Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fiction - Part II - The Escape

This is the second part of a fictional account of yours truly, trying to deal with a cataclysmic event. The first part can be found here. I am sorry it takes so long to write these posts, but I'm not the best writer in the world. It takes about 5 re-writes to get it to a level I'm comfortable releasing to the public. Enjoy!
The wind howled down Newbury Street, carrying freezing rain that quickly soaked the two men. Umbrellas were pointless as the wind carried rain swirled around, soaking any unprotected clothing.

Natog squinted through the wind, "Wow it's gotten worse. It's as cold as an ex wife's heart out here."

Al pushed Natog with one hand while trying to stay in Natog's slipstream, "I think my balls are frozen already! Keep moving!"

The two men fought their way across Newbury Street. Taking a right, they were pushed by the wind down the icy sidewalks for the block and a half. Turning onto Dartmouth, they huddled in the lee of the buildings, trying to catch their breath.

Looking across the pandemonium at the intersection, Natog nudged Al, "Take a look at that!"

Al turned and stood dumbfounded. Rising into the sky was a huge plume of smoke from farther down Dartmouth Street. A car had crashed into a storefront and burst into flames. Not a fire truck could be seen, and people were pouring out of the buildings, some without coats on.

Natog took off down Dartmouth Street, yelling "C'mon!" over the wind.

Natog and Al scampered past dead cars and fought through through the crowd watching the fire. Pushing people out of the way, Natog broke through the invisible barrier holding people back. Several people were staring slack-jawed into the blaze. The entire interior of the car was engulfed and the designer clothes were burning in the store.

Turning to the crowd Natog yelled at the top of his lungs "Did they make it out?"

A young black man wearing a valet uniform and leaning on a snow shovel replied, "Yeah man, dey shaken up. Day'z across da street. The phones do'n work so a couple of peeps run up to da firehouse ovah on Boylston."

Looking over, Natog replied "Thanks man, just didn't want anyone to die."

"Shou man, Dey ovah on the steps there."

Al pointed over a few store fronts down where another small crowd was gathered. A few slips and slides and Natog and Al made their way to the Car's occupants.

As they approached, Natog called out “Everyone OK?"

A young Hispanic woman was looking dazed with a nasty cut to her eyebrow. A young boy was looking around terrified, firmly clamped onto his mother's arm. Blood flowed freely from the cut, spilling down the arms folded in her lap. Meanwhile a Hispanic man was pacing around cursing, alternating yelling at the woman and the sky.


Natog grabbed Al with one arm and swung the messenger bag down in front of him with the other. "Open your coat."

Al looked over like Natog just stated he was the king of France."Are you kidding me?"

"Nope, got to get something but I don't want everything wet."

Pulling open his coat Al replied "Oh."

Natog opened the messenger bag with Al's body and coat providing protection. Digging in the bag he got open his mini-BOB fanny pack, and dug blindly for his quarry. Finally, his fingers closed on the gauze pad he was looking for. He then carefully Re-sealed the mini-BOB and messenger bag before turning towards the woman.

"Hey you ok?"

She looked rather non-responsive, and didn't even flinch when Natog opened the gauze pad and pressed it to her bleeding head. The boy was watching Natog intently.

"Hey there young man, that your dad?"

A shake of the head was the boy's only response.

"Well you want to help your mum?"

The boy gave a quick nod.

"Ok your mum is going to be ok, the cut isn't bad at all. Cuts to the face bleed a lot. You understand?"

Another quick nod.

"Ok, just press this gauze to her head with firm pressure and it should stop bleeding in a while. Now your mum is in shock, was she wearing her seat belt?"

Just a quick shake of the head.

"Ok when the firemen get here let them know as soon as you can. Can you do that for me?"

Another quick nod.

"Wha the FUCK chu dink you.."
A rough hand grabbed Natog by the right shoulder, without thinking he grabbed the hand with his left hand, slipped his right behind the attackers elbow. Stepping backwards while pushing forward with his right arm, Natog quickly put the assailant into a joint lock.

Al shook his head, "Jeeze, the guy was in an accident and now you’re beating him up."

Natog gave Al a nasty look, "Thanks for watching my back."

Al smiled, "I knew you had it all along"

During the quick banter the Hispanic man had insulted Natog, his mother, father, etc down the second cousin on his father's side.

Natog gave the guys are a little more of a twist, "Shut the FUCK up!" He paused until the man stopped yapping. "Ok I'm going to let you go, OK? Don't do anything stupid."

Releasing the man Natog stepped back, out of arm's reach. The man massaged his arm before turning to Natog, "I'm going to…"

Natog finished the sentence for him, "...give your coat to your girl there, she's in shock."

"I'm going to WHAT?"

"You heard me, she is in SHOCK, she needs to warm up or bad things will happen."

The crowd joined in alternating egging the man on, or calling him various names for not helping out his girl. The crowd managed to gain a consensus to help her out, so the man grudgingly pulled of his coat, and wrapped it around the woman and her son.

Natog took the opportunity to slip away and head down Dartmouth Street. He got half a block before he realized Al was still screwing around.

"AL! Let's get the lead out, eh?"

Abashed, Al scampered down the sidewalk, sliding every now and then from the ice and snow still littered about.

Muttering as he got up to where Natog was waiting "Slave driver."

"Pansy. C'mon let's do this."

The two men broke into the open in Copley Square, and were immediately assaulted once again by the wind. Fighting to stay on their feet, they crossed the square and crossed Huntington Ave. without incident. They paused to catch their breaths in the foyer of the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel before making their way across Stuart Street.

After fighting the wind for the last few blocks, Back Bay station was curiously quiet. All the track displays were blank, crude signs were taped above the stairs to the tracks with departure times and destinations.

Two Amtrak officials and a transportation cop manned a traffic barricade separating the main foyer from the commuter rail lines. Al and Natog jumped in line queued up in front of them.

Al looked around. “Whoa, I figured it would be busier.”

Natog was digging in his wallet. “They are probably all down on the platform already.” After a minute of digging he pulled out a small dingy piece of paper. “Here is your ticket, has one punch left on it.”

All took it as if it was diseased. “How long have you had this in there?”

“A few months I guess. I keep an extra one in case I forget to buy a ten ride pass, lot cheaper than buying a ticket on the train.”

As the line shuffled forward Natog kept aware of his surroundings as unobtrusively as he could. Al prattled on about the upcoming Red Sox season.

The line moved quickly. Al was halfway through his rant about missing the Teixeria trade when the transport cop rudely interrupted, “Tickets and destination?”

Natog nudged the Amtrak official with his elbow, “He a Yankee fan or something?”

The two Amtrak guys laughed heartily. “Yep. He’s all grumpy because they ain’t gawt no PITCHIN’”

The other Amtrak guy punched their tickets while piling on the transport cop. “Rivera-washed up, Mussina – gone! Pettitte – old! Ha!”

Al chimed in, “Matsui is hurt, Damon is old as dirt!”

Natog and Al crossed the room to the proper stairwell, leaving the three passionately arguing about America’s most beloved sport. Natog looked back, wondering if there was going to be baseball this year.

As they descended the non-functioning escalator they heard a raucous commotion from the platform. Hundreds of people were crammed onto the platform, waiting the train from South Station.

Natog and Al made their way down the platform, sometimes having to push people out of the way.

Al shouted over the din, “Is it always this bad?”

Glancing back, Natog replied, “Most of the time, but sometimes it's worse. They cut back on the number of cars on the trains to save money.”

He continued after walking along a bench to get past two bums fighting. “I haven't had a seat on the way home in two years.”
Al muttered, “And you wonder why I drive...”

The crowed thinned quickly, by the end of the platform there was only about 20 people standing around, clustered in little groups about 50 feet apart. Natog mingled with the group, returing a few hellos.

“Ok here we are. Hope the train isn't too late.”

A heavyset man replied “They running trains as soon as they can, I was talking to the Amtrak guy up top.”

Natog looked over with Al, “Really? That's good news.”

“Well the last train didn't stop, it was full of people from South Station. Even the vestibules between trains were full. You know how the conductors hate that.”

Natog gave Al a worried look, “That doesn't sound good.”

“Well what will we do if that one is full?”

Stomping his feet to keep the circulation going, “I'm not sure, the roads have to be completely clogged. The secondary roads through Dorchester suck on normal days... I dunno.”

Pausing a minute to look down the tracks, he tried to think through the best way to get home. Odds are Al's car was dead. So that leaves hoofing it or public transportation. Walking in this storm through Dorchester would be a bad idea. Odds are it wouldn't be lawlessness but Dorchester has always been a community waiting to tear itself apart.

It's 45 miles home, in this weather we would be lucky to do 10 a day. I'm not in the best of shape and Al's not equipped for this kind of weather. That reminds me.

“Al, how are your feet doing?”

“Not bad for blocks of ice.”

“Damnit, Al, You should tell me these things!”

“What? What you your going to do about it? Give me a foot massage?”

Digging to his bag, Natog replied “I'm the fucking Foot Master!” quoting Pulp Fiction, one of their favorite films.

After another minute of digging, he pulled out a pair of heating pads. “Here. Go over to the bench and put these in between your dress socks and your gym socks. Also rub your feet to get your circulation going.”

The look on Al's face was priceless. “Why did you have a pair of these in your bag? What else you got in there?

“Um, just what I normally got on me. No go, before a train comes.”

Al dutifully went over to the bench, and began pulling off a shoe.

All was tying his second shoe when the tell-tale rumble could be heard. Two minutes later, a beautiful purple and grey train pulled into Back Bay.

The group of people all piled into the train, although only a few got seats, the conductor let people stand in the vestibule between trains for some extra room.

After the last people clawed and pushed their way onto the train at the front, the Conductor slid the door closed, and jogged down the train closing the other doors. A minute later, the train shuddered and began rolling down the tracks.

2 comments:

Steve said...

You have a wonderful talent.. The story is developing nicely! Keep it up! Great work! One question??? Did they make it on the train?

Jeff said...

Great stuff! Already looking forward to the next chapter!