Please see Part 1.

Jeremy, the man across the table from Jerry spoke up.

“Heading west?”

“Yep!”

“Great!”

And the conversation would have ended there, but George wanted to tell someone about his previous conversation.

“The man in the other car was trying to get me to get off this train.”

“He was?” There was ire in Jeremy’s eyes.

“Yes, it was his opinion that I would go much farther than I wanted to.”

“Well, it’s good you didn’t listen to him.”

“That’s what I was thinking.”

“Because you very likely would have ended up at the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Well, you see, my –”

“Because, rest assured, another train would have come and most likely it would have been going East, all the way to the Ocean and that’s where you would have ended up.”

“Um, no. At the most, I’d probably just go back to Topeka, where I started.”

“Oh sure, you might think that, but do you think the trains are going to be satisfied with the status quo? Before you knew it, you’d be in Illinois, then Kentucky and then: Whoah, what’s that? Why, it’s the East Coast!”

“I don’t think–“

“Of course you don’t. Most travelers are so naïve. They think they can just go from point A to point B all willy nilly. They don’t stop to consider the costs, nor the consequences!”

“I – Willy nilly? I’m just – “

“No sir, you’ll be glad you stayed on this train. When you step off this dining cart and breathe the salty air of the Pacific, you’ll see how wise you were.”

“But I’m not going all the way to California”

There was a momentary look of nervousness on the other man’s face, but then he smiled and chuckled patronizingly.

“Of course you are. You’re on this train, right? It’s headed for the Pacific.”

“No, my stop is in Colorado.”

“What?” The man was incredulous. “Why would you do that? You’re on your way! To the Ocean! It’s beautiful! And you almost certainly won’t drown, if that’s what you’re afraid of.”

“No, I’m -”

“Well, what is it then? Sharks? Are you afraid of Evil Submarines?”

“No, I just like the mountains.”

“No, no, no, no! I mean, the mountains are nice, but they are primarily the things you have to travel through to get to the ocean. Specifically the Pacific Ocean!”

“But I’ve bought a house in Aspen!”

“How unfortunate for you. Oh, well, it can’t be helped.”

“It most certainly can. I –“

He paused as he saw Jeremy’s eye dart furtively down to his handbag. George followed the glance down to it and noted a croquet mallet in Jeremy’s handbag.

 

A drop of sweat formed on George’s forehead before he cautiously continued. “I – I mean, of course you’re right. Why would I want to get off in Colorado? I will wait until California.”

“I’m very glad to hear it.”

“Great! Okay, Well. . . . Bye now.”

And George stood up, backed away and spent the rest of the trip hiding in the luggage compartment.

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