Barely missing my train in New Haven for New York, I ran to the parking garage, got my car, and zipped onto the turnpike heading for Bridgeport, passing two stops in between. I made it with five minutes to spare.
I entered the fourth car down, which is my car of choice, ever since I read that the first three cars are the most dangerous for passengers in any train wreck.
I settled in on a deuce, tossing my backpack on the seat next to me and took out a book but fell asleep midway through the first page. The conductor shook me awake at Stamford and I reached for my wallet to give him my credit card and it was Goofy all decked out in train gear and speaking like Goofy. I haven’t watched cartoons since they stopped showing them in theaters right after the newsreels, but that Goofy voice came right back to me.
I was mesmerized and pinched myself like I’d read in books to see if I was still sleeping and I wasn’t. We pulled into Stamford and a loud lisp asked me to move my backpack so he could sit down. As I was moving it, I saw Donald Duck smile his big duck bill smile and say thank you while spritzing me with duck spittle. I couldn’t take anymore and held my backpack and went back to sleep.
I woke as we were leaving the 125th St station for Grand Central and noticed the duck was gone and there was a regular conductor walking through the car. ‘What a weird dream,’ I decided and looked around and the car was filled with my high school classmates and teachers – all orderly, mostly grey haired, and a mess of canes and walkers. I remembered the reunion notice for my 45th reunion and decided that since I’d never been to a reunion, and there was no one I particularly wanted to see, there would be no sense in going to see New York via a private tour bus.
I didn’t want to talk to anyone from high school so I went back to sleep and only awoke when Goofy in his conductor’s outfit shook me awake and told me I had to get off since I’d been sleeping ten minutes after pulling into Grand Central. I got off the train thinking that I ought to see someone about these hallucinations, but just thinking about it made me fearful.
Paul Beckman’s latest flash collection, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press) was a finalist for the 2019/2020 Indie Book Awards. Some of his stories appeared in Spelk, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, Jellyfish Review, and The Lost Balloon. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly in KGB’s Red Room (Currently Virtual).