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Jumping Over Trains

Dream | March 12, 2011

Liz and I were vacationing on some imaginary island off the coast of Los Angeles. Surrounding us were green fields and lush verdant mountains. With the sprawl of the city in the distance across the water, she asked me if I liked it here. After living in dry Southern California so many years the vibrant green was very attractive. "I think I could live here."

Packing lunch, towels and books into a stroller we headed down towards the beach and passed through a neighborhood.

Along the way a strange creature engaged us in conversation. He resembled a kangaroo but leaner, darker, and with a shorter nose. Despite having more slender legs, jumping was how he got around, and he bobbed up and down like a cork when standing. At one point he bubbled in a Cajun English or Caribbean Creole patois about how he loved to jump over trains. "It's so much fun. You must try it!" We declined — "I can't jump over a train," I told him — but he persisted. "Yes you can! It's very near here! Only a few minutes!" At last I gave in.

By that time we were in a woody area amidst houses and Liz decided to wait there until we got back. The strange fellow led me through a maze of gated communities pressed close together, until he said we had to jump (him) or climb (me) over a security gate, which I said I wouldn't do. So we went around and eventually tramped along the rounded top of a brick wall between two houses. In front of us were train tracks.

Dusk had seeped in. From the wall we jumped down in the grass with the mound of gray track ballast rising in front and stretching off to infinity on either side. The headlight of a train sparked in the distance, followed by the blare of its horn. I noticed the track was ruined; only traces of the rail and ties remained. The engine's spotlight and its thunder approached quickly. Looking closer at the roadbed I began to see little tracks woven together. When the train finally charged through it was only about six inches high, and the strange animal bounded over it with a childish glee. "Hooray! See?"

More and more trains of different sizes were threading along the trackbed. Passenger trains and freight transports. Amused, I jumped over and landed between them, then sprang back. Then, with a running start I leaped over several trains at once.

A burly police officer suddenly grabbed me and threw me backwards. I landed on the concrete floor of a local jail cell with a fluorescent light blinding me. For a moment I saw them berating the strange fellow I had been with. Then they were on me, accusing, threatening, pushing and yelling in my face. Jumping trains was illegal. Punished with this treatment, evidently. All night they wore me down into a wretched mess cringing in a corner. In the midst of this painful chaos I remembered Liz was still waiting for us to return, perhaps alone in the dark. Then they hauled me up and beat me down again.

In the morning Liz came in and found me in a catatonic state. "Did you have fun jumping over trains?"

Tags   Adventure   Animals   Travel

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