Tracks Stretching Into The Distance

A railroad running off into the distanceLuis Argerich

 

 

Write about a journey.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. I’ll start this one off… Doesn’t always take am age to write. Sometimes things come together just so and you blast something out in an hour. Like this.

    Everyday Heroics

    She re-settled the straps on her guitar case over her shoulders, trying to shift weight and keep from falling off the steel rail she was balance-beam-ing along for the twenty-second time. She’d counted, bored and lonely as she was on that silent railbed. For the eighteenth time she failed, toppling like a cairn with a few foundation stones pulled. She went one way, her guitar, already battered enough for a lifetime, went another. Pulling herself out of the soggy ditch she noticed that her left boot must have gone yet a third direction. As she carefully removed a strand of Ghostbusters-esque algae from her mousey brown hair and flung it aside she saw where her black boot had ended up. It was hard to miss up there, stuck under a railroad tie, adorned as it was with bright pastel cartoons holding umbrellas against a rain that would never come in their static rubber world.

    “Lucky them…” she barked a short laugh as she watched black clouds marching on the town she’d left behind, blocking the morning sun.

    She’d left everything. Her brother, her mother, her sister’s grave, even her cat was still back at that hellhole of a house. Everything had gone to shit a month ago, almost to the minute, and she’d left the next day, seen it coming for miles. Mama Narcissus and her head henchman, in trying to make her stay, had only forced her hand, and as the sun was going down and Brother Stoopid was most likely drunk at work she grabbed her guitar, her boots, a few layers, a bedroll, and a couple changes of clothes, and walked out. More accurately, she’d put her boot through the door and started walking along the rails. Stole some travelin’ money and one of Mama’s good skillets on her way out, too.

    She pulled a sun-bleached flyer out of her coat pocket and let it drip dry a bit before unfolding it. What ink was left extolled a job opening at a bar the next town up the tracks, “Faint of heart need not apply” barely legible at the bottom of the advertisement. She could see the rooftops of New Canton over the next rise, knew it couldn’t possibly be more of a rat’s nest of back alleys than Chamberlain City had been, and convinced herself for the hundredth time since leaving home that, despite all the times Captain Narcissism had told her she was worth about as much as cat shit, life would end up being ok. She picked up her strewn belongings and soldiered on, the boot that had stuck with her into the ditch making the most fascinating sucking sound with every step.

    The bar job turned out to be a bust in more ways than one; apparently Canton County didn’t have anti-sexual-discrimination laws. She did get one good break out of the mess though: as she calmed her nerves by playing guitar perched on a milk crate in the alley by the sketchiest dive bar in history her case filled up with cash. No anti-discrimination laws… but also no anti-busking laws. It was good enough to rent a room in a nicer tavern for the night and feed her part of the next day and that was really all she wanted right at that moment. As her head sunk into the lumpy but better-than-a-rock pillow in the gathering dark she planned out her tomorrow. She wasn’t sure what the day after held but she was sure of one thing: it had to be better than yesterday.

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