The train was there again, on the sidetrack, by the water crane. Steam escaped with sighs of relief. Molly watched from her perch as the fireman loaded the tender’s water tanks. Coal-black clouds swirled when the fuel bunker filled.
She knew the fireman would soon disappear into the locomotive’s cab to stoke the firebox. Thick black smoke would curl idly through the fire tubes, into the smokebox, escaping through the stack. One long whistle by the engineer meant the boiler was back to pressure, followed by an enormous belch of steam and smoke and cinders, and the train would move.
It would build speed again, each steamy huff arriving sooner than the last, and Molly would wonder, as she always did, where the train was going. She would try to imagine what that place was like, how it felt to be on the train, going somewhere other than Clay County. She’d been to Iola, and to Louisville, the County seat. But she knew there was more than Clay County.
The train disappeared over the horizon, the only reminder a ragged stripe of dark grey puffs swirling in the summer breeze. Molly sat while her imagination finished its journey to all the places she knew she would never see. She roused, slowly returning to Clay County, and started the long walk from the hill overlooking the railroad tracks to the chores that waited for her on the family farm. She’d come to the hill tomorrow, to let her imagination travel again.
[Author’s note: this is a stab at short fiction, it came in at 250 words. Feedback?]
We moved our clocks ahead this morning, those that didn’t move by themselves. Here in North America, in the areas that do so, we began observing Daylight Savings Time. Many areas around the globe have adopted this shift in time. Not all agree on when, or if, it should happen, or on how long it should last. I’m certain that there are some peoples in some regions of the world for whom Daylight Savings Time comes and goes unnoticed.
My phone knew what to do, probably from the nearby cell tower. So did the little wireless weather station, the one that talks to the temperature sensors installed outside the kitchen window and in the garage. I think the satellite network told it when. I forgot to tell the coffee maker, so it wasn’t ready when the rest of us were this morning. Maybe I should tell it about the satellites.
Oh joy! We are chest deep in that cesspool that is American electoral politics! It’s a biennial event, thanks to the two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives, which seems to go on continuously, or at least without end, whichever seems worst. And every fourth year we have that Special Kind of Hell, the Presidential year! That’s where we are right now.
And on every social media platform you can find tweet after post after page of what some in this country consider political discourse. Why, the spittle just flies off of the screen from some of them! It seems like all that’s required to be a political pundit these days is the ability to string together some superlatives, a few exaggerations, and maybe some generalizations, while maligning the character of someone you disagree with. What could be easier?
I think we all have too many objects. In fact, I object to how many objects I can see just sitting here at my desk. Why do I need all these objects? Some of them I haven’t touched in years. But they’re still here, cluttering up the place. Maybe I should go through them to see if I can get rid of some of them.
There’s the PC, of course, and the monitor, mouse and keyboard, and speakers. Those are at least immediately useful. Not so much later, after I finish this. But I suppose I’ll need them tomorrow, so I probably don’t want to get rid of those objects. I object to all the wires that a PC seems to attract.