around the time bernadette devlin was wrestling with her conscience we were trying to figure out if this train would take us far enough north.
it had recently stopped raining and the snow on the ground would soon turn to slush. grey, cold and gritty slush.
I had never seen anything like it. and I didn't much like it.
I looked over at him. he was obviously pissed about something. he was always pissed about something.
I watched him try to unsuccessfully light a cigarette with an empty zippo; my empty zippo.
I couldn't remember where I got it but I had owned it for years. I always assumed it was my grandfather's.
'fuck it!' he shouted as he threw the lighter far into the forest behind the tracks.
"there's fluid in the bag." I sighed.
I looked to the trees beyond the locomotive. it was gone. long gone.
'no. there's fucking flints in the bag but there's no fluid. we used it on the fire last night.' he said.
I handed him a book of matches. a book of matches with jfk on the front and job training on the back.
when he tried to hand them back I put my hand up. I didn't want to be a blacksmith.
the train was slowing down. we could stand in between the tankers for what should take us about three hours if it stopped in all the towns but I was secretly hoping for a boxcar. and I knew it would be a slim chance to find one with the door open... or unlocked at the very least.
soon it would stop and we could choose our car for the journey. I was shivering.
but the train started to pick up momentum... it wasn't stopping at all. it had obviously just slowed down for the town.
"so now what?" I asked "we don't have enough money for the bus..."
it was pointless me talking to him. he was running away from me, chasing one of the million thb boxcars on the line. I gave chase as well.
and before long he was in. I ran alongside expecting a hand up but it was in vain. he was already sitting down and staring at the back of the car with a slight nonplussed frown on his face.
with my last burst of energy I threw my bag in the railcar and hoisted myself in, clawing at the floor and door frame. I breathed a sigh of relief once I was all in.
I went to shut the door as there was enough light coming in through the slats.
'don't just yet' he said, still staring at the back of the car. 'there's someone else here.'
I looked in the rear and there were two women sitting on some milk crates.
they seemed slightly overdressed for the journey. one million cars and we get the one with the girls. the next three hours held promise.
"where are you two going?" I asked.
'back up north' they replied in unison.
"where have you been?"
'we were with two dates last night who brought us down here. we partied pretty hard at the hotel there in town and when we woke up they had taken our bags, the pricks...' the slightly better looking of the two said. '...where are you fellas going?'
"Well I'm trying to get home... and I suppose he's trying to find his way."
'find his way where?' said the other one.
I quickly made up my mind that if armageddon arose this one would be his.
the man in question then rose to his feet, walked to the rear of the car... and threw her out the open door.
'you can't do that...' my one blurted out before she too hit the deck roughly 200 yards from her mate.
"what the fuck did you do that for?" I screamed as I looked back, praying for them to get up.
before they disappeared in the distance, they did.
and I was relieved.
'I told you before...' the cc said with a grin and reaching for his cigarettes.
'the safest first step to a risk is elimination.'
we'll always have buffalo, sweet josh.