The Calling Part 11

February 11th, 2011 by Wordsman

Day 7:

The Week of the Swapped Shift was over.  Officer Escobar was free to return to his usual beat.  He had no work-related reason to visit Simon Park Station.  None at all.

To celebrate, he decided to mix up his routine a bit.  Rather than drive to work as he always did, he took the subway.  Because of his lack of familiarity with LCTA (Laragheny County Transit Authority) schedules, he chose to leave extra time for his commute.  Then, partway there, when he realized that he was on pace to arrive obnoxiously early, he got off the train to walk around.  The stop at which he happened to do so was Simon Park.

No one but an omniscient narrator could ever know that he had planned the detour all along.

Despite coming from a different direction than usual, he found the mystery woman’s pillar with ease.  For a moment he thought that, seeing him as a normal commuter rather than an observer in the shadows—in other words, seeing him at all—she would walk up and deliver her trademark line.  But it seemed she was dormant that day.  He found her with her heard drooped, as unaware of the world around her as she had been when he heard her working on her sales pitch.

As he leaned down to check on her, Escobar thought he heard something.  It sounded like, “Guess I’d better get used to being stuck here forever,” but that didn’t make any sense.  Surely no one outside of a folk song could get trapped in the subway.

A little later, the woman opened her eyes, looked around, and spotted a paper bag on the ground next to her.  An understated logo featuring a couple musical notes and some scent lines was printed under the words, “Dough-Re-Mi Café.”  Inside was a muffin.  Officer Escobar did not eat muffins; he considered them health food.  Since this muffin was the size of a boxer’s fist and covered in chocolate chips, caramel, and walnuts, it was about as healthy as cheesecake, but he believed she would appreciate it anyway.  No matter how good they are for you, broccoli and lettuce will not cheer you up.

Like most people who aren’t named Alice and don’t fall down rabbit holes, the woman knew better than to eat food that appears mysteriously.  After all that she had been through, however, something like that hardly qualified as mysterious.  And a hungry person will eat just about anything, even if it says “EAT ME” on it.  So she scarfed it down and was reminded that there is good in the world.

“It’s still too early to give up.”

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