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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2310571
The train ride to Waukegan holds some surprises for this party-goer.
Running Late
WC 297

I am running behind. I left work later than I had planned, and on my way to the train station, I stopped at Kroger’s for a birthday balloon. There was one left, partially deflated. The invitation said, “No gifts”, but I couldn't arrive empty-handed, so I grabbed the orphan.

Balloon in hand, I wait at the platform's edge for my train, which is running late. Out of the corner of my left eye, I see this man inching his way toward me. I noticed him earlier in the street when I left the grocery store. Quite cute, hunky, tall…

“Your balloon is leaking,” he says.

His voice is as smooth as whipped butter.

“I know,” I say, lamely.

“We're pretty close to the edge. One push and a person could end up on the third rail,” he says.

The alarm bells in my head start clanging. I inch to the right and backward.

“Only kidding!” He laughs.

The train stops, and I hurry through the doors, balloon in hand, heart pounding. He's right behind me; he sits down beside me.

“May I?” he asks after the fact. “Sorry about that. It's my weird sense of humor.”

He scoots closer.

“Who would want to end a pretty little thing like you?”

I slide toward the window, my sweaty right cheek making an imprint on the glass. I glance over and notice the 357 tucked in his belt.

The train comes to a halt at the Waukegan stop. I vault over him and out the door. It closes before he can get to it.

Deflated balloon in hand, I am past being fashionably late. Oh well, better late than never…which was a distinct possibility.

I will be taking an Uber home.
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