A guy's walking his dog at the edge of the empty commuter rail parking lot, with his dutifully helmeted daughter on her bike, maybe six. She wends her way to the pay phone at the bottom of the platform, picks it up, and carries on half a conversation with a person unknown. Any boy, of any age, would check the coin return for change and be off. Invidious? Politically incorrect? Stereotype? Nature? Nurture? Your call.
* * *
A guy hands a lost dog flyer to a woman with a cane on the commuter platform. She's repeating his tale to us. Not entirely coherent; choppy. Seems sort of simple. And she's blocking my view of the arriving CSX freight train. By now I've snap-judged her, unfairly dismissive. She's a K9 cop, whose dog latched onto the armed robber she and her partners were chasing. He shot her in the leg. That's not the story I expect.
* * *
Waiting for the Providence train, dude in a hoodie expounds to his Asian pal, who owns a waist-length ponytail: "Weird shit's happening" in the Antarctic Ocean and along every fault line on earth, there will be mega-quakes and thousand-foot tidal waves, the only safe place will be in the air or maybe the moon would be OK, too. I'm hoping Hoodie hasn't reproduced. Then he says it came from the Internet. What a relief.
About Ray Scanlon:
Ray Scanlon. Massachusetts boy. Has grandchildren. Extraordinarily lucky. No MFA. No novel. No extrovert. His work has been published in more than one place. On the web: http://read.oldmanscanlon.com/.