Change at Jamaica

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
From Stranger Things Happen, my book of 76 overlapping flash fiction stories inspired by original street photography. Available on Amazon in all global markets.

Submitted: February 03, 2016

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Submitted: February 03, 2016

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“You reading that?” the guy next to me on the train in New York asks.

No, I’m just hauling around a hardcover copy of Gone with the Wind because I’m building up my arm muscles, I want to say, but don’t. No, I’m using it as a shield in case I get shot, the way I read someone once used a Bible to stop a bullet, I want to say, but don’t.

He sits down next to me, placing his leather briefcase on the floor in front of him and positioning his polished shoes on either side of it, holding it secure as the train lunges forward.

“Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable were great in that movie, don’t you think?” he asks.

I never saw the movie. I didn’t know who played the leads. In fact, I didn’t want to know until I was done with the book. But now I know, not that it matters. I don’t even know who Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable are.

“I wouldn’t know,” I answer, and then open the book and Scarlet says fiddle dee dee. I decide I’m going to say fiddle dee dee from now on.

“I never read the book,” he says. I don’t answer.

I see a penny over the edge of the book and pick it up off the sticky floor. Maybe it’s lucky, I think. I bang my head into him a bit when I do this.

“Maybe it’s lucky,” he says. I smirk. He wants to talk. I don’t.

The conductor announces, “Change at Jamaica for all east-bound stops.”

“Excuse me,” I say. He gets up to let me pass. I notice for a second that he smells good, like earth. How does a man who wears a suit smell of freshly-turned soil?

I lean against the door that says don’t lean against the door and I notice another penny on the floor. I bend down to pick it up and see my reflection in the window, the book stuffed under my arm, a long night ahead spent reading it alone. I suddenly see my whole life flash, from one, big fat book to another.

“Please step back as doors open,” the conductor announces.

I step back. Doors open.

I pull out a pen, scribble something in the book, sign it with my name, Bernice, and race down the aisle to the man. I hand him the book and make it off the train just in time.

I suddenly feel so light I don’t even get on the other train. I decide to walk the rest of the way home instead, my coat unbuttoned, an early spring breeze blowing.

Fiddle dee dee.


© Copyright 2018 Pattie Baker. All rights reserved.

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