Monthly Archives: April 2020

Corona Chronicles – Ghost Train Pt 2. – “Things that go Bump…”

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Sleeper Car on The Lakeshore Limited

Bump…Bump…Sway and Bump…Rumble…Bump!  That last bump was a doozy, Daphne thought.  It made her open her eyes.  She was in the dark, but she could feel a blanket wrapped around her neck and upper body.  Her stocking feet were sticking out of the sheets.  She was in a box.  No, as she lifted her head.  It’s a small room. Ah, she was starting to remember.  She was pretty sure that she was on a train.   Yes, I’m not dreaming, she said to herself.  I’m on my way home! Home? It always surprised her to say that word. What and where is home really?

Enough of that and she shook her head to clear out the thoughts. She disentangled herself from the blanket and sheets; then yanked open the window curtains only to see nothing but dark shapes.  The day too was pulling back the night’s shades but at a more leisurely pace more like gauze than the thick blue folded train curtains. She had slept okay. She remembers getting up at 12:40 am because the connecting door to the next room was rattling again. Sounded like a crazed woodpecker. Before going to bed, she had folded the Welcome to Amtrak safety brochure and stuck it in the door and the rattling had stopped. She felt very can-do gal at the time. Very proud of herself. But it had fallen to the ground, so she folded it once more and wedged it back in. She had woken up again at 2:40 am. But, by and large, it had been a good sleep albeit a rough one. The only thing that went “bump in the night” were the actual bumps of the rails on the tracks. If there were any ghosts, they must have been the friendly kind.

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Corona Chronicles – Ghost Train – “Nighty Night”

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“We’ve stopped,” she thought to herself.   “And I’m on a train.”  “Yes, I’m sleeping in a sleeper car on a train.  On a train that’s been rushing through the darkness of night.  But now we’ve stopped.  But where are we?”

The Grand Duchess Olya Kampinskaya propped herself up on her elbows then turned around in the narrow bed to pull aside the curtains.  Actually, though her good friend Tim called her Grand Duchess Olya, the family had come to such reduced circumstances that there wasn’t much “grand” left except for a pair of diamond cuff links, a string of pearls and a signed copy of Prince Peter Kropotkin’s “The Conquest of Bread.”  “To my good friend, Olya, Kisses and Hugs, Peter.”

She stared out into the darkness and saw some plain wooden structures covered in ice and snow.  So, was she really on her way to her dacha in Siberia?  She reached for her glasses and put them on.  She read the sign. The sign was in English and it said “Devils Lake, North Dakota” without an apostrophe.  Hmmmm?  So, there was more than one devil at this stop and they had a lake.  And she was not in Siberia but somewhere in North America.

Daphne sighed as the train pulled away from the deserted railway platform.  It had been fun to pretend that she was a Russian aristocrat running away from Moscow that, at the time, was filled with Bolsheviks and a terrible flu.   But she wasn’t Russian or an aristocrat.  It wasn’t 1917, and her friend Peter was in Palm Springs.  No, it was April 6, 2020 and she was running away from  New York and a terrible flu.  That was the truth.  She was fleeing to the safety, she hoped, not of a dacha in Siberia but her ranch in Montana where her husband, Clay, was busy birthing calves.  He was not a Grand Duke nor was he a cattle baron although Daphne often referred to herself, as “The Baroness du Boeuf” or like Barbara Stanwyck, “The Cattle Queen of Montana.”   By now you must have figured out that Daphne had a rather vivid imagination and a tendency to make shit up.  She’d been doing this all her life.

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