For Cait.

I love taking mass transit for long trips, whether that’s a plane, train, or bus doesn’t matter.  Unfortunately this has a distinct issue that you rarely have to deal with in solo or small group travel: other people are crazy.  So, here is a story about a train ride:

I got on a train leaving a whistle stop in NC at 4:30AM, or some other ridiculous pre-dawn hour, after leaving a birthday party around a half hour earler, and promptly passed out in my seat against the window.  I awoke to all kinds of shouting and commotion in the area a few rows ahead of me, and stood up just in time to see a dude, holding a womans purse, crank back and KO the woman sitting next to him with a right hook. It got dead quiet for a millisecond, as she had been the one making the commotion up until that point.  The man had apparently casually lifted the purse out of her lap a few seconds earlier.  He then stood up, and ran out of the front of the car, leaving her purse behind and shouting slurs at the other people in the car, now all freaking out at him.

The sun had come up, and we were about to enter a station in Virginia somewhere south of Richmond. There had been no word from the front of the train of the man who had left this mess behind him 10 or so minutes ago.  However, as we began passing the first yards of the platform, it became obvious that he was not forgotten: there were police ALL over the platform, milling casually about as the train slowed to a crawl.  As the train settled to a stop, the police spread themselves so there was a group of them at every exit.

The train stopped, and the doors opened. Nobody moved. A faint rumble started, then got louder and more frenzied in the next train car up, until suddenly our antagonist came bursting through the front of the car in a full sprint, with his luggage, through the crowd of people waiting to leave the train. On either side of the train, a growing mass of police kept pace with him, even as he stopped at the end of the car and ran back through the front of the car, trying to lose them.  The rumble faded, and everyone went back to waiting quietly. Then, cheers from the front of the train! They got him!  I can only assume as he got off the train, he was rushed by police and they tackled him and handcuf… wait, what? he came back into view, being politely led him down the platform by police, not even in handcuffs!

At this point, an officer boarded the train and came to speak to the woman who had been punched.  The conversation between them that followed detailed her assailant’s trip to the front of the train after he had run out, and leaving on his rampage.  Apparently, when he got to the very front of the train, he had done the whole “casually picking up a bag” trick he was so anxious to show off, and stole the conductor’s backpack.  Still no reasoning behind the apparent lack of an arrest.

Then, they left, and the train did too.  As we pulled out, we passed him again, still not handcuffed, but now seated.  Never another word about it, and we’ll never know how it ended. Except like this:

I went back to sleep.

The End.

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~ by horizonmanifest on November 2010.

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