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Jim's Last Train

Jim wanted to see death coming. So, he'd narrowed his demise to either a bridge or a train. And since he'd always loved trains as a kid, he considered the matter settled. Jim recalled a visit he once made to this very train yard as a child; he was either six, or maybe four, he wasn't quite sure anymore. Jim had sat in his father's lap and had watched the trains come and go; it had been a pleasant way to spend a Saturday. His dad had found some old engineering hat, the one train operators wear as their badge, a pledge to their profession and expertise. Cradling the meager gift, he had brushed some dirt away before placing the hat on his son.

Jim reached into his pocket. And as he felt of that old hat, he remembered wearing it all day, laughing, and enjoying the day, the trains, the attentive father. Jim had been sure a day like that would never end, or at the very least, could never be forgotten, or misplaced, or lost. "I'm ready for it all to end," he whispers to himself, wiping a random tear away. And as a train makes its way to Jim, he listens to its reassuring rhythm and tempo, both constant and determined.

His mind malfunctioning under the weight of old age, a cruel disease hits delete once more. And as Jim glares at the oncoming train, he's suddenly, and utterly, lost. He exits the train yard, wondering where he's left the car, and why he's holding an old hat, especially one he can no longer recall owning.

Story by:

P. Keith Boran

pkboran@olemiss.edu

submitted at 2:36pm

1 December 2011