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‘You Are So Flexible’
Trying to Make Another Escape: 6/7-8/2022, G-String, Jersey to Half-Mast, Pennsylvania
© 2022 James LaFond
NOV/3/22
I had plans for taking the trains to Illinois to train with Electric Dan for a week, then taking the Northern Pacific route to Seattle and working on The Captain’s pond. I should have recalled what some wise man once wrote about men and their plans. But when you start to become mistaken for that fellow, you seem to forget his wisdom.
Mister Saffrono took me into the Amtrak station in G-String, New Jersey, where a likely Latina spoke in heavily accented English, “May I help you sir?”
She seemed a sweet lady, so I was relieved of having to deal with the DMV-quality Eboniess. I told her, “I would like to leave Lancaster on The Pennsylvanian to Pittsburgh, then take the Capital Limited to Chicago.”
There was a problem. Trains would not be going through from Pittsburgh to Chicago except through Millwaukie. Her supervisor was called in and declared the route a mess, and recalling that I had family in Pittsburgh and Ohio, thought maybe I’d get a ride partway and then a bus and declared, “Oh, forget that. I’ll find a way to Chicago. I would like to take the Empire Builder, the Number 7, from Chicago to Seattle that week.”
“No?”
“No,” said the supervisor, there is no service from Chicago to Seattle listed—none,” and shook her head.
The clerk returned and said, “I am so sorry. Can I do anything else for you?”
I said, “They had a wreck on that route last September. Maybe they are repairing the line. Can I get a train from Chicago to Salt Lake City, Utah?”
She looked at me shocked, “My, you are so flexible.”
“Oh, I’m retired—very flexible.”
“Yes, sir—may I see your I.D.”
The poor thing had failing eyes and had to get out a magnifying glass to read my Maryland State I.D.
“Sir, one-hundred-and-twenty-two dollars.”
I gave exact change and the sweet lady, perhaps 40, starting to get a little gray over the forehead, was thrilled to be able to print out a ticket.
As Mister Saffrono and I left he snickered, “Bro, that sounded sketchy as shit, like you were headed out of town one step ahead of your parole officer! Good recovery though, the retirement think is a good cover…”
Mister Gray and I were treated to an Italian food feast before we left that evening under thunder heads. As the Turnpike rolled us through the rain and past the tractor trailers I noted that almost every flag was at half-mast, that this nation, for these past six years, seems to have become an erectile dysfunction male-enhancement commercial for impotent empire. It is a shame that some Latina country is not there to grab Uncle Sam by the crotch and say, “Poppy, you still strong, Poppy!”
Today, on this June Spring day, I was taken down into Lancaster by Mister Grey to that Amtrak station. There, I was able to schedule a trip directly to Chicongo from Lancaster, in time to pick up the California Zephyr, the #5, but not able to arrive earlier by a week and train with Electric Dan. I will have to catch that man come spring when I journey down to Missouri. The ticket clerk was very competent and actually printed me out an itinerary, as tickets do not have arrival times, but only departure times on them.
As I left, it only costing my $227, I reviewed the itinerary:
Train: 43
LV: Lancaster: 11 aug 152 PM
AR: Pittsburgh: 11 aug 759 PM
Train 29
LV: Pittsburgh: 11 aug 1159 PM
AR: Chicago: 12 aug 845 AM
Train: 5
LV: Chicago: 12 aug 200 PM
AR: Salt Lake City: 13 aug 1105 PM
I will spend two nights and three days rolling along for less money than it would take for me to stay in a cheap motel for the same period of time in some shit-hole city.
It does occur to me that my complaisant expectation of regular rail service whenever I wanted it was very boomer American, very weak and dependent, and that I should be embarrassed to have expected scheduling rail travel to be so simple and assured after the insane trip across country from Denver to Missouri this past April.
Overall, that is still 2,000 miles for a little over $200. Additionally, the coast to go from Philly to Emeryville, if I had chosen, would have still come in under $300 for 3,000 miles from coast to coast.
As Mister Grey and I were driving, The Brick Mouse sent me a twitter pic of myself and Pastor Linstet, former Archbishop of the Missouri, Christian Identity, Аrуаn Nation Church, quite an interesting fellow, who I interviewed in April. Although Lynn and I have no plans of airing the interview, the Pastor does possess a copy of half of the interview.
I can say, as the novel Ranger? should be posting on the site by the time that this article posts, that Pastor Linstet did serve as the inspiration for the Prior of Hell’s Door, His Righteous Gore, a crusader whose servants spent a goodly day fitting him back into his olden mail before the Voodoo Hoard crests the ridge of The Sunken Road, that I myself, in an alternative earth that makes far less sense, patrolled with Chloe, the dog that herds cats.
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