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Appalachian Sittin' Blues

 

The mood was just right. Sheets of rain hammered my empty 48 well with great viscosity. We now are pointed towards Bluefield, W.V. and my heart sinks. The acceleration out of Greensboro was quick and empowering. I discovered a blanket of invincibility and naively glorified the stampede toward the enriching mountains ahead. Gleaming in the presence of beauty and triumphing over our lonely cascade through the valleys and grades all too insignificant for a continuous makeup of feather weight empties. The spur approaches, introduces itself, then passes on with somewhat of a swagger at the speed of 4000 horsepower. I swear not a minute late, the first drop of perspiration slaps me in the face and erupts in the fury these lands harvest. Naturally I curl up and pity myself as my pride catches the westbound. Humming a song I drift off and awake hours later in Bluefield. The tail end of showers are picking up and scootin' on.

After some convincing and one hell of a debate I overdraft my pockets for a cup of diner quality coffee and have some more motivational speeches in the interior of my head. A few moments later the disruption of my evolving nothingness presents its purpose and blesses my case with a courageous display of violent noise pollution and to these ears a graceful hymn of euphoria embraces me. Tearing down the main is the most beautiful light show and an orchestra in tow. Backing the loaded coal stretching east are three of the shiniest dpu's I've ever laid eyes upon, and my uncontrollable love affair kicks me across the street and right up inside. We rock eastward for a solid 900 foot journey and tie up. Seconds later a lonely beam of light flickers off the windshield and stops just shy of the door. Turns and retraces its steps right off of the power on to become a hero. About 15 minutes passes and the already tuned radio blurts out of turn about a detective and gettin' on with that train. I'm feeling down right lucky thus far and decide to turn up the heat on this hand. Look out Atlantic city, we have a wild one! Towards the bathroom I wander and right on cue I hear the welcoming authority of dogs and some declaration of right to nearly power the door off its hinges and release the hounds! Wait, I've heard of this. You lay limp and appear docile, right? So, this is my first methodical approach that has yielded any bit of good. Well, sort of. The fury beasts still bombarded me and caused a sneeze from the coat of stringy German hair that now occupies my chest. Before I can grasp my bearings I'm yanked out and given a last chance to shut up about also getting my belongings. There was a whole ceremony waiting just for me right outside! I look past the spotlight into the mixture of plain clothes and blue suits and suddenly lose that lonely feeling of internal infringements.

I arrive at the jail house with my pack in another taxi following directly behind and am greeted once again with overwhelming attention. "Now, I don't know if I can handle this much flattery but I'll try and not spoil the party." Moments later a tie bearing buzz cut opens up and proceeds to spoil the party.

"What smells like fucking pig shit, oh, a tramp!"

"Thanks boys, bring him in here."

After some confusion on how to properly print my pair of paws, the NS agent alerts me of the dangers of a subject lashing out and attacking the good folk just tryin' to take some prints. He introduces me to his technique of a side to back body configuration finger printing system. Wow! This unfortunately wasn't even to change my life, but close. He lurked around for a while occasionally seeping out one of the most pathetic attempts of exercising ones wit, and turning to the city blues for approval. What a riot! We looked though the law books for awhile until he ordered me to retire in that cell over yonder. At sunrise I eagerly demolish the best damn frozen food to take on my palette and then have my name called up. Oh boy, maybe they have found a charge to prosecute this here wanderin' mess. No, just a friendly felony threat with a synopsis of "You will never, ever ride a train again. Never!" Well all-right.

However, at this time I was goin' for a sunday morning drive towards the magistrate court. We arrive and I am the first to nestle into this little office appointed as a court. In walks a casually dressed chap that appears to be arriving at his part time job and an introduction takes place. He studies my papers placed in front of him with a puzzled look of humor. He erupts in laughter and I become uneasy. This can't be good. Can it? Oh fuck! Beads of sweat slide into view on my glistening forehead. It's 40 degrees outside, and I'm in a fucking office with a mad man. I somehow spare the last gram of dignity I possess and appear collected.

"You are being charged with "riding a train."

"Uh huh." In an uncontrollable state of borderline laughter he continues.

"It's a code from 1948."

"What does that mean?"

"It's a class c misdemeanor subject up to a one hundred dollar fine or one imprisonment, enter your plea in the box and initial."

I check no contest and slide it back across the mammoth table. He nods at me and launches into a example of generosity and a blessing none the less.

"You owe the state of W.V. a five dollar fine and sixty seven dollars in court fees. If you decide not to pay, by magistrate law, for anything under one hundred dollars all we can do is revoke or suspend your license which you do not have. Good day."

"Um, yeah, thank you." You have to be joking! What the fuck just happened?

I dwell on this for the whole ride back to the jail and strut in with the biggest grin on my face. However, to my disappointment none of my new friends from the previous eve were present. Blast! I am informed that the bull took my stuff down to his "office". With no further adieu, I stroll out and down the hill to the mobile "office" that bears a "Norfolk Southern Police" sign. I meet the nicest agent ever and he pulls me into conversation for the better part of an hour. Glimpsing at my opportunity, I ask for a ride to the interstate which is gladly reciprocated with a joyful "sure". He laughed hysterically when I half jokingly suggested stealing a framed plaque with NS and all the predecessor's rail police patches off the wall.

"I would if I could."

"What's the big deal, you didn't see anything."

"I would if I could man."

He drops me by the onramp and wishes me the best of luck. I recognize this as a formality and nod. He cruises away, descending back toward town then flips his lights on and turns around. He pulls up and leans out the window with a fifty dollar bill and says "get yourself something to drink, you know what I mean." And that's exactly what I did. The first filling station I came upon I wished to be dropped off there and went in and bought the frostiest malt beverage in sight. "Man, I wonder how long of a walk it is back to the yard?..."