The Newbie

You’re on a train. You know this because the bathroom you’re in is too automated to be in a house. It’s too clean-smelling to be on a bus. Far too big for a plane. You struggle to remember the last time you were on a train, you struggle to remember having the free time required. The toilet is stainless steel, and the two buttons on the wall control the water flow, one for in and one for out. Don’t flush the paper towels. You know you’re on a modern train, because in spite of the josteling, it’s quite silent, and that means you’re in one of a handful of countries. You could read the signs to see which, but it doesn’t matter. Though your piss flies out of the bowl like it’s shot into space, you know it’s on ties and not evaporating in the atmosphere or on its way to a treatment facility.

What I mean to say is that when I open the door, there’s no surprise. I don’t need to open the door to know what I will see. But I wish I did – no one likes a know-it-all. I know I don’t.

Not that I’ve been on a train in…I can’t even remember. It’s really neither here nor there. A man is found with bruises around his neck, bleeding in a tub in the basement of a house that’s on fire. A dead woman is on the top floor, choked to death. The man claims he lives there with her and was attacked and lied in the tub to collect the blood loss. There is a suicide note not in his handwriting but bearing his circumstances and name on the kitchen table. This is the situation when the police find him. During trial, you know exactly what he’s in for and what his life will entail once he’s convicted, and you know how to make him a free man. You can see every detail for the next four years of his life, and a good deal of your own.

Ericson told me he hired a girl today, sponsoring her last year. I was in the interview on Friday, she’s a clever one. She says top of her class, but it rarely matters. She may be lying anyway, who cares? If a doctoral student graduates bottom of his class, know what you call him? Doctor. This girl will pass the bar here, you can see it with some people. She’s from UC Berkeley, so I think she may need some prep, just with the state level stuff, but she’s got the hardware, and I said as much. More than I did at that age.

I think there’s no staying here. Every inch of this place, it feels like too strong a heartbeat to cater to the new me, whoever that is. It’s the people, it’s the lying clock, it’s the river of streets. The crowds; everyone wants to be in the same place at the same time. I bare no ill will. My passport is about to expire, I don’t like the idea of renewing it. Not for this anyway. I hear Los Angeles is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place, maybe I will go there. Getting out of here will be no trouble. If I toss a ‘For Sale’ sign out the window, my place will be sold before it hits the ground.

Maybe I’ll go book a ticket right now, and pop over for a visit. California is losing a resident in our new girl, maybe they could use me in place of her. She’s probably going to end up in my office anyway. Why not? It’s far away enough. And I am at my computer.

This weekend, I’m going to take a little trip.


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