Travels of Jack Pynesapp
Book 2: Red and Jimmy
Chapter 3;"What do we do when he comes back?" Red asked as they settled back in their seats.
"He's a jerk -- we just ignore him."
"You'd rather explain why we can't invite him to our concert?"
"Well, no. I guess not."
"That was quick thinking, by the way."
"Thanks -- I guess." Red laughed. "Ended up -- kind of out of the frying pan..."
"I think I prefer the fire, in this case." Jimmy smiled.
"Why was he so interested in who we are?"
"I wonder. Do you think he's really who he says he is."
"Why don't you ask him when he gets back." Red smiled.
"I might just do that." Jimmy huffed.
Red put in her earbuds and smiled; "You just do that."
Jimmy put in his buds too and smiled; "Watch me."
They both reclined their seats. Red leaned over against Jimmy and they both switched on their music.
The train made a number of stops on it's way to the coast but these were so smooth that Red and Jimmy barely noticed any change in the motion and soon Jimmy was snoring quietly. Red couldn't sleep because she was trying to think of a story to tell Arthur when he came back that would explain their other story. Even though Jimmy had said he would confront him, Red knew it would be up to her to take care of this. She leaned over and switched off Jimmy's music and then pulled a magazine out of her bag and began reading. The train sped on through the night.
Red nodded in and out of sleep all night. Arthur never returned to his seat.
The conductor announced that the train was approaching it's final stop and instructed all remaining passengers to collect their personal belongings and prepare to move to the exit doors when the train comes to a complete stop.
Jimmy stirred and Red kissed him on the cheek and said; "Wake up Ripp Van Winkle."
Jimmy opened his eyes, sat up and stretched, leaned over and kissed Red. "Good morning sunshine." He said as he looked over to Arthur's empty seat. "Did he ever come back?"
"Never? How do you know? Didn't you ever sleep?"
"No. I couldn't stop thinking about what we would tell him."
Jimmy yawned and scolded; "I told you I'd take care of that."
"I know." Red smiled. "And how exactly were you going to do that sound asleep?"
"Where's he been, I wonder."
"Not our problem." Red said as she stood up and started packing her stuff back in her bag.
Red stepped off the train onto the platform while Jimmy retrieved their bag. She looked up and down the sleek black train and along the platform to get her bearings. People were exiting each car from doors that happened about every 50 feet along the side of the train. These doors were pretty much the only way to tell where each car was along the otherwise smooth skin of train. Two doors to her right ( toward the front of the train) -- the first sleeping car, according to her calculations, she saw Arthur stepping off the train. He then turned around and helped a lady step down. Red recognized her; it was Alice from the dinning car the night before. And after her Bill stepped off. Arthur looked Red's way and when their eyes met he smiled and gave a little wave. Bill and Alice followed his gaze and gave a small smile of recognition and then the three of them turned and walked away towards the station entrance.
"Wow, that was brutal. I had to wait while this lady tried to find one of her bags." .Jimmy said as he stepped off the train with their suitcase. "Finally her husband showed up with it and said she forgot it under her seat. The idiot."
Red was still watching Arthur and company. Jimmy looked too and asked; "Is that Arthur?"
"Yes, and he's with Alice and Bill. You know, from the dinning car?"
"You think they're together?"
"It sure looks like it doesn't it."
"Maybe they just met and just happen to be walking together. That's the way everyone is going, you know."
"Yeah maybe you're right."
They joined the procession of passengers walking towards the exit when Red said; "Notice something else?"
"None of them have any luggage -- just briefcases."
"They travel light." Jimmy laughed.
"Maybe, but did Bill strike you as someone who would carry a briefcase?"
"Well, I guess not. Did they see you?"
"Yes, they all recognized me -- they smiled and waved and then all turned and walked away."
"Well there you go, Red. What's so unusual about any of that?"
"I guess you're right." Red admitted.
"I'm always right." Jimmy boasted.
"Oh yeah, I forgot." Red gave him a playful shove, laughed, and then she said; "It just seems strange to me."
"Oh don't be so paranoid." Jimmy scolded.
That was the last they saw of Arthur, Alice and Bill. For now....
Red's phone rang. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and gave Jimmy a quick look as she answered; "Hello, this is Red."
She listens for a few seconds, As she looks at Jimmy she speaks into the phone; "Okay, we'll be there in a couple minutes." and hangs up.
"Was that him?" Jimmy asks.
"Yeah, he's in a restaurant named "Sander's". He'll be at a table at the far end."
"Why so dramatic? Why didn't he just meet us at the train?"
"How do I know? Ask him yourself?"
It must have been a busy time for trains because there were people everywhere. The train station looked like a shopping mall. There were shops and carrels everywhere. Red and Jimmy wound their way through the crowd.
"There." Red said finally as she pointed to a sign that read; "Sander's Restaurant" up ahead and to the left.
They walked in and a hostess asked; "Table for two?"
"We're meeting someone. He told us he was at a table near the back." Red said as she peered over the hostess' shoulder into the dim light.
"Yes, " She said, "the gentleman told me you'd be coming. Please follow me." and she began walking away.
He stood up from the table when he saw them coming. He waved. Red started running when he saw him. "Grandpa!" she cried. They met and gave each other a big hug. "Red, I'm so glad you came." Jack whispered.
So that bit didn't answer any questions, did it? It just added more. Have I painted myself into a corner here? Where the heck did Grandpa come from -- and why? He just popped into my head when they got off the train.
I just noticed that I need to be more careful about verb tense here. I haven't given it any thought before now but is it better (more powerful) to tell the story in past tense or present? Pick one and stick to it. I have been using past tense, simply because it feels easier to use the word 'said' instead of 'says' or 'is saying'. I think it sounds more normal.