?” asked the young woman.
    “That was Sergeant Copper. He’s at the morgue in 14th St. and wants me to go there to identify a body who he said is my father.”
    ***
    “Sergeant Copper, I’m Lloyd Bartner and this is my wife Doris. You called and asked me to come to identify a body. Why are you so sure that it is my father‘s?”
    “Oh yes, Mr. Bartner, thank you for coming so soon. Well, we found an open letter written on the back of a poster announcing the coming of a circus to town, addressed to -My Son Lloyd Bartner- with your telephone number written on it, lying on a bench near his body. We also found an identification card confirming that he was Carl Bartner. Here is the letter. Would you come now and identify the body?”

    “Could I read the letter first”
    “As you wish. Let me know when you are ready,”
    Lloyd started to read aloud in a soft voice, so Doris could hear what was written in the message.

    Dear son:
    I‘m sure you will be surprised reading a message from me when we actually haven’t contacted each other for the last 5 years.
    Anyway, I have to write it to say that I’m sorry for all the grievances I have given you all these past years and for the love I never gave you,
    but you see, it was hard to give love from prison where everything around you is hate, malice and violence.
    I was released from the Amelia prison this morning. As you well know, I spent 40 years of my life in that hell, for a crime I committed when I was too young and I thought I was too smart to be caught and that I could get away with murder. I was wrong in both assumptions.
    Let me tell you, it was a weird sensation when I came out and was able to walk more than ten paces without being stopped by a wall or a fence.
    I told the guy who gave me a lift to town to take me to the Old Train Station. I wanted to see people going and coming, hurrying to catch a train, buying tickets. I just wanted to watch free people moving with a purpose and a destination doing things on their own accord and not limited by a strict schedule regulated by the sound of a whistle under close supervision.

    What a surprise I got when I came into the station and found out that it was no longer in operation and that, according with the signs pasted all over the walls, it was about to be bulldozed to make room for a new commercial building. What a pity.

    Anyway, I took the opportunity to walk around, all alone, just to bring up some memories of the time when I was still a free man, which is truly the only memories I would like to think about.
    I stopped close to the ticket office with its vertical cast iron bars now all covered by a large spider web. There are still posters tacked on the board showing train schedules dated 5 years ago and also a poster announcing a circus which came into town 4 Christmas ago.
    Finally, I sat down on one of the marble benches in the middle of the room. Frankly, I never understood why there were marble benches instead of wooden ones, in this small, local and rural train station, but who knows, perhaps a politician came out with that extravagant idea.
    I also never found out why the wall clock has the number twelve at each hour on its face. Everyone I asked about it had a different opinion as to why the clock in the station was build that way. Anyway, who cares, the clock is no working any longer.

    As I said, I was sitting on a bench when, all of a sudden I realized that there was a large rope hanging from a ceiling bean all the way down to the floor, right in front of me. What is that long rope doing there and who hanged it,? I asked myself.

    After few minutes of meditation and thinking about my life, I came to the conclusion that that rope was intended for me to used it.

    You see, except for you, there is nothing else for me to be proud of about my life. My past was horrible, specially those miserable years in jail; the present is frightening and discouraging and I have no special skills or learning to hope for a pleasant future. Foremost, I don’t want to become a drag to you and your family in any way.

    Good-by my son. Forgive me.

    Your father

    Lloyds eyes were moist when he finished reading the message. Then he folded the poster carefully and put it inside a pocket in his jacket.

    “Sergeant Copper, we are ready now to identify the body“ he said.
    “Good, follow me, please.”
    The three of them started a slow walk along a long hall.
    “By the way, sergeant, what was the cause of death?”

    “He hanged himself.”

  9. The rope ties this altogether, doesn’t it? It is certainly suggestive, and you crafted a story around the remorseful father who used it. Well done, lando!

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