Friday, March 27, 2020

Abandonment - Part 1

Here in Ottawa most places are closed down to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus and people are self-isolating. Do what you should to slow the spread and take care. In the meantime, being at home and all, I thought I'd finish some writing I started back in December and travel back to the weird, electric streets of New Toronto :-) Join me now for some new pulse-pounding adventures of mayhem and streetcars ....

"What makes you think you're dead?"

"For one thing I'm here talking to you, and you jumped in front of a subway car right in front of my eyes."

Talk about fronts. I was putting on a brave one. Yeah, here I was sitting on a nice couch, and across from me, sitting on an equally nice couch, was Zachariah Adams. The same Zachariah Adams who jumped on the track at the Crombie subway station just as the train was pulling in. The same Zachariah Adams who I'm told was scraped off every surface and traumatized me and the driver and all those poor souls on the platform who witnessed his departure. 

"Well, yes, but I'm feelin' better now."

"And you're talking funny. You never used to use contractions. You were strictly a full pronunciation man as I recall."

"I've mellowed."

"Mellowed? Are they adding marijuana smoke to the ventilation system down here?"

"Down here? You think you're dead and in hell too? These are pleasant couches, not boiling cauldrons of sulphur."

Adams shifted his weight a bit and plumped a nearby cushion.

"You're the one who committed suicide and I'm sitting here talking to you. The signs don't look too good to me."

Things in general were starting to look not so good to me.

Things were starting to go dark. 

I had this odd feeling of no longer fully inhabiting my body. I felt like I was contracting into a sphere just behind my eyes and was simply pulling some strings to make my arms and legs move. I was now a puppet master and my body was the puppet.

Way off in the distance I heard a woman scream my name.

She continued with,"Stay with me! You're not leaving me!"

I was confused.

"Adams, your voice is a lot higher than it used to be," I mumbled to the other couch. His deep, Vaderian voice was the first thing I noticed about him when we met. His little body didn't seem like it could produce anything so commanding. It seemed weird that now he sounded like a woman.

"I'm not Adams. He's dead. I'm Leslie."

Leslie? I tried getting up from my couch using all my puppet master skills. Trying to move my arms and legs seemed to help push back the darkness. Why did I think I was lounging on a couch? My clearing eyesight told me I was lying on my back in the middle of some road. The ground was cold. It was night. I could see flashing red, blue and yellow lights nearby. I could hear sirens and honking horns and shouts. My head hurt.

I turned my head to the left and saw Leslie kneeling beside me on the pavement.

I turned my head to the right and saw Adams standing by my side. He looked down at me and said, "You'll be fine. I've a job I need you to do."

I turned my head back to the left and saw that a uniformed man was now kneeling beside Leslie. He looked me in the eye and said, "Sir, I'm with emergency services. May I help you?" I think I said yes.

I turned my head to the right again. Adams was gone.

Part 2 can be found here.



My first attempt at a streetcar / model railroading / '30s-'40s noir pulp novella was Light Ray Blues, which I started back in the fall of 2012, and finished in late summer 2013. Until the E. L. Moore series got going it was the most hit series of posts here at 30Squares. 

There were a lot ideas I wanted to play with in Light Ray Blues, which included: how a single, unforeseen event in a person's hum-drum existence could permanently change their direction in life; show that day-to-day life in a world with more-or-less completely electrified transportation would still be full of crime, deceit, selfishness, and all the usual vices; connect model streetcar layouts with storytelling. And, most importantly, I wanted to have some fun with Chandler-esque dialogue, weird streetcar aficionados, inventing places in New Toronto, and concocting a strange, alternative electrified Canada.

Light Ray Blues, Series 2 didn't get started until the spring of 2015. There was a long publication gap between June 2015 and September 2016 when I picked up the series again and finally finished. 

I'm layout building again and feeling the strange pull back to New Toronto. I don't know where this will go - although I've got 10 instalments in the bag that set up Ed and Leslie in a direction for new adventures - but I figured I couldn't resist the ride.

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