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Tuesday September 02, 2014
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Death on the Rails

 

continued

There were no screams, gasps, or sobs. The car was silent for a few seconds, then the chitchat resumed. For most of us, it was like hearing such a story on the TV news, except that our incidental involvement in this one was going keep us here for some number of hours.

One passenger, though, was angry. The conductor had barely finished his announcement before she started to complain. "Is he an idiot? Is he blind? He said he didn't want to upset any children, and my daughter is sitting right here!" The daughter was as tall as the mother - well beyond the age of sheltering from words like "fatality."

My parents used such events as life lessons. "Wasn't so-and-so a classmate of yours? He was killed in a car wreck last night: speeding and lost control."

I wondered about the person who had been killed. We had no details. It might have been a teenager much like this woman's daughter. Perhaps a woman like her was now receiving the tragic news. On the other hand, if it were a homeless person with no one to mourn the loss, it would be no less tragic.

The angry woman called someone on her cell phone and announced, far more bluntly than the conductor, with her daughter right there next to her, that the train had run someone over.

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