‘Show me your hands!’ A stern voice that could cut through flesh and bone all by itself. A dark helmet. Black goggles. A Kevlar vest. Arms in black leather gloves. A demon.
I never imagined traveling by train could have such terminal consequences. Apart from definitely getting you from A to B. Unless, of course, you suddenly find yourself alone in a cramped compartment, on your way to H. Hell, almost there.
‘Sir, show me your hands. Do it now!’
I did. Nothing in them. Just sticky and sweaty.
‘Empty your pockets.’
I did. Some loose coins. A used tissue.
‘Turn around very slowly’.
‘Clockwise or counterclockwise?’ I tried to be smart.
‘Just turn around, sir. Very slowly.’
I made a full circle and came back face to face with the muzzle of his gun.
‘Is the Desert Eagle cocked?’ Another attempt at playing it cool.
‘Sir, how do you know what I’m holding?’ A big mistake. ‘Sir, how do you know about guns?’
I was shooting people all night. But that would be an even bigger mistake. Hell. Welcome.
‘Sir, you need to tell me something, tell me now.’
Opened my mouth. Shut it. Couldn’t breathe. The air was stale and unbearably hot.
‘Sir, you are sweating. And your face is pale. Is there anything, anything at all, you need to tell us?’
I tried to swallow. Couldn’t. No words came out.
‘Sir, is that your jacket?’ There was only one jacket, thrown carelessly on the seat by the window.
‘Yes. No. I mean…’
‘Is there anything in it? Anything at all?’ The voice was unwavering. The muzzle too.
‘No. Yes. The tickets.’ It was a thin jacket. Clearly nothing bulky under it.
‘Lift it and pass it to me. Very slowly. Use your left hand only. Your left hand only.’
I did. Another pair of leathered hands grabbed it from me. Searched it slowly and methodically.
‘Put it on,’ said the black demon. The black hands threw the jacket back at me.
‘Put it on.’
I did. It was not my size. It was bigger. I got tangled up in it. They moved swiftly.
A moment later I was in a sitting position on the couch. I wasn’t comfortable. My hands were cuffed and under my ass.
The demon was sitting on the opposite couch. The gun was resting on his thigh.
‘Sir, we have a terror alert. Possible bomb threat.’ I’m sure if the goggles hadn’t been on, his laser eyes would’ve cut right through me.
‘A bomb? No way.’
‘You are pale, sweating heavily, hands shaking. Are you nervous? Worried?’
‘I had a rough night, is all’.
‘You have no ID on you, and you’re wearing a large jacket. What was under it?’
‘Nothing. I borrowed it…’
‘Someone gave it to you? Was there a bomb or another device in it?’
‘No, nothing like that.’
‘Why do you have two tickets?’
‘Two tickets? I can explain.’
‘Where is your companion?’
‘So there was another person.’
‘We were alerted that 14 tickets had been sold. But there are only 13 passengers onboard this train.’
‘Where is he? Or is it a she? What does he look like? Is he armed? Is he carrying an explosive device of any sort?’
‘Will you let me explain, for hell sake?’
‘Hell? Sir, this situation is very, very serious.’
‘No. It’s just one big mistake. My two friends and I, we were playing Counter Strike all night.’
‘Counter Strike? You think this is a game?!’ The demon smacked me with his free hand.
‘Counter Strike, yes! We were shooting… playing others, drinking beer. Then it was dawn suddenly. And they remembered they had a train to catch. To Plovdiv. We got a taxi and arrived a minute before departure. They rushed to the train, I rushed to the john. I had my friend’s jacket, I was freezing. I searched for coins and came up with their tickets. I rushed back to the train. It was leaving already. I got on and went searching for them, but only found the conductor. Not very nice. Then I really had to piss. Then I found an empty compartment, and next I know you are here.’
A long moment of silence. God, if I get out of this, I’ll never, ever drink again. I swear. Or play Counter Strike all night.
And then another leather-dressed demon entered.
‘Sergeant, we just confirmed. Apparently, there are 2 Sunday trains to Plovdiv, leaving within a minute of each other. His friends were just arrested for traveling without tickets and throwing up on a conductor.’
A HAPPY END?