Random Encounter

The sixty-eight rattles down the tracks filled with tired, tattered humanity on their way home from the workday, or on their way to start the night-shift. The pungent odor of sweat, diesel, and vomit assault the senses of a man sitting by the door. He looks around. The young, well dressed man in the adjoining seat gazes intently at his Kindle, his body language stiff and withdrawn as if saying, “leave me be.”

“What are you reading?”

“What?” The young man looks over at the smiling man wearing torn jeans and a dingy gray shirt. His hair is long with ringlets falling across broad shoulders. His eyes are penetrating. The young man is uncomfortable.

The older man motions toward the Kindle. “What are you reading?”

“Oh.” The young man’s eyes return to his reading. “The Bible.”

“I’m Jewish.”

The young man doesn’t look up. “Maybe you should read the rest of the Scripture.”

“I know the story. What part are you on?”

“The woman at the well.”

“Good story.”

The young man shifts in his seat. “It’s not just a story. It’s the word of God.”

“What do you think is wrong with her?”

The man looks up, confused, but the older man isn’t looking at him. He’s staring across the train car. Following his gaze he sees a young girl dressed provocatively, multiple colors streaking her dirty blonde hair, cheap earrings piercing her lip and nose. She is shivering, though the air is uncomfortably warm in the tightly packed cabin, and scratching at her arm. Even though some are standing in the aisle, there is no one sitting on either side of her.

“She’s a drug addict. Probably needs a fix.”

“Should we help her?”

“She’ll slit your throat and take your wallet. She just wants drugs.”

The strange man stands up and looks down at him. “Skip over to the story about the Samaritan. It’s one of my favorites.”

The older man walks across the car and sits beside the young girl. He speaks to her and she turns away. The young man strains to hear what he is saying, but the noise of the train drowns it out. The man continues to talk and the girl turns. She’s agitated. Her voice rises. He hears her shrill curses, then she breaks into sobs. The man puts his arms around her and she curls into him like a child.

The young man’s vision blurs, his throat tightens. The girl seems to glow with radiant beauty, the only point of color in a train scene from an old black and white Bogart film. He stands, driven to go to her, and immediately she is in his arms. She sobs into his chest and he comforts her. The man in tattered jeans is gone, and the young man gently strokes the girls hair.

“I will stay with you. We’ll get through this.”


David Moore is a freelance writer, literary blogger, and under his pseudonymMaxwell Cynn a best selling author in multiple genres. His psychological techno-thriller The Collective was top of its category on Amazon in 2011 while his cyber-erotic romance CybrGrrl also commanded that spot in the romance category. Several of his short stories, essays, and poems have found publication online, in newspapers, and in national magazines.

David is a classic introvert and Max is his extroverted alter ego – think Peter Parker and Spiderman (but with a southern accent and cowboy boots). As Max, David won his first literary contest, and first Kindle Reader, writing an erotic comedy (he didn’t know that genre existed). He enjoys writing an eclectic mix of topics and genres – essays, poetry, and fiction – and is an avid student of depth psychology, sociology, philosophy, and religion. His favorite series is “In Death” by J.D.Robb, he hates zombies, and his hero is William Shatner.

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