Parts from a passenger train


The Michaelmonger appeared then, down the aisle at a distance, looking sharp and hawking his wares loudly. His voice was fine and I longed for a Michael to talk with, only I lacked exact change and anyway, I was saving what money I did possess for a small browncup of banana tea – yum.

The train lurched from side to side not seeming nearly so rhythmic as I’d hoped. I could creep onto passenger trains but I could not call the beat. Ba ba-dum bum bum.

Outside went by and the plain was black and the sky was black where the stars were hiding. My train shrackled by dead Scotts. Scott Brister, Scott Long, Scott Bouyear, most every dead man I’ve known was named Scott and here they all were: feet sending out shoots through the soil where they stood and not seen in this lamplight from tall train car windows but I knew my Scotts were there all the same. By some other sense, it is supposed. Not smells from their blooming smiling corpses nor buzzes from their bluebottle flies. Something else.

The giraffe lady standing at the window sensed them, too. Had she known Scott Long? I did not ask.

The cut of her blouse which was blue flowers left her back completely exposed and her vertebrae looked like those photographs I’d seen of the Loch Ness monster. Humps into the water, out of the water, into the water, out. Instead of water, skin, it is obvious, and (thankfully) never swimming away. And ripples and a family in a motor boat taking blurry pictures of Nessie. Pointing. Excited and I mean, who wouldn’t be? The frill from giraffe lady’s thin blue blouse blocked my curious view of their motoring off to her scapula.

When her high head burst into floating flaming orbs, it cast a light out into passing environs, revealing rocks, fossilized tree stumps, a bicycle tire, an LP copy of Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair, a tomato pincushion, Sean Connery, the staircase from my apartment in 1999 and some spark plugs from an old Ford Ranger.

Then she was gone.

The car went dark. Ba ba-dum bum bum.

“There must be some kind of mistake,” I said from my seat in the now-empty train car. “Sean Connery isn’t deceased. And his name’s not Scott.”

The rest of journey passed without incident.

Comments

  1. The other day, when I posted that info and videos about Sean Connery's, I feared that it would jinx him and he would, indeed, turn up dead.

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    1. It's strange the way a name will start popping up after a long absence and then the person turns up dead, isn't it?

      I'm not sure that you'd be responsible, unless you're up to no good in some way I'm not aware of, but maybe we do pick up on frequencies of which we're not aware. Maybe.

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    2. Collective unconscious and all that?

      "Collective unconscious (German: kollektives Unbewusstes), a term coined by Carl Jung, refers to structures of the unconscious mind which are shared among beings of the same species."

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    3. Maybe. Maybe something more akin to the zeitgeist or even Allen Ginsberg's notion of the poet as distant early warning system.

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  2. A train through the land of dead and lost friends and items and things worn out....not a great sight seeing trip but one that brings back many a memory.

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    1. "Land of the dead." That's sort of what it was, wasn't it?

      I wrote this pretty much as stream of consciousness, and I'm glad it didn't occur to me that's what i was writing about or else I might have used the term and been too on the nose.

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  3. Many decades ago, in Reader's Digest, I read a story by, I think, Will Stanton, where the Anglophone narrator and his French born wife were trying to bring up their spawn bilingually. One day when the wife wasn't around and the husband had put on soup to cook for lunch, the brat came along saying "Papa, le potage en train l'bouiller*"

    *I think it was l'bouiller.

    Dad: "I don't understand. The pottery is on a broken train?"

    Spawn: "Non, non. C'est le potage, et en train l'bouiller."

    Dad (reaches for French English dictionary): "the....soup....is....in... the...act...of... boiling....over."

    It had already finished boiling over.

    I think your dream pottery was on that broken train.

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    1. Ha. A few months back, when I was writing as Nasreen, Fang asked me in a comment, "Do you write these in another language and then do a rough translation?"

      I took it as a compliment.

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    2. Still waiting for an explanation of the Nasreen and Katy photos.

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    3. I had every intention of making this blog page an explanation of what had come before. I have yet to do so. Maybe someday soon!

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  4. "4:30 p.m. The tube train draws to a halt...."

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. SPLAT!

      There's that, which is always there, and also "Keep your fingers out of my eye.
      While I write I like to glance at the butterflies in glass that are all around the walls."

      Bob Dylan had a strange stream of consciousness libretto thing in the sleeve of "John Wesley Harding," too. It starts off "There were three kings and a jolly three too. The first one had a broken nose, the second a broken arm and the third was broke."

      A couple times a year, I've got to try and write like that.

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  5. I have had visions close to that. One morbid thing about accumulating passages around the sun is spirits you know in their skin suit are starting to shed that suit and move on, leaving those of us still wearing our skin suit to wonder about where they went, and if they are having a good time.

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    1. The comments to this post are fantastic!

      I had a post with a skin suit a few years back. That might have been the last time before this I had a spontaneous, absurdist post of any kind.

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  6. This is not unlike listening to Deathspell Omega. Which is high praise.

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    1. Thank you, Rupert!

      I'm not really sure what I've written here, but I'm glad I did. Maybe I have been reading too much Leonora Carrington. Or maybe I just need to set it to blast beats and heavy vocals.

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  7. This is wonderfully written and all - like a sort of dark, vivid dream that you wake up extra groggy from - but I feel like you missed some great opportunities for some killer Scott jokes.

    Not even one exclamation of "Great Scott!"

    Or how about this?
    The giraffe lady standing at the window sensed them, too. Had she known Scott Long?
    "No," she said. "I only knew him a few months."


    This comment brought to you by the idiotic thoughts bouncing around my head.

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    1. The Scott Long/long thing struck me as I read through it aloud, but I restrained myself. Mostly because I fail when a situation requires your sense of comic timing.

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  8. Getting very surrealist vibes here. Not sure if I like it or "just don't get it".

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    1. I'm not sure there's anything to get. Unless you find something profound rattling around, in which case it was definitely intended.

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  9. I love it craze.It took some time for me to understand but it is worthwhile .It reminds me of lost dreams,lost hopes,lost persons and so on.Hmm its good atleast in death every human is equal.

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    1. Wecome back, Arun! It's mostly nonsense, but at least it's better than the last two.

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  10. Channeling the late and great Hunter S. Thompson?
    Reminded me of the beautiful 30-something lady standing outside the church my family and I once attended. She was wearing a sun dress that not only was backless but as I drove my car around the parking lot there was a moment the light from the rising sun shined threw the thin materiel of her clothes. I only saw her body in silhouette but it was glorious.

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    1. That's a fine thing until the third or fourth time you circle around to keep looking. The it just gets creepy. or so the people with the restraining orders against me say...

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  11. It could be that I'm high on Tussin (not Robotussin, the generic stuff), but what did I just read? Is it because Twin Peaks is back that you felt the need to write a convoluted Lynchian metaphor with seemingly disparate metaphor? What did Sean Connery have to do with this? I'm going to take more Tussin.

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    1. Maybe you need better drugs, man. I remember back before you had a kid. There were better drugs.

      According to an email I received last night, the Connery thing was connected because he is a Scot.

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  12. He may not be a Scott, but he claims to be Scottish. My friend Dr Maroon said he's actually Spanish, but I can't be bothered to check it out.

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    1. Good call. Not Scott but Scott-ish.

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    2. Scotts were they? Not Scots? And that Ba ba-dum bum bum, could it have a wee beat from a Bodhran. Perhaps it was a journey without further incident, but not without a lingering mystery eh?

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    3. I am thrilled that I wrote this post without thinking about the fact that Sean Connery is a Scot. To me, it means that my head was making conneciotns I wasn't consciously aware of.

      Now I just need to restrain myself from making all of my posts stream of consciousness nonsense. (I guess some people might say they always have been...)

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  13. Harry, I don't know if my comment went through, so I am going to comment again!
    When I was reading your story, the only thing I could think of, was, I feel bad Debra missed your nude orb woman! LOL! Very interesting read! (Thanks for your compliments about the background of my painting!)

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    1. Thanks, Stacy. I don't post nonsense posts or nude pictures very often, but I'm trying to try new things and this just happened. Maybe I can branch out from my usual stuff a bit.

      Debra generally catches up eventually.

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  14. I wish my stream of consciousness writing was this good.

    The Michaelmonger was definitely making the rounds in this part of the country during the early and mid-1980's, because more than half of my male friends in high school and college were called Mike...

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    1. Hi, Mich! I love the fact that not only did a few people make it through this thing I wrote, but that they've all picked out different things to comment on.

      I knew quite a few Mikes. And there seem to be a lot of them who are about 10 years younger than me, too.

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  15. For a while there it was quite a trip!

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