It was his first trip out of the tiny town. He arrived early. He was nervous and a little afraid. He gave himself time to stop by the drug store. As usual he bought two little bottles of shoe polish. He already had the paper cup and a half a loaf of Merita bread. Next to the tracks behind the store he found a crate and propped it against the brick wall. He sat down and placed his little bag on the ground beside him. Slowly he poured the first bottle of polish through the bread and into the cup. The bitter taste made him wince. He shook his head. He felt calmer as he drank. He filtered the second bottle into the cup. He started to sing a little tune. He began to rock back and forth. Moving slowly at first, then faster and faster. He thought he heard the train off in the distance. Thump-i-ty-thump-i-ty-thump. He rocked harder and harder. He was on the train headed out of town. A red spot began to grow on the bricks behind his head. A wet warmth seemed to engulf his neck and back.

At seven-thirty-five the train passed without stopping. The sign said there were no passengers.

About the Author

Gerald Cannon

I growed up po and ignant in Alabama. Then I went off to college and became a socialistic atheistic business school grad with an MBA. Not wanting to add evil capitalistic bastard to my resume, I obtained an antidote degree -the MFA. What a difference a letter makes. Now I teach college and make art. That's more fun and I'm less prone to drift toward the dark side. So, at the advanced age of sixty.... I have chosen mind over matter, joined the League of Defensive Pessimists and have no better answers, only fewer questions.

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