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July 08, 1994 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-07-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Frog Macie Free

On a train bound to hell,
there is love,
but no mercy.

STEPHEN DIXON SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

T HE D ETRO IT J EW IS H NE WS

-

40

keeps him up. Smells and cold.
Weight of Olivia. Wailing every
so often from people. Weeping,
coughing. Someone shouting,
someone talking in his sleep. But
Denise and the girls seem to
sleep.
They go on like this for days.
People die. No food except a little
for the children. Olivia and Eva
are always hungry and thirsty
and complain and cry a lot about
it. There's a slit in the door and
someone is usually telling the car
what the weather and scenery are
like. Now it's hilly, now it's flat.
Lots of big clouds in the sky, noth-
ing threatening. Now it's clear
out, now it's sleeting and looks as
if it'll turn to snow.
The train stops at a station. "I
think this is it," the slit-watcher
says. "Lots of lights, barbed wire
and fences. Dogs, soldiers, march-
ing prisoners in stripes who look
like they're on their last leg. I hear
lively band music, but it doesn't
look good."
They stay in the station till
morning. More people have died
but nobody's piling them up.
"Plenty of activity outside," the
slit-watcher says. "Everyone be-
ing lined up, called to attention.
Something's about to happen. A
tall man in a greatcoat and offi-
cer's cap is pointing to the train."
The door suddenly opens and
several men and women outside
start shouting orders. One tells
them to hurry out of the car and
leave all their luggage on the plat-
form, a second says to go to this
or that truck. "What's going to
happen to us?" Denise says in the
car.
"I don't know," Howard says.
"There's air though. Already it
smells better. Soon toilets, water
for drinking and baths."
"Have we really got everything
planned fully?" Denise whispers
to him. "If they tell you to go one



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ILLUSTRATION BY MI CHAEL CRAMPTON

H

e seems to have someone. "Get off me," a woman
lost all his mar- says.
"I'm sorry. I want to get to my
bles. Doesn't
know where he wife and children."
"Stay where you are... Go back
is. Dark, feels
movement, to where you were... You're up-
sounds of movement. A car, but setting everything," other people
no seat, just a rough wood floor say.
"No, now, please, I have to. This
he's on. Bed of a truck, totally en-
closed, moving slowly. A train, might be my last chance before
bouncing like one. Sounding like the train pulls in."
"Just go back to your spot, will
it. How could it be? Not a real
you?
Ah, it's likely already filled
train. What's he, some bum
by
three
others. Someone light a
tramping it in a boxcar? He's sit-
ting on a floor, thick liquid on it candle. Let this man get to his
where one of his hands touches, family. If it's because you don't
back up against someone's back, want to spare a match, I'll loan
feet _squashed against something you."
A candle's lit about 20 feet
like a crate or wall. Where's his
family? He's no bum. Has a home, away. Little he can see. Gets
car, job, wife and kids he lives down, crawls over people.
He gets to Denise. Candle goes
with. They were with him just be-
out.
fore, had to give away the dog,
"There's only room for one
hours, a day, before he woke up.
That's it: was asleep. "Denise? adult here," Denise says, on her
knees. "Olivia's in a space for
Denise?"
"Shh, go back to your snoring," someone half her size. Eva's been
man whose back he's against on my chest. I'll make room some-
how."
says.
"Excuse me," he says, feeling
"What's going on? What is it
for the person next to them.
with this train?"
"And I'm going to tell you? "Could you just give us one or two
Don't worry, it'll all turn out bad. inches?"
"I don't have enough room for
Haha, that's a good one. Sorry, go
to sleep. The ride's for a couple my family or myself,7 a man says.
more days at least. Believe me, "Go back to your place."
"I can't. I'll never get back." He
we're all here who were here,
feels
for Olivia, picks her up,
even the ones who aren't dead yet.
takes
her spot, makes himself
Sorry again. I can't help myself.
I don't know what I'm saying. I small, lays her facedown on him.
He kisses Denise, closes his
don't even know if I said any-
eyes,
head on her shoulder, one
thing. Did I?"
arm
holding
Olivia close, other on
"Denise?" Howard yells.
"What's with this guy?" some- Eva's back. "If there was only
one else says. "Hey, pipe down." something I could do for us."
"Like what?"
"We're over here," she says. "Di-
"Like everything."
rectly across the car from you.
"Right now there's nothing.
The girls are all right, sleeping
now. Rest, dear. Take care of Just stay close. Stay with us till
yourself. In the morning, come the end. Wake up when I ask you.
Help me keep the girls in a good
over."
He gets up, feeling bodies with mood. But now, sleep."
Snoring of a woman close by
his hands and feet, stepping on

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