Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Hostage Hoax Holds Up Folks

That's one and a half entendres, right there.

In breathless, '24' style, here is why I have been sitting in a train station for several hours.

1:49 ... The #59 to New Orleans departs McComb, Louisiana 59 minutes late.
2:05 ... The #58 to Chicago leaves New Orleans 16 minutes late.
3:00 ... A call comes in to an Amtrak office. The voice is breathy, nervous. He/she/it/they/all-them/ev'body is being held hostage onboard the #59 to New Orleans.
3:01 ... Amtrak calls the police.
3:02 ... The police call their SWAT team.
3:03 ... The nation prepares to be shocked, stunned, and outraged. Someone will forget to think of the children, and will be exhorted shrilly to do so.
3:04 ... The #59 to New Orleans is halted in Hammond, Louisiana by the police, a SWAT team, the local PTA, and a life-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex constructed hastily of papier-mâché. A fight breaks out over whether it should be called Freedom Mache.
3:06 ... The #58 to Chicago, running late, may not pass the affected single-track section in Louisiana. It is halted.
4:12 ... A cursory check of the passenger list by all the guards and all the horses and the station-master's daughters reveals the call to be utterly baseless.
4:23 ... Forms are signed and counter-signed in triplicate. 173 automatic weapons are unchambered and reholstered.
4:30 ... The #59 continues to New Orleans unmolested.
5:27 ... The #58 is molested for 57 minutes and continues to Chicago 162 minutes late.

All of this means that I may be in Chicago tomorrow for less than three hours before catching an 18hr train to Denver. So it's either an architecture museum or a deep-dish pizza pie. Damn you, cruel fate!

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