Poznan 6

I did not yet know who Maria Fallon was. I did not yet know that she was on the same train as me, watching the black spheres fly.
I did not know that her mother had beaten her exquisite skin for losing her virginity to a member of the Hindu Untouchable class. I did not know that she loved blueberries. Muffins, pies, anything.
I did not know how she would leave this planet, or in what way her atoms would be reassigned to something other than Maria Fallon.
I tell you this now: Maria Fallon dies in World War Three.
And: I forgot to meet Laurel for brunch. Two restaurants were the same distance away.
May she stop getting shortchanged.
May her atoms rearrange exactly as she would like them to.
Unable to decide, I went straight to my hotel and sought refuge in the ground floor restaurant.
When I was of the age for passionate pursuit of just about anything (girls, money, peace, love, stamps) someone told me that I had to think certain thoughts and be absolutely sure of them, so that at the very end of it all my atoms could rearrange themselves back into me.
They assured me that after this I would never have to worry about anything ever again. Everyone who succeeded would have a White Christmas forever and ever.
Now that I'm here at the end of it all, I look around, and I can't see a single person having anything even close to Christmas.
Just firefirefire.
Hopefully they relocated. To the moon, or the Triangulum Galaxy.

Maria my love stay away! It's the same! It's the same! It's the same!

Poznan 5

From the time I woke up I could expect to be on the train another three hours. Laurel woke up shortly after, felt it customary to ask if I wanted breakfast ("not because we had sex, but because it's morning"), then remembered we were without necessary cooking equipment. 
We decided to have brunch at the nearest restaurant when we got off the train.
I told Laurel that I was going to step outside and walk around to help wake up, and that she could stay if she wanted.
Outside I saw the stewardess emerging from one of the last compartments. We could smell the night before on each other like kerosine. 
"How does it feel?" I asked
"How does it feel?" she mirrored.
"That's what I said."
"No, I'm asking you. How does it feel?"
I was silent.
"At least I'm professional about it," she pointed to my crotch. The zipper was open.
I apologized for my indecency. She laughed, turned around and went off to earn her keep.
A cannon fired somewhere. I know this because the smoke rose above the treeline, and because I've heard cannons fired in movies. 
Poznan was welcoming the train into its humble station. Poznan was sending little black spheres barreling from one side of the train to the other because the official representative of the Huambo Province in Angola was in a car containing none but himself and the quiet Maria Fallon further up the train. 
Laurel stuck her head out of my room. "It's the end of the world."
"No, but we Jews would really like to see it hurry up and get here. We're feeling a bit shortchanged."
I had wanted it to be true for all peoples, everywhere. 
May God bless His children!



When I was a boy I remember visiting my grandfather in the nursing home he lated died in. I remember being entranced by the set of Communist ruler Russian dolls that sat from left to right, big to small on top of his dresser. One day he took them down and showed me how they worked.
"See? You pop old Adolf's top half off and here's Benito, the son of a gun! And you just cut him in half and here's Iosef! And you know who's at the heart of it all? The smallest little guy in here. Puny old Karl! Karl Marx! Don't let his size fool you! This guy had big plans!" And then my grandfather would laugh and laugh and laugh, and I would cover my ears it was so loud but then I'd take my hands away because without the sound I couldn't tell if he was laughing or yawning or screaming.


We talked about war, about the necessity of body armor, about the benefits of train travel, about where all the dinner bells of the world had gone. 
We talked about necessity and superfluity. 
We talked about the possibility of World War Three. She said no one, impossible. I said just about anyone. 
She showed me from her purse a bear she's carried around for 17 years. I asked when we had stopped using buttons for eyes and were manufacturing fake eyes for stuffed bears. 
"Oh, a long time ago. Decades!" She beamed.
We made love in the little cube of the car that was mine all mine for the night. We pretended it was World War Three and the sounds of the tracks were endlessly marked off marches, locks, loads, firings. I wondered if the guns we were using in the desert still made those noises.
Like button eyes for stuffed bears. 
We fucked like rabbits.


"Sir, would you like something to drink?"
I am Humphrey Bogart. The dame's sweet, but she hasn't got a bit of sense to her about things. 
"Double scotch please."
"Alcoholic beverages are five dollars each."
"I'm aware."
"I'll be right back then, with your scotch."
Yes she says, halfway out of the compartment. Of course.
I love you, I say to the zig-zagging protracted door. Then I sit patiently, like a dog waiting for its treat or a child for communion, until the hostess returns. I take the short glass from her hand and remind her of my ardent passion. 
"That part comes after the drink, sir. In about two or three hours," she says playfully, all curves.
So there's some spirit in the young thing after all. She leaves, and I sip at the rim of the glass by the window, looking out at all that black.

Buckets and buckets of the stuff.

There's a black someone at my black door, just blacking there.
No. I have no idea what color this outsider is, but there definitely are silhouettes of feet at the base of the door, which is teal, not black. Whoever is outside shifts their weight from one foot to the other, the shadows deepening and rising one after the other. I thought about the hostess, if I had seen her shoes during our brief joining. Even if I hadn't, I think I'd be disappointed if they weren't sky blue, with white trim and all in order for the job. 
Still, it had only been 40 minutes, and those employed by the transport industry tend to be overly-punctual solely to heighten the wholesale failure of the actual train to ever take into account the existence of a clock, and to maintain the embarrassment we feel holding recently-emptied cups, inching the toes of our sneakers secretly onto the corrugated yellow strip.
That is to say:
She won't be early. She will be right on time. 
Satisfied to have eliminated at least one member of the collective trainship, I no longer found any sign of anyone in the half-inch space between door and carpet. 
I strode over empty space, and in expectation of needed pursuit, hopefully in the direction I assumed the diner car to be, refolded the door.
No more than five feet to my right stood a woman in front of the next cabin door, pressing her feet the exact same way. In the instant before she turned I could see boredom, curiosity, disconnect and a waiting switch that held behind it all sorts of activity. I remember thinking:
My God, she's such a child! Then:
My God, what a boring assessment of this person! Then:
My God, sorry for distracting You from whatever You were up to!
Then she turned, and the switch flipped.
"Yo." I am the coolest motherfucker you will ever meet on this train.
"I've been going by every room all along this train, because all the magazines are in Italian and I have no books and no one to talk to because they've all gone back to their rooms I think. Though I can't imagine anyone sleeping on this thing, even in the rooms."
"But you didn't knock on my door."
"I haven't knocked on any of them, that's the problem. I come right up and stand here," She refitted her feet straight in front of the door, looking down and gesturing at them with magician assistant's hands, "but then I don't do anything. I also figure unless I really laid into it everyone inside would just think it was another noise from this God-forsaken rustic missile. Hey, did you know I was out here?"
"I saw your shoes."
We both looked at her shoes then, as if we had caught some errant schoolboy in the act of playing hooky. The shoes (dark red, with gold designs and no support, like dancing shoes) said nothing in defense. 
"Through the crack," I explained. 
"You must've been paying a lot of attention to the condition of your door."
"It's just folded board. And teal."
"I meant you must, you know, be able to tell when things are subtly different, even if everything looks the same. My name's Lauren, by the by."
"I tend to notice things, I guess." I paused, then stuck a hand out. "Andrew."
"Can I come in?"
"Your room. Well I guess a better question is do you want to talk? I don't know why I assumed that. Do you? Want to talk?"
I waited again before answering, thought about all the self-loathing and cursing and drinking I would miss, then answered "sure."
"One second," I'd caught sight of the hostess emerging from one of the other compartments. "Another scotch please, when you have a chance?"
Her eyes lit on Laurel only for a second before snapping back to me and back to work. 
"Double, like last time?"
"I'l be right back."
She looked hurt.


Fact (n): 1. Something that exists; reality; truth.
2. Something known to exist or to have happened.

Fact #1: It is roughly 1500 kilometres by rail traveling from Florence to Poznan.

Fact #2: It can be almost unanimously agreed upon that everyone will die at some point. This is much more likely than being born in the first place.

Fact #3: I have taken the rail from Florence to Poznan. Most of the trip is at night. This is cruel because night is when most people sleep, and I have only seen one person able to sleep on the train that runs from Florence to Poznan, on tracks that must not have been too looked after since their laying in 1848. This is in the brochure by the door to each cabin compartment. A Jewess named Laurel has also ridden this train, its beginning and end already stated, at least once at the same time I have. 

(Final) Fact #4: If enough alcohol is present in my body not yet metabolized, I will mention my frequent dissatisfaction at having beaten the odds and been born, and been born at a time in history with trains from Florence to Poznan and Jewesses like Laurel. It is only due to the frequency of alcohol in my body that I feel I repeat myself often on this point. I also tell people that I'm on the run from something, and that I'm mysterious.

Look at me go.
Enter hostess with complimentary drinks, from the left.