It was going to be a long trip and Charity was already tired. Planes, trains, buses more trains. She was headed out to visit her brother in India. Her mind wandered from the picturesque scenes out the train window. The sun never sets on the British Empire. “Ha!” she thought. She was somewhere in France on her way to Istanbul. There she would board a plane. She had already endured an ocean voyage from New York to Bristol, a train ride, a ferry ride and now was on her second train. Not to mention the bus ride from Memphis to New York. Something caught her attention out the window and she glanced. People on horseback. They were beautiful horses. She didn’t really notice the people but went right into thinking about the plight of horses in France. The grass quality is abominable in France and she had heard that the French keep their horses in tiny little paddocks and hardly ever turn them out. This of course, made her think about Rooster, her gelding whom she missed terribly. Her friend would take could care of Rooster but . . . I have to remember, she thought, to tell Grace to check the Rooster’s bridle. She had not oiled the leather before she left and was afraid it might dry too much and crack. She also hoped that Grace would not give him to much sugar. Grace liked to hand out the sweets a little too often. Carrots were much better for him no matter what he thinks. Anyway, she glanced north again but the riders were long gone.
A couple of rows ahead of her a small child was climbing over the seats. Her mind instantly turned him into a chimp. Yes, a chimp was preferable than a small human. At least they don’t whine. She wondered if sugar cubes would work on the slobbering thing. Charity determinably picked up her book. It was supposed to be a best seller but so far she had found it dull and predictable. She sighed deeply and wished that she had brought an ipod or something, anything, to block out the noise of the train. It was at that very moment that a rather fat man came waddling down the aisle. Shiny badge flashing on his gelatinous waist. Why put it there, she thought. Why not put it on the chest where one doesn’t have to watch it jiggle with the rolls. She noticed how he somehow made the badge the first thing you saw. (Aside from the bulk) It was like one those geeks with a fancy cell phone on his belt. As he passed by, the scent of lavender water wafted over. She could still hear the swish of his rayon pants as he hurried toward the back of the car.
Not long after his exit, the train pulled into a depot and stopped. This was not a scheduled stop and so everyone looked around nervously. Out the window Charity could see the large man gesticulating wildly as he talked with two uniformed officers. As she watched a man in khaki shorts and a hideous flowered shirt was escorted by two more officers past the red faced blob. Another followed behind carrying a large tusk. One can only speculate what this scene was all about. The blimp oozed quickly over and yanked the tusk out of the officers hands. After another heated discussion, the blimp in question re boarded the train brandishing the tusk like a well earned trophy.