Part 99 – Going and Coming

Ambrose dragged his luggage into the train station.

Did I pack too much? It didn’t seem like too much. Maybe I didn’t pack enough. Maybe I should have packed my leather parka with the fur-lined hood. But it isn’t cold out. It won’t be cold for another three months.

He walked up to the ticket counter.

“Where to?”

Where to? There are so many places I could go. So many directions. But I just want to go. “Do you know of any towns nearby or otherwise that hire extraordinary people?”

The ticket clerk gave him a three o’clock in the morning blear. “I’ve never heard of a town that hires only ordinary people. Every company wants that one special candidate who…Ehh, I’m not motivated to continue this thought.”

“I think you misunderstood me.”

“No. I just didn’t particularly care to understand.”

“Well. In that case…” He bared his fangs. “Do you know where I can get a job?”

“You always flash those things at people when you’re making demands?”

“Oh, I’m not making any demands. Not yet. I just want an answer.”

“Well. You could go uptown to Mark Cat—”

“No.”

“Huh? Well. Nearest one would be Pinkerlee.”

“Is that a person or a place?”

“It’s a town thirty-five miles from here. Ask for Sammy Borscht. He’s the guy you want.”

“Thirty-five miles. Thirty-five…Is that anywhere near Havaton?”

“Huuh? Havaton’s in the complete opposite direction. I swear, they don’t teach you kids anything about geography. Why, in my day—”

“I’ll take a ticket to there.”

“What? Havaton?”

“Pinkerlee.”

“Wonderful. Round trip?”

“No.”

“Hope you have the money for it. I had a couple of punk kids come here the other day and they tried to spam me out of tickets to Disneyland. and…ehh. It’s a long story and I don’t feel like talking. It’ll be…” He flipped through some papers on his desk with a considerable lack of enthusiasm. “Oh. I don’t know. Let’s say three hundred and ninety-five dollars and….uhhh fifty-four cents.”

“Talk about spamming.” He pulled the money out of his wallet and paid for the ticket. “If I find out that it’s a whole lot cheaper than that, I will demand a refund. ”

“Yeah. You do that. Here’s your ticket, bub. Train’ll be here in half an hour or something.”

“Thanks.”

The clerk leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.

***

A full hour later, the train pulled in and Ambrose boarded it.

He didn’t look back.

The train let loose a beckoning call, just in case anyone else wanted to come aboard. No one else stepped forward. It called out a two-toned farewell as it pulled away.

***

Fifteen minutes later, another train pulled up to the station.

The train doors opened.

Elsie and Hildreth stepped onto the platform.

She sighed. “And here we are.”

He smiled, but it was very uneasy. “Here we are.”

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