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February 19, 2024

The Guru of Going Places

By Gary Glauber

I paid the ten dollars and was then allowed access to the backyard, where people were assembling for the main event. I saw her reclining on a chaise lounge, dressed in vibrant red silk, smiling contentedly in repose, awaiting the start time. For some reason, there were tomatoes on her eyes, sitting as if plump and ripe on the vine, waiting to be picked. At ten minutes past the hour, some of the assistants in yellow started hitting their various percussion instruments in unison. It was a chaotic concordance at best, small cymbals of manjiras ringing, gourds being scraped, bongos and more. There were bells and wind chimes and even perhaps a zither. This went on for about five minutes. It had the effect of calming the body through the numbing of the aural sense. When the "music" stopped suddenly, the hush amplified all else. I was hearing blades of grass dancing in the wind.

She was taller than I expected. Known as the "station master" to all of the surrounding acolytes, she was feted for her trance speeches that were both eclectic and insightful.

"I only understand the train station," she began. "It is where the people gather to leave their comfort zones, to travel to new horizons, where the rumbles of the big engines speak to the soul."

I fully intended to pay close attention, but somehow I had fallen into a deep sleep on the lawn. When I woke up I wasn't alone. There were at least twenty others still snoozing in the backyard. Perhaps the glaring sun coupled with the screwdriver at brunch was not the most responsible preparation. One of the acolytes urged me to remember my dream, "for it will have the answers you seek." One question I had was where the "station master" had gone. There was no trace of her; she was no doubt en route to her next destination, riding that locomotive home.

In my dream, I had been at a train station. When I got to the window, the woman pointed at my hat and then winked. She entered some numbers and then printed out a ticket.

"This is one way, right?" the woman asked.

I nodded my assent. She handed over the ticket, with printed destination reading 'Palookaville.' But before my train was going to leave, I had time to visit the outdoor farmer's market in the large brick courtyard. It was some special occasion, a holiday of sorts. Young children in strange outfits smacked their knees and yodeled. It was a sunny day and everyone seemed joyous, generous, happy.

"Did you get yours?" a blonde gentleman asked.

Turns out, everyone there was being given a free prize just for showing up. It was a tiny sack that turned out to have a kitten in it.

"Happy Caturday," he said, then danced off in the opposite direction.

Like everything else, it made no logical sense. I found the track I needed and boarded the train. The conductor refused to take my ticket, but she did take my kitten. Then the train slowly left the station, gathering speed.

The faster it went, the darker it got outside. As we were heading into a pitch black tunnel, I awoke. And now I was in the backyard of slumbers, minus the wise "station master."

The sun was setting in the west. I checked my watch. How long had I been asleep? I checked the schedule on my phone. If I hurried, I could make the next express train, and avoid the commuter rush. I felt like a new man, and when I caught my reflection while walking past a window, that indeed was the case.

Article © Gary Glauber. All rights reserved.
Published on 2020-11-30
Image(s) are public domain.
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