(© Jesus Riddle Morales)
Goldstein was an angry man this day. His divorce from his wife Darlene was a
messy affair. Still, he wanted to make amends.† For just over fourteen years
they were married, mostly enjoying happy times together. Yet one night of
enticement and lust slipped into his life. Thus, Alex had strayed; he fell to
his weakness for an old girlfriend. Now riding on a train southbound toward New
Orleans, he cursed himself for ruining a long and loving relationship over a
sordid one-night-stand. Alex was hateful, hateful of himself. In his hand, he
held the last thing that she left behind Ė an old, stained map.
me, sir," Alex interrupted a train conductor as he walked past the narrow
innards of the cars. "I understand weíll be passing a town called Newhaven
soon. Can you make sure to announce it when we get there? I donít usually
travel this far from the city and I want to make sure I donít pass it up."
you say? Hmm, we donít have that town on our agenda. It sounds vaguely
familiar, but we never stop there. Leastwise this train never stopped there for
Ė ah, for well over sixty years." The conductor explained. "My grandfather used
to tell me weird stuff about that place."
you DO have to stop there, right?"
no; we never stop in Newhaven."
but why? I have it right here on this train schedule?" Alex asked in
schedule is very outdated, sir. We simply never stop there Ė never." The bald
conductor said as he suspiciously narrowed his eyes at the aged map.
donít understand. If this train passes directly through it, why canít I get off
there?" Alex demanded.
very, very rural, sir. Some say itís practically a ghost town. Nobody ever
wants to get off there. Iím sorry, sir, but youíll just have to give that idea
was enraged by the smugness and defiance of the once polite conductor. But
instead of letting his anger rise, he offered a tempting bribe to the man.
Pulling two fifty-dollar bills from his wallet, Alex inquired again.
this time you CAN stop at that town. Itís very important that I get there."
conductor took the money in a quick and greedy slight-of-hand.
sir, Iím not allowed to actually stop there, but I could slow the train down
enough. Enough that if a certain desperate person wanted, they could jump right
on out from between the train cars. Iím sure a conductor with bad division,
such as myself, wouldnít notice."
just like that, the bald conductor waddled away on his old legs, leaving Alex
to consider his indirect proposal. Alex began to remember things about his wife
then. When Darlene left, he felt a powerful sense of regret. He wanted her back
now more than ever. Alex knew he had to get to her, but this was beginning to
get harder by the moment. If she resided in the old town, heíd have to make his
way to Newhaven and do so quickly, since the Civil War Era station was slowly
starting to come into view.
hope this guy knows what heís talking about," Alex muttered. "Iíd hate to have
wasted a hundred dollars and my precious time just to get stuck in some
boon-dock-nowhere town for nothing."
was a prominent lawyer from Manhattan. He grew up in New Yorkís tough ghetto
among the region often dubbed as Hellís Kitchen. He was smart and rugged, and
he prized himself in taking his streetwise ethics and transforming them into
intellectual advantages. But as he peered out of the slowing train, he saw a
very different world. He didnít see the rush of roaring cars, or the flickering
of city streetlights, or even the cursing cat-calls of hoodlum streetwalkers.
No, this place really was rural. Itís only boasts were far-separated
farmhouses, wide cornfields, and quaint pink houses that looked like they were ripped
straight from a suburban magazine of the 1950ís.
if Iím going to do this, I have to do this now Ė before this train starts
speeding up again." He whispered to himself.
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