There you are, standing on a thick slab of well-trod concrete, the kind that makes an attractive *clop* with the slightest of steps. A warm breeze tugs at your trench coat and guides a slow river of slate grey clouds so low across the sky that if you had a ladder, you just might be able to dip your hand into the misty current.
A sudden gust threatens to take away your fedora. You spin to shield yourself; that’s when you notice her standing at the other end of the platform—watching you. She has decidedly French or perhaps Eastern European features. The gust slowly lifts the skirt of her otherwise form fitting red dress, like a curtain being raised to reveal, legs—and more legs.
“My God,” you ejaculate, “they must go all the way up!”
The skirt continues to lift.
“Do they connect at the neck?”
There you are, sitting on a large wooden-bench in the middle of a marble room that smells like a curious mix of boys locker room and falafel, an environment unaided by the elderly Gentleman to your left who farts every thiry-seconds, as if regulated by quartz.
The room is populated by third-tier Breaking Bad characters and if there is a woman in a red dress, there’s also a questionably aged and apparently unquenchable nursing child who refuses to STOP. MAKING. EYE CONTACT.
*tok *tok *tok *tok *tok *tok *tok *tok
Between the frenzied suckling and flatulating you could almost be convinced that you’ve stumbled upon some body function themed art installation. Surely someone will start belching lines from Pale Fire. Close enough.
The intercom cracks and whatever creature is on the other end makes barking sounds. No one knows WTF is going on, but the general feeling in the room is to line up and wait. It’s at this point, when everyone is standing around looking at each other, that you start to panic.
Isn’t this how they slaughter cows? Is this the beginning to the worst ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ party ever?
To your relief, the line starts to move, and a half hour later you are at the back of the train. A man yells “Allllll…” begins a coughing fit, and eventually just waves you on-board.
The People (Fantasy)
As you make your way deeper into the gilt hallways of the lavish locomotive you meet all sorts of people: adventurers with Amazonian tales of intrigue, socialites who smoke using cigarette holders and abuse the word ‘marvelous’, and academics who eagerly tell you of the curious beetle specimen they are to study in Madagascar.
And of course there is the love interest—where DID she go?
The People (Reality)
The first calamity you will encounter on a train is the dreaded Hossferatu. The Hossferatu is a social vampire who preys on other travelers, bleeding them dry with unsolicited hillbilly-wisdom and endless personal anecdotes.
Hossferatu tend to cluster and compete for resources by one-upping each other’s stories, or by asking mind-numbing geographical questions in an attempt to stump one another.
(Hoss-A is feeding on nearby passengers)
“—Oh yeah, I used to go all up and down the fifteen back when I was driving for McClintock.”
(Hoss-B issues a challenge by asking a pointless geographical question)
“Fifteen, now is that the one that goes out there by Lewiston?”
(Hoss-A pauses momentarily, recognizing the formal challenge; if he doesn’t know, or gets the answer wrong, he will lose his prey to Hoss B.)
“No, no, you’re thinking of the ninety; fifteen runs south past Hollow Top.”
(Hossferatu A is successful. Hossferatu B will have to go hungry tonight.)
These passengers pretend they’re not listening to the conversation until they see an opportunity to be insufferable, such as when two Hossferatu are stumped and can’t remember the name of a city. A Rainman will blurt out the answer, destroying the illusion that they aren’t paying attention, and aren’t a total dick-toaster.
Everyone else just stares out the window contemplating death and the fact that coach apparently doesn’t entitle you to wifi.
White napkins adorn rich Mahogany tables, while chandeliers gently dance throwing nebulas of sparkling golden light onto the ceiling from the sweeping and twilit vistas outside.
There she is, the giraffentine woman from before, she’s sitting at a table alone sipping a cocktail. You saunter over.
“Do you mind?” you say.
“Please,” she replies.
You sit down and silently motion with your finger to the waiter that you’ll have a 1946 Francis Darroze Bas – Armagnac Chateau de Lasserrade; it’s an excellent choice and he bristles with approval.
“So tell me,” you say, moving your lips much more than necessary. “Where are you from?”
“I’m probably French, or maybe even Eastern European,” she says.
“I can’t be certain you see as my Mother was a traveling contortionist and sword swallower who saw fit to take me from land to land, educating me in the art of pleasure and the carnal desires of men. I just ride trains endlessly searching for the right man to bestow my coital endowments upon.”
“Cc—coital, endowments you say?”
“I like it European style.”
You haven’t the slightest clue what that means but you know you want it.
“I like to be naked when I do it,” you offer.
“I can’t get pregnant,” she whispers.
Something lurches in your pants and you grab the table-top to steady yourself. Wait…it’s your phone. It’s vibrating.
“Excuse me,” you say with a nod.
It’s a text from your wife.
Hello, I hope you are well as I am. I need to confess my fantasy. Should you run into a beautiful French woman (Eastern European would also be acceptable) I want you to go for it. It would be a shame for such a formidably girthed and equine lover such as you are to be wasted on my humble sexual needs.
-Yours Truly, Clarita.
Dining on a train is like going to an All-You-CAN’T-Eat Buffet, and by that I mean it’s buffet-quality food, and you can’t eat it.
No matter what you order, you receive a meal that some poor Chef has had to MacGyver together out of food scraps purchased from a shady back-alley grocery store, ran by an even shadier two-foot-fellow who goes by the name of Mr. Not-a-racoon-er-son.
You can also forget your fantasy of quietly eating alone while breath taking scenery whips by. If you are alone you will be placed into the last empty seat with a group of strangers, or if you’re extra unfortunate, a family. Enjoy your romantic dinner of Braised Question Mark with the family that slurps spaghetti.
Sleeping Accommodations (Fantasy)
Full of Armagnac and Duck meat you lead your love interest back to your sleeper car for a “night cap,” and there under the moonlight your bodies sicken the heavens with your exotic copulations. French style, Eastern European style, you do it all.
Panicked concierge rush up and down the halls, afraid in their admirably simple understanding of the world, that your lovemaking may shake the train off the very rails that it so steadily rides upon. A few of them faint as your new lover reaches her easily attained and unquestionably authentic climax.
“Marvelous! Simply marvelous!”
Sleeping Accommodations (Reality)
If you would like to purchase a closet they are available starting at like $350 which means you’ll be trying to sleep on a seat in coach. It will not work. You will go without sleep your entire trip.
The Bathroom (Reality)
There is no fantasy of using the bathroom on a train to my knowledge and I refuse to Google it. That said, bathrooms on trains are like using a Honeybucket while it’s strapped to the flat-bed of a monster truck. It was such a difficult situation that at one point I literally* just gave up and started throwing my poop at the toilet like a goddamn monkey playing Skee-ball.
You assume you’ll eventually get somewhere.
TRAINS ARE SLOW AS F*CK
For trips under 6 hours it might be ok. Otherwise…