Friday, June 5, 2009

NOT the Orient Express

Cami and Missy, cousins, are boarding a train in Copenhagen bound for Munchen. They select a seat, a comfortably affordable seat despite their state of unemployment. (A seat on an overnight train costs considerably less than a night in a guesthouse.) One seat in a group of six. Six seats in a little room with a glass sliding door and one window. A seat for sitting upright for the next ten and one-half hours.

The remaining four seats quickly fill. Two French men enter together. One Dutch man. And one man from Senegal. All six riders stare out the window in an uncomfortable silence. Not really sure why it is uncomfortable except for the fact that they are all strangers in a very small compartment together. (Perhaps it is the unknown and untimed bodily functions that may cause embarrassment!)


The train begins to slowly depart from the station. Picking up speed as they jut out into the sunset. No showers and no toothbrushing as the journey begins and looks forward to a six o'clock morning arrival.

Cami opens up her backpack to reveal a Carlsberg. Missy opens her backpack to display another Carlsberg. The four men stare at the girls. "What? This is dinner."

Then, one by one, the four men are opening their bags to produce their favorite traveling beverage companion. Two more beers. One bottle of whiskey. And a small bottle of red wine.

None of the them speak the same language. But the bottles of alcohol are speaking the same international language: "Drink and Be Merry".

Picking up speed, the countryside is whizzing by.

The laughing begins as the beverages become communal. The group appears to be playing charades and pictionary as if the shouting makes themselves understood. The alcohol gives each person courage. They are profound. They can miraculously translate the foreign languages. They are DRUNK!

Henning, the Dutch, clearly has an intoxicated advantage. Unknowingly, he enters the train already inebriated.

From the solo window, out in the distance, they see hazy smoke billowing in the fields. The smoke is probably from grass fires. Definitely NOT from a train passing by and smoking up the tracks with immense speed! But Henning, declares with great authority in broken English, "Shit, I thought WE were on the Orient Express!"

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