Robustness (part 9)

The glass sign that said “Emergency Use Only” wasn’t necessary pointing to the emergency lever underneath. Without more clarification, Ezekiel couldn’t be sure it wasn’t referring to the bench beneath it, or to the train itself. Not to mention, whatever constituted an emergency was unclear. If one of these passengers passed out, one should probably not pull the lever. Better to let the train run its course. The only emergency worth stopping the train that Ezekiel could think of, was if the train would not stop.

He looked out again, to make certain. If it flew past a station, he would feel better, but he saw nothing but the flashing lights, evenly spaced along the insides of the tunnel. No one else seemed upset, but nothing assured him that this trip would ever end. He examined the glass again.

To reach the lever, one had to break through the panel, but no tool was provided. Ezekiel flipped his backpack over his shoulder, and grasped for any hard object inside. The Rubik’s cube would shatter, and almost everything else was soft, except the automatic. He had forgotten it was in there, because it shouldn’t exist. He forgot about racism, misogyny, classism, jealousy, Coca-cola. He held the backpack in front of him, his hand inside, clutching the pistol. With the bag against the glass, he tried jostling the gun forward, and it made a hard tink that might have echoed around the cabin, might have commanded attention. He didn’t look to see. As far as he knew, no one could see or hear him, and that was for the best. He shouldn’t exist. He should have been gone a long time now.

Tightening his grip, he held the muzzle against the glass. Oh well.

#cognitive-dissonance, #fiction-in-parts, #guns, #isolated, #robustness, #train

Robustness (part 1)

Amnesia wasn’t the issue. Ezekiel remembered the last five years down to the last detail. He had had jobs and relationships. That was all.

He was in an office now. Or he was undercover for special police. A reporter for a tiny newspaper in rural Arkansas. A bartender in a pansexual strip club. A line worker in a glue factory. He corrected a nozzle if it strayed off target. He was investigating a serial murder. He’d tell everyone. His boyfriend had no idea. His girlfriend knew everything. His gender-neutral playmate had no idea. His long-lost soulmate had no idea.

He had no idea.

A man on the train asked him, “Do you know how to get to The Glass Museum?” The man expected him to know, so he knew, but the man wouldn’t follow his instructions. Ezekiel repeated them slowly several times until they arrived at the stop where the man would need to leave. Ezekiel nearly had to push him out, but he wouldn’t find his way. The man was committed to being lost.

Ezekiel was more open-minded. He could ride the train, or he could ride the bus. He could ride a Greyhound bus to a place he had abandoned. He hadn’t had a job. He hadn’t had a relationship. He’d spent the last few years planning a better future, all alone, The Count of Monte Cristo without the money or moral imperative. He could get the money. He didn’t need justification.

In film, the screen blacks out and the characters return in the future, having done what they needed to do. The last five years were not forgotten. They were blacked out, and he would be whoever he had been. He would find out after the break.

#cognitive-dissonance, #contradictions, #fiction-in-parts, #robustness, #travel, #vagueness