TUBE: TRANS-URBAN BLITZ-EXPRESS
Draft 2, Chapter 10, Scene 3 (Excerpt)
Carl beat his fist on the PRESS HERE button. The door didn’t open. He reached for the latch in the top right corner and for the latch on the handle and pulled and pulled and let go and threw up his hands.
“What in the name of Jesus...”
He rushed to the exit door and yanked on it.
“Who locked all the doors?”
Larry raised his hands. “I didn’t touch them, boss.”
“Well, somebody did. They didn’t lock themselves, did they? Give me the keys.”
Jim tried the other exit door. “This one’s locked too.”
Carl fit the key over the peg and pressed with his thumb. The key wouldn’t turn. He put both hands on it and pressed and pressed. A line of sweat ran down his forehead and down his nose and dripped from the tip of his nose to the tip of his black boot. “What the hell...” He wiped his face with the back of his hand.
“Boss, it’s no use. They’re gone.”
“Don’t fucking tell me what to do. Go try other doors. And clear out the passengers.” He motioned to the small crowd that gathered in the vestibule. “Jim, call the dispatcher. Tell them we’ve lost three cars.”
A squall of questions went up at this.
“What do you mean, you’ve lost three cars?” asked an old lady. “Please explain what’s going on.”
“Yeah, why did we stop?” said the man behind her.
“This is outrageous. We were supposed to be in Portland five hours ago, and now we’ve missed our boat!”
“You were going on a cruise or something?”
“Yes, on the Victoria Clipper, for our fiftieth anniversary. It has departed tonight.”
“Oh, that’s too bad.”
“I demand compensation for this. I’d like to return my ticket and have my money back. Where can I do that?”
“Ha! Good luck with that, lady. Why don’t you sue them.”
“And maybe I will.”
“Excuse me. May I have your attention, please?” Carl put up both hands. “I understand you’re upset. I apologize for the delay. We’re doing everything within our power to get you to your destination. Unfortunately, due to a technical malfunction, the last three cars of this train have decoupled and it’s our priority—”
“Malfunction! Ha! Some moron didn’t couple them all the way, more like it. I tell you, I used to work as a brakeman—”
Carl pinched the bridge of his nose. “Larry, get them out of here. I’m going back to the cab.”