Fiction from Web del Sol


Michael Martone

      I saw the rock, saw the boy who threw it. I saw it hit the window next to the seat in front of me. Saw the window shatter instantly. Saw that now I couldn't see through the window anymore.
      And we were gone out of Warsaw on the Broadway Limited. We hadn't stopped at Warsaw but gone through at sixty miles an hour. I saw the boy and the rock and his friends around him on their bicycles, and I imagined our train rocking the town, pushing the sound of the horn ahead along the tracks. Not stopping.
      Now the whole car, everyone, is talking and pointing at the window. There is a high-pitched whistle. The light is different in the window since the windows are tinted. And the guy who sits there has just come back from the club car, dumb with luck, not drunk enough yet. I could have been sitting there, he says again. Everyone is talking about the kid with the rock and the window and outside now are corn fields and a few houses and the highway far away.
      The conductor is looking out the rear door of this last car, and it looks like he is shaving. He is not shaving but whispering into a radio while he looks back at the tracks coming together.
      I saw the rock, saw the boy, I tell him. He says that it's not the first time. Called someone who'll call the police. He's an old man. He's seen it all. He can't understand it.
      I saw the rock float along with us at our speed, saw it barely catch up to us. I saw the boys on the bikes holding up their arms, jubilant, already tearing away from the place. The window went white.
      He waited. Waited for the engines and the baggage cars, the coaches, the dome, the sleepers, the diner, the cafe. He waited, the rock already in his hand. More sleepers, more coaches, this last car. He waits, sees the people in the windows. Something so big and so much metal. Silver and blue. His whole town shaking. One long horn. He can't hear his friends egging him on. This rock won't stop a thing, won't slow nothing down. He throws it, and it's gone.

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