How to explain it?
I have a weird connection to that train.
I'll probably die under that train...
It's like my Spirit Guide, like I'm the Indian Shaman who gets attacked by a bear somewhere out in the woods and that Indian should be dead, but instead he lives on - with the mark of that bear claw permanently imbedded in him, clawed deep into his skin and his spirit.
The Tribes say: "The Bear, she mark you, claim you as her own. She is your Protector now - your Spirit Totem."
And so it goes.
And so it goes...
That's how it was with me and that goddamn train.
I remember the first night I met up with 'er. The five of us - me and my friends - drunk, takin' the shortcut back home from the bar, takin' the short cut down the tracks; we were stumblin' home on a hot summer full moon nite. I was the only girl. Me, Charlie, Bob, Jori-the-Fence, and PJ, laffin', staggerin', swearin', we climb the top of the steep grassy bank, up to the tracks and we hop from railroad tie to railroad tie like we were kids or escapees from the looney bin. Full moon Satyrday night. Sweet early-summer sorta night.
Heavy breathing as we mount the bank and then the crunch-ka-crunch ka-crunch of our steps and the thump thump thump of our boots and our pounding sweaty hearts as we climb the summit and hop on top o' the big wooden ties, skippin' 'cross 'em like they was stepping stones.
An' from afar off we hear 'er, aways in the distance, aways and barely discernable: a faint howl, almost ghostly as that train bleats 'er Banshee warning wail from some distant ghost hell as she gathers 'er strength an' 'er speed to barrel down upon us. She was comin'. Yeah.
It sends a chill right down to me, just right on thru me, hearin that phantom witch's wail. I quiver in anticipation. I was ready for 'er. And the five of us, when we hear that whistle -- growing stronger now as she decides to on close in, the five of us all move as one body, one mind, one spirit: we get puffed up and ready tuff and we charge towards 'er like an army -- all of us, all in one fell swoop, hollering our unity, our brotherhood, our battle cry and bellowing it way out loud over the rooftops of the small and grey MidWestern Town and way up off into the night like we could take that black iron bitch -- and win.
Gravel and big red rocks crunchin' an' slidin' under our gritty brown and dusty boots, the five of us breathing heavy with excitement and exertion and inebriation. Such inebriation! We gather an' run right towards 'er, with that rebel yell urging us on, the five of us, chargin' 'er like we was some god-damn cavalry, headin' into 'er spotlight as it gets brighter an' bigger an' closer, still closer an' she's gunnin' it, man, just RUSHIN' right towards us now at top fuckin' speed. Damn straight. That fuckin' train just blasts at us, man, she just blasts that whistle at us so god damn loud my eardrums feel like they're bleedin'; my whole god-damned head gorged with blood and death and the sound of 'er, filling all of me. She screams 'er dragon-death yell for us to move the fuck out of 'er way and we, drunk and mad -- such madness! -- we go: "train be damned!' -- we just don't care, man, we just don't care -- we run straight for 'er even harder, pumped up with the action and the excitement and the sweat of it. We gun it. -- Hoot n holler as we run towards 'er, scurry towards 'er like we was a pack a crazed fierce mice chargin' a elephant -- we was lemmings goin' over the cliff, and defying her. We were defying her.
Well about a couple a hundred yards or so into it, my buddies they all jump off the tracks -- done. Done with the Game.
Sweaty and laughin' an' swearin', spittin' the ground and cussin' all big n tough, they walk beside the tracks now: done.
But not me. No Sir, not me.
I stagger to a stop right there in the middle of the tracks an' throw my shoulders back real straight, proud like a warrior - Don Quixote chasin' the Windmill.
Xena, Warrior fuckin' Princess, man.
I raise my chin and hold steady like David with his sling-shot -- ready to deliver his beathblow to Goliath -- and I stand there, I just stand there, holdin' my ground as that train barrels down.
I was Joan of fuckin' Arc.
And I was ready.
That Train, she screams an' she screams at me, blood-curdling, makes my heart stop, makes my toe-nails curl an' turn black as iron. It was a scream so long and loud it tears right through me like a gust of wind; it vibrates my bones and the hairs on the back of my neck an' my eardrums was explodin' blood inside my frippin' head.
Damn that sucker's big.
God damn, is it big.
I brace myself an' I clench my fists like I could cow-punch 'er right in 'er cow-catcher or somethin'. I clench my fists hard an' I feel the blood an' the whiskey pump through my veins an' I mutter, mean, bitter and whiskey-drunk; mutter it to her through clenched teeth, low and mean like I mean business:
and then, quieter: "...c'mon."
She blood-bellows at me again and man is she close! Fuckin' god-damn chargin' mad bull she is --- all slick an' black an' muscled hard bitch.
I stand my ground.
The Bitch blasts me with 'er horn an' I can see smoke billowing out of 'er now like the very fog from Hell --- the smoke an' 'er white spotlight an' 'er iron smell --- an' that's all there is in this whole damn god-forsaken world is just 'er dragon smoke breath an' 'er spotlight boring into my brain an' 'er screaming that makes my spleen quiver an' my bones vibrate. It's down to just me n her. That's all there is in this world.
Just me. An' just her. Nothin' else matters.
An' then some force seems to just take ahold of me, way deep down inside a me, way down deep, like maybe from my Lizzard Brain or somethin', an' I bellow back at her: "C'mon you muther fucker!"
then again louder now:
again and again louder and louder:
Steel and Death and Freight Train roar in my head like a hurricane.
I was ready, dammit.
I was fuckin' ready.
And in one fell swoop I feel somethin' yank me away, just yank me right off a those tracks at the exact same moment as that steel demon dragon bitch screams on by, barely missin' me an' catchin' my coat tails in 'er whirlwind gust an' billowing wind an' wind an' wind an' wind all around me. I was in 'er vortex.
But somethin' had swooped down upon me like a Midnight raven and plucked me from the jaws of 'er: I feel myself whisked away, clear of the tracks. An' in the dark an' bein' drunk, I didn't know what the fuck was happening but I was vaguely aware that I was in the arms of a man and I was being carried hurriedly, quickly across those tracks like he was carrying me over the thresh hold on my wedding night...an' he sets me down in the dark next to the tracks an' I hear him whisper to me firmly, gruffly, like a big Bear brother, calmly -- man, so civily like we were taking a stroll in the park on a sunny day -- he goes: "I don't think you want to do that."
Just like that, you see.
I don't think you want to do that.
Just like that. Yeah.
And we watch the dragon slither an' clack on by an' 'er staccato beat is right in time with our pounding sweaty hearts.
An she roars by and she is gone as suddenly as she came in and I wipe the dust and the grit and the whiskey from my eyes and I just look at 'im rather big-eyed -- look at 'im in the MidWest moonlight. It was Charlie.
We've known each other many many life times, I think. And in that moment of absolute madness I realize it. We've known each other in many different forms, many different lifetimes.
And every time, every single frippin' lifetime, that sucker's had my back.
Yeah, fuck, I shoulda been dead, dammit. I shoulda been.
That god-damn cock-sucker saved my frippin' life. Again.
We turn our backs on that train an' we stumble on home -- some weird bond between us now; some unspoken tie -- railroad tie. Or maybe that's just my whiskey thinkin'.
The rest of our friends walked on ahead of us, drunk an' completely oblivious to everything that had just happened. They just didn't have a frippin' clue.
His best friend Bob, Jori-the-Fence, PJ -- they had no fucking idea -- they just stumble on ahead of us, headin' home in inebreated bliss.
Me an' Charlie followed, side by side an' sober an' silent.
All that Summer, we'd all gather an' sit from Charlie's back porch -- we'd sit close in a pow-wow circle an' drink cheap beer, sometimes smoke a little dope, an' we'd jam. The boys would bring their acoustic guitars an' we'd all join in, but mostly it was just them, Charlie an' Bob an' PJ an' Jori-the-Fence, playin' an' singin' their Hobo Folk Music -- songs about that train, ridin' the rails an' hardships an' hob-nobbin with the Devil an' haunted farmhouses an' lost prairie folk -- real homestead sorta stuff, real Bluesy Rock-a-billy R&B Midwest Prairie Music. And we'd look out over Charlie's back porch as that train would roll on by, not 500 yards from his back doorstep.
I'd always get real quiet an' just watch 'er roll on by.
Yes Siree, that Train she know me.
Yes Siree, that Train she sho' do know me.
--- And the music played on through the sweet summer nights.
That train, she'd always give her holler at me as she stream on by, just stream on by -- just to let me know she seen me, done recognize me from that last time, when she coulda killed me, yeah almost killed me, but didn't. I'd just watch -- real quiet.
Later that Summer, me n Charlie got to hangin' pretty tight -- an' when we finally made love it was like that freight train -- just like that god damned freight train.
The whole place seemed to shake with it, windows rattlin', supernatural carnal sound surround us like a long freight train whistle and billowing smoke an' my bones would vibrate an' my spleen quiver, blood boilin' with that ramblin' train of hard steel and gravel and grit and coal and slate being shipped fast and steady 'cross country, rollin' on that track in a sweet sweet steady rythm, Ca-choong Ca-choong Ca-choong, oh yeah clickety-clack clickety-clack clickety-clack rock me rock me rock me faster faster faster faster, harder now, gatherin' speed, full blast now, ready to derail, faster faster, harder harder, just rollin' on powerful through the night. We fucked like a god damned run-away freight train-- there was no stoppin' us. Best damn fuck I ever had.
And every time that train goes by, she calls to me. She marked me that night, marked me as her own.Yes Siree, that Train she know me...
Yes Siree, that Train, she sho' know me...