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Coal Train Suicide

 

I guess it's easy to get burnt out in New Orleans when the house that an old woman is loaning you gets wrecked by a hurricane, has 10-15 guests, a questionable drug over-dose, and to top it off, an odd and unexpected tornado that leaves one guest covered in broken glass. The house was being loaned to Harrison, my good buddy from San Francisco who I have a photo of shocked in horror as he stares at one of the guests being carried off by EMTs after overdosing on what I later would call "metha-DONT." So yeah, Harry wanted to get outta town, who the fuck wouldn't? We made plans to meet up in Tallahassee a week or so later and ride to Jacksonville to catch FEC down the Florida coast. Gotta get outta NOLA first, me and friend Patty hop out of Gentilly the next morning, ride CSX to Pensacola (my hometown) to visit mom. We then proceed to almost burn the apartment down while making fried chicken. All the while other FEC recruit (Corey Vinegar) has befriended 3 16-year-old myspace newbies who wanna hop out with us to Tallahassee. Usually I wouldn't give a shit who comes along but I was hopin' to have a romantic night with two of my best friends. You know "the guys" being all manly and hopping trains and bein rough and manly and talkin about manly shit. So much for that, next night I give mom a hug and head to the yard, all 6 of us. CSX's "Goulding Yard" - chill workers. I recall one winter night hangin' with this old rider named Gary, his drunk ass needed more beer so I agreed to escort him to the corner store, on the way he stopped a worker and tried to talk him out of the batteries that powered his FREDDY and preceded to grab the FREDDY and play with it for a second. Worker grabs freddy from him and gets back to work. Like I said - CHILL WORKERS. We catch out later that night, Cadillacs, me and Patty get one, Corey + Myspace newbies take a separate one. We roll into Tallahassee the following evening, the train isn't stopping so me and Patty hop off when it slows, the others aren't so lucky, the train continues on through town and we don't see em get off, like assholes we say "fuck it" and head to our friends apartment which is conveniently a block away!! The others show up an hour later, one of the myspacers is freezing and has a bloody knee, we feed her spaghetti. Suddenly this tiny one bedroom apartment is packed with 9 people, we all get kicked out after the neighbor throws a fit about the noise, oh well. We boob around Tallahassee for a couple days waiting for Harrison to show, he finally does. We get our crew together and head to the catch out spot (by this time one of the myspace newbie's mom has been notified, worried mom came from Pensacola and picked them up!!) oh well, I was happy they came along and I think they had a good first ride. We settle down underneath an overpass just before a "10 mph" curve. Its a nice night and I pass out. Suddenly I'm having a horrible dream, im laying on the couch and my living room is on fire!! flames everywhere!!! I WAKE UP. In reality Harrison has found a discarded can of gas and drenched a 40 foot stretch of tracks with it, THE TRACKS ARE ON FIRE!! We all sit there in a amazement should we run? should we hide? no, we all just sit and watch as the flames slowly wither out. Harrison is good at stuff like this, some would call it "sculpting the myth." No cops come, no trains come, nobody even saw it except us. BUT THE TRACKS WERE ON FIRE?!! Oh well, I kick back and pass out again, our ride finally comes through at about 9am, its loaded coal, takin' the turn at about 5mph, we climb on, Harrison carefully clutching a large ostrich egg given to us that day we head outta Tallahassee, and immediatly begin the ever so gentle process of incubating a large fragile egg while riding a freight train. An hour later were stopped, on a single track main and we dont know why. A vehicle roars past but we don't get a good look at it, cops? not sure. Eventually Harry spots cops at the front end, we all panic and decide to make a dash for the woods. Half way up embankment to woods were spotted, fuck. "HEY GET BACK HERE!!!!" cop shouts from opposite side of train, then talks to radio. "PCHHHSSHHH, yeah we got 4 suspects, and they appear to be hoboin' it. PCHSSSHH." We make the hike back down the embankment towards him, the trains not moving and were all standing in between a couple cars, knuckles are separating us from the cop.

"You guys just ridin'?" we tell him what were doing, he responds, "Oh thats fine, but the train just ran over somebody, yeah, some guy just sat on the tracks then blew his head off with a shotgun, then the train ran him over." On his radio I can overhear another person sounding out the registration number of the shotgun.

Were all fucking stunned but still wanna ride, we ask him if we can still ride and he says we should ask the crew. We take a walk to the front, the crew says no, obviously, I'm sure they're a little spooked after seein' a guy shoot his head off in front of their train. Suddenly I notice what I would call brain matter splattered on the side of the unit, theres already a CSI woman there photographing, I snap a couple photos of this and the cop gets irate, he wants my film, I argue with him for a bit but eventually give in after he threatens to arrest me. The cop agrees to cut the "crime scene" photos out and send me back the rest, which is a relatively nice gesture. Hell, if I had my shit together I would of been at the back of the train, snapping photos of the man that shot himself, not for the sake of "shock and awe" but for the sake of, well, I was ridin' this train and I have every right to get some photos of this. Its important to me, and pretty sad. I still haven't found out who this guy was and couldn't find any news of it later. Anyway, the crew tells us we should head to the highway so we do, but once were out of site of the crew we cut back through woods till were a safe distance back from units. We sit in woods and wait for the train to air up, its does, so we hop back on and ride into Jacksonville...