This is another short story I started writing a while ago that isn't even close to being finished. I've wanted to write something that takes place on a slow moving train for a long time now and I just started writing this one day while on spring break I think it was.
So once again this isn't close to being finished but I just wanted to post it and see if anyone had any ideas as to where I could take it.
He has one suitcase with him standing next to him sitting on the bench on the platform waiting for the train to arrive. The place is crowded with other travlers going to the same destination, more or less, as he is. It's overcast and looks like it wants to rain, which it's reported to do in the late afternoon. Dan sits there staring straight ahead, people block his view of the Amtrak poster for a second while passing infront of him. He's still slightly hungover from last night's party at a friends dorm where he drank to much whiskey and thew up several times. His clothes still smelled like barf which is why he was the only one sitting on the bench at the station. Hair is a shaggy mess, sunglasses on, headphones on listeing to Neil Young's Cortez The Killer, a old black sweater with small holes in the shoulder areas underneath a old jacket, and casual jeans the smell like the throw up from last night.
The train gets to the station two minutes later and everybody starts picking up their luggage and moving towards the stairs on the train to get in. He puts his iPod in his pocket after turing it off, stands up to pick his suitcase of the ground and starts walking towards the guy near the entrance collecting tickets. He gets to the guy and struggles to get the ticket out of his pocket with the ipod's headphones getting tangled around his fingers. But he finally gets it outwithout dropping his ipod on the concrete and moves up the stairs into the train and looks for an empty window seat. While moving through the train, people are finding their seats and putting luggage away. People look like their going in and out of focus to him. He finds an empty seat in the middle somewhere and hopes his pants still smell enough to keep anyone from sitting next to him so he can have some space to write his paper for his class that's due when he gets back. The seats are colored a dark purple and blue with dark green and gray zizags interwining between the other drab colors. He takes his seat next to the window and sets his duffle bag on the aisle seat, further ensuring that nobody sits next to him. After watching people sit down for five minutes the train slowly takes off from the station leaving behind Amtrak posters and wooden benches. The train moves along and when all the pretty scenery has passed, Dan takes his iPod out of his coat pocket and sticks the headphones back into his ears and continues his listening while closing his eyes hoping to fall asleep for the duration of the trip.
He wakes up when the beeping noise from his iPod, telling him it's almost dead, goes off loudly into his ears. Taking the headphones out of his ears and stuffing the iPod into his bag he notices out the window that it has started to rain and trails of water are making lines on the window making it blurry and hard to see out. He checks the clock on his phone, it's only 11:26pm. Around 6pm the train will be arriving at Grand Central Station in New York where his friend, Pete, will meet him there and they'll go out for dinner and drinks at a restaurant Pete claims to be one of the best in the Lower East Side. "With gorgeous waitresses and women there every night" Pete promises Dan on the telephone two days earlier. If Pete didn't call that day to invite him to his place in New York for the long weekend, Dan would have stayed at his dorm on the college campus, playing old songs on the guitar and watching even older movies while eating lasanga his mom brought to him at the beginning of the week. Dan lives alone in a dorm on campus at Community College in Vermont where the winters are long and cold and the summers short and muggy. His dorm is small and painted a dirty vanilla color that hasn't been painted over in years. He only has a TV, mini fridge, microwave, a bed, a desk, and a dresser. He's able to sleep at night for a regular eight hours, or less if the people next to his dorm have their music blasting out Pantera and Ozzy Osbourne songs all night. Two classes eveyday, except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, that he enjoys taking. Dan wants to major in writing, become a famous novelist writing mystery stories. But if he keeps putting off doing his assignments he won't graduate and get his diplomia.
Dan thought this train ride would be going faster then it appears, he suspects they've probably only traveled fifteen miles since he fell asleep. Feeling pessimistic, for the first time in weeks, about the train and it's passengers, Dan takes out his school notebook, filled with all the notes from his classes and he starts to read through some of the most recent notes from Monday and Wednesday classes.
"Miller -> Pg 31 ->
Rugged New York City detective profile"
Is all that's written down for notes, the rest are semi decent drawings of the classroom from his point of view and drawings of the human figure in awakward positions. The notes are useless but he can't help but reach for his red pen in his bag and add to one of the sketch drawings of a man smoking a cigarette. When he's finished he puts the pen and notebook back into his bag. Looking around and feeling less pessimistic about being here he decided do get up. He walks down the aisle looking at other people in their seats as he passes by them. People are reading books he doesn't reconize, they look at him as he passes by their spot. A majority of people are sleeping, slumped down in their seats, something Dan wishes he could do right now but he could never fall asleep someplace that wasn't his own bed and at night. He opens the door to the next compartment, another passenger car, where he finds more people are reading, sleeping, some are using HP and Dell laptops they brought along with them. The next compartment is the bar with oak colored tables and chairs placed next to the windows, and a bar on the other side of the compartment. Cigarette smoke can be smelled immediatly after entering and it's faintly visable in the air, the only people in here are two seperate groups of three or four at tables and a few scattered at the bar with drinks in their hand. The bartender is wiping down the bar counter and putting glasses back into their place underneath the bar. Dan takes a seat at the far end of the bar on a stool with a green cushion on it that feels better then his seat back in the other compartment. The bartender asks him what he'll have and he says he'll just have a water. The bartender takes a glass out and pours him some ice cold looking water from a pitcher and puts it infront of Dan on a white napkin. Dan takes a sip and sets it back down before reaching into his coat pocket for the last pack of Marlboro's he has. He takes one of the five that are left over from when he bought them Thursday, and sticks it in his mouth while reaching for his lighter in his pants pocket. Dan lights his cigarette and puts the lighter atop the pack which sits on the bar next to the water with beads of water dripping down the sides and getting absorbed by the napkin coster.
After a few minutes of sitting there a older man walks up next to Dan and sits next to him. He's dressed in a black suit from JcPenny's with matching black socks and black shoes, his hair is combed backward but any angle you look at him you can still tell that he's bald. Dan notices him sitting down next to him and thinks he must be nearly early or middle sixties years old and this makes Dan feel a little uncomfortable at first but he shakes it off and contiues taking small drags on his cigarette and blowing the smoke in different directions each time. When the other man sits down next to him Dan looks at him and they both nod at each other and mumble a inaudiable "hello". Dan's mind is starting to shift gears from the guy who just sat down next to him to his paper that's due next week, when the old guy starts talking to him.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
This is something I wrote way back in early March while on vacation from school and home alone and reading short stories online. I read this really good one I liked about a girl who just wakes up and narrates her morning on the day of her father's birthday and I guess it struck a note with me and I started writing this shortly after.
This still doesn't have a title after two months of sitting in a file on the computer and it's still a work in progress but I figured it's close enough to being done that I would put it up on here for people to comment on.
It's usually the bright glare of the sun bouncing off the snow into his room that wakes him up on his birthday, or the excitement. He remembers when his mom would come into his room on the morning of his birthdays; he could feel her presence above him, looking down on him. He wouldn't expect her to jump on his bed to wake him up, maybe just a soft voice saying "happy birthday". He wouldn't enjoy it either, as she was telling him to wake up in a playful way, he'd think to himself "why was she doing this?" She'd tell him to sleep a little more; she just wanted to say 'Hi' before going to work. And before he could hear her walk down the stairs, he'd roll over, pulling the blanket over him a little more, and go back to sleep.
Today it was the bright glare from the sitting snow outside that got him to sit up in his bed. His clock said it was 9:17am and he didn't have to worry about the time or starting a fire to keep him warm. He didn't have to feed any birds or walk any dogs, plenty of time to get a little more sleep. He ignored his body telling him to lie back down. He gets up to pull his legs into a pair of jeans, push his arms through a t-shirt and a sweatshirt before leaving his bedroom for the bathroom. He crashes around in there for a few minutes, putting on his contacts and brushing his teeth before leaving to go downstairs.
The hallway downstairs before the kitchen and living room is chilly; he zips up his sweatshirt before going into the kitchen. The kitchen is small with only a fridge, a sink, and a stove, plenty of counter-space between everything. The living room is next to the kitchen, separated by more counter space and cupboards filled with pots and pans spilling over onto the floor every time someone opens a cupboard door. He looks out the window over the sink, at cars covered in melting snow and lifeless trees; he couldn’t see anyone outside on the sidewalks. He catches himself being blinded by the sun again and has to look away before going blind. Breakfast this morning would be a cheap bowl of cereal he got at a department store he likes that is over fifteen miles away from here. He takes his bowl of cereal into the living room and sits down on the couch, while leaning back to turn on the television. The news is only reports of recent protests and riots in the Middle East that he’s already heard a million times before, he switches the channel to some infomercial advertising to him that he needs to buy his mom another useless cooking appliance. Sitting there eating each spoonful of knockoff cereal with the TV playing in the background. This is what he’s done the last three days of his life, just staying inside all day at home by himself. He knew he’d half to go out sooner or later to get some more food, or at least for some fresh air. What he didn’t want to deal with though was bumping into any of his parent’s friends, so he could hear how sorry they are and ask him some rhetorical questions.
He remembers his previous birthdays, once spent with mom, dad, his brother and sister, and his grandparents. From the minute he woke up to the moment he went to sleep it was his day, all the attention was focused solely on him. He remembers his fourth birthday spent in Florida where he got his first bicycle, his twelfth birthday he got a stereo and a new Weezer CD, and today he gets this day to himself. At first he misses all the attention, but after a minute it passes and he gets used to the new found silence that fills the house, except for the occasional hum that comes from the furnace firing on.
While he gets up to put his empty bowl into the sink, he hears someone walk up the porch steps and knock on the screen door, he doesn't look to see who it is, or run to get the door. He stands still in front of the sink filled with dirty dishes from last night’s dinner. He thinks, who could be at the door, but no one specific would come to mind. The sound presents itself again, this time it's louder and the knocks are longer. After a minute whoever was at the door gives up and leaves the porch, they disappear altogether. He didn't know who it was, even though he was a little curious to what they might of wanted, he wasn't in the mood to talk to many people today. Putting his bowl into the sink consciously making sure not to make any sound, he walks out of the kitchen, into the hallway slowly, and up the stairs into his bedroom. The sun was producing enough light to highlight everything wrong in his bedroom; the dirty pile of clothes in the corner, the unorganized desk, and the bed a mess of blankets and sheets. He goes to his desk and opens the first drawer and gets his wallet, checking the inside he finds he only has twelve dollars and a learner’s permit that expires today. He folds up the wallet and slips it into his back pocket and continues to look in the drawer for his house keys, which he finds a few seconds later. Closing the desk drawer he leaves his room and goes into the bathroom to look at himself in the mirror. He wanted to make sure he looked good enough to go out into public; he didn't want his hair to look unkempt or his clothes to look dirty, even though they were. He splashed some warm water into his face and combed his hair to the right and parted it, but not too much. Turning off the bathroom light he went back downstairs to the hallway to put his jacket on.
Outside it wasn't much warmer then inside, the snow was still blinding and it took his eyes a couple minutes to adjust to the sudden change. The sidewalks were full of slush and puddles to step in and the road didn't look much better.
Walking felt like a task, he looked down to make sure he wasn't going to step into any deep puddles, the city should do a better job cleaning the sidewalks he thought. He kept walking and soon his house was out of sight around a corner, cold and undesirable. Coming to a stop at a crosswalk with lots of cars stopped at an intersection an older lady came up from behind him and waited next to him. She was dressed like someone had dipped her in purple; purple hat, purple jacket, and purple shoes.
"Shouldn't you be in school today?" She asked him.
"Uh, not today" He said looking in the opposite direction, hoping she'd leave it at that.
"Why not dear?" She persisted.
"Just because I don't have to."
"Nonsense, you need to be in school young man, it's important."
"I know it's important, I'm just not in school for today."
"I think you need to go home and ask your mother or father to drive you to school today."
"Right, okay I will." He said hoping she wouldn't persist any longer. The light turned and the older lady walked across the street, but he only stood there for a second before turning around and walking back home forgetting why he even bothered going outside today.