World Fantasy and Dead Dogs

Me and FlassieToday started with me sleeping through my alarm, though waking up in enough time to make the 8:15 train to Saratoga if I hurried. I ran out the door, struggling along with pounds of Shimmer magazines in my backpack, and came down to the steps of the subway station just as the train I needed was arriving. Whew.

And then, in a bonus stroke, when we got to 96th street, the express train magically appeared across the track. I hopped over and started breathing a little easier. I even got a seat.

Then the train stopped in the tunnel.

It crawled forward finally arriving at NY Penn Station at 8:07. Gah! I ran into the building, sweat pouring down under my coat, knowing that I wasn’t going to make it, but having to try. After all, Amtrak had sent an announcement to expect delays. Maybe it was late pulling in to Penn. Sure enough, I checked the board and it was still there. I grabbed my ticket, no line, and turned to the gate.

Which I couldn’t find. Oh, sure… there was a track 5 E, but it was only accessible by an escalator, which was going up. I needed to go down. A station attendant saw me and another man run to 5 E and look panicked. He shouted, “The stairwell behind you. Run! It might still be there.”

I ran. Top of the stairs. Glory be! The train was still there.

At the first landing, the doors shut. Halfway past that, the train pulled forward. I stopped and dropped my bag. The other man did the same thing. Almost in unison, we cursed.

I turned around, lugged my bag upstairs to exchange my ticket for the afternoon train.

That done, I walked back to the red line to go home. A line from the platform wound down into the main terminal. It wasn’t moving and from where I stood, I could see the crowd at the top, filling the platform. Someone said, “Train’s not running.”

“Any of them?”

“Not on this line. An ‘incident’.”

Groaning, I walked back to the other end of the station to take the C train home. As I waited, I watched six E trains come by and a couple of A’s but no C. Finally, an announcement said that they were running “slower than usual due to an earlier incident.”

What’s with all the incidents? After waiting for forty-five minutes, a C finally came, just as I was about to give up.

I got home about 10:30 and collapsed in bed.

Half an hour later, the phone rang. The production had run into a problem and wanted to know what they should do. With a sense of grim irony, I said, “Fortunately, I missed my train this morning. I’m still in town.”

So, I skipped the afternoon train, fixed the intestines and the dead dog and will go to World Fantasy tomorrow. Somewhere in all of this, I’m planning on sleeping more than half an hour.

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