The Train Never Stopped in Delphi

There’s the train whistle…,he said…,every mornin’ ’round this time while the moon is still up in the sky that thing comes through…,he lit a Camel and took a swig of coffee…offered one to his son-in-law sittin’ in the pickup truck with him…he shook his head and the train whistled again…,that train just comes through town…it never stops…,he rolled down his window and blew smoke out into the cool night air…,just rolls through…never stops…

And it was true…trains never stopped there in Delphi…they just slowed down a little bit…enough for men from other towns ‘cross the nation to jump out of boxcars and roll down the hill to the bottom…nothin’ on ’em but a few shirts…pants and maybe a change of underwear…some carried their belongings in book bags while others simply tied off plastic grocery sacks…the train kept rattlin’ through town…pickin’ up speed as if it knew the bums had already made their landing…men sat down on the river bank waitin’ for the sun…waitin’ for the sun…they plotted their next move…

Some would head down town and check in at the mission while others would look for day labor temp places to sign up for work…stay a week and hop a train again once they had a few dollars in their pockets…blacks…whites…Mexicans… all men tryin to make a buck somehow…workin’ odd jobs and panhandlin’ in the streets of Delphi…takin’ lunch money from kids at the skateboard park…an easy touch…tellin’ ’em stories of L.A. …New York…Chi-Town…a dollar here a dollar there…the train never stopped in Delphi…

The train whistled again as the two men in the pickup rolled up the windows and opened their doors…each carryin’ a small hand gun…locked and loaded…lookin’ for one man in particular…a big man who came through town a few years back…they say they always return to the scene of the crime…every mornin’ they’d go down to the river bank lookin’ for this big man with sandy blonde hair and a toothless smile…that’s how he was described to ’em…that’s what his daughter had said…now days she stayed at home balled up in a fetal position…scared to leave the house…momma would tend to her as best she could…but she just kept mumblin’ to herself about a man with sandy blonde hair fine as silk beatin’ her up real bad…she’d cry throughout the night…a silent cry…she’d never be the same…

And the father and the son-in-law would walk up and down the river lookin’ for this man…listenin’ to hear if there was any talk of him…no-one said a word…just shook their heads when they were asked ’bout him…just shook their heads…no-one had seen him or heard of him…it’s like he was a ghost…just some angry spirit who jumped off the train to commit a horrible act…a horrible act…they’d never catch him…the train never stopped in Delphi…

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