Uploading a story I’d written a few years ago, because I’m stuck with a case of Writers block.
Travelling alone by train can be boring, and its worse when the journey’s long. Like last week. I had to attend a friend’s wedding, and another one bites the dust was the song on my mind all the way. But hey, I wish the guy well. Wait a minute, didn’t tell you who I am did I? Name’s Michael Kane, 5’10’’, medium build, late twenties, got me? Good….
So there I was on the train, overnight journey and boy was I tired. The meeting at the office didn’t go too well. All I wanted was some shut eye but sleep eluded me. The train pulled up at some remote station somewhere at round 2 am. Since it didn’t look like we were going to move for a while, I thought I’d stretch my legs for a bit. I’m sea sick so walking on a moving train makes me rail sick I guess. I had to take a leak so I went in search of the restroom. Curse my luck, when I got out I was just in time to see the train disappearing over the bend. I checked the schedule; the next train was at 6 am. I had to wake the station master to inform him about my luggage. That done I had 4 hours to kill. And not a soul awake………
With nothing better to do, I thought I’d take a nap on a bench. I was just about to settle on one when someone startled me.
“Dude, that’s my bench!”
A quick glance around revealed no one, just a stray black dog who seemed unperturbed by any voice. Logic told me my tired mind was imagining things. I needed sleep.
“You deaf?” that voice again. Now I was beginning to get spooked.
“Who’s there?” I asked
“Don’t tell me you’re blind too. Look around dufus who do you see?”
“No one. Just a dog.”
“Just a dog? Excuse me!!”
“You’re telling me you’re a dog? Hog wash!! Dogs can’t talk!!”
“ True, most dogs can’t talk. I can though”
You must be thinking I’m nuts. I thought so too. But I was tired and convinced I was imagining things. A talking dog?!! That’s rubbish. I just needed sleep. I hear voices and I see a black Labrador. So I make a crazy assumption that the dog can talk.
“What’s with the incredulous look on your face?” asked the lab.
“I ‘m talking to a dog. You think I should be excited about it?”
“Ah! Humans….” sighed the lab. “You talk to a bit of plastic, watch glass screens and yet rubbish the thought of a talking dog. Didn’t you watch cartoons? Don’t the animals speak there? Anyhow, what’s your name?”
“Mi…Michael” The hesitation was for fear of going crazy. “What’s yours?”
“The name’s Bond. James Bond”
Yea right, a dog named Bond. By now I was convinced I had to see a shrink ASAP.
“So this is your bench?” I ask Bond.
“Just my favourite seat Michael. You hungry?”
“Umm, yea a little”. A little was an understatement. I hadn’t had anything since lunch so I was famished. But having scraps from the garbage can wasn’t my idea of a meal.
Bond barked twice, as if to summon someone. A genie appearing wouldn’t have surprised me by now but I was expecting too much. A rat came scampering out of a hole in the wall and bowed before the dog!!
“At your service sire!” squeaked the rat.
Bond turned to me.” Michael, meet Max, better known as the rat that inspired the movie Ratatouille. He was a student of the renowned chef Cristan Klumenthal. He’s worked with Mordan Lamsey as well. Max, Michael’s our guest today. Why don’t you cook him something special?”
“Would you like some lasagne?” squeaked Max
Too stunned to reply, I just nodded yes. First a talking dog, now a rat that cooks. Maybe my mother was right. I’m getting too involved in my work. How else do you explain it? Garfield’s just a comic strip right? Max was off to cook. Bond was staring at me intently. And that was giving me the creeps.
“What?” I asked him.
“Oh, nothing. So Michael, what do you do?” This was one inquisitive dog.
“I’m a journalist. I work for The Times.” Feeling bolder now, I asked Bond, “If you guys can speak, then why not do it every time?”
“Some things in life are not meant to be known my friend”, said Bond with a very regal air. I was about to pester him further when out came Max followed by a lively bunch of rats carrying a platter of mouth-watering dishes. Corn soup for starters, followed by lasagne. And to finish it off, a delectable black forest cake. I won’t lie. Rats may have cooked it but it felt like heaven.
“Wow Max! That was totally out of this world” I gushed like an awe struck ten-year-old.
“Now that we’re watered and fed, it’s time for some entertainment”, declared Bond and led me to an alley behind the station. The place looked packed as if for a concert. From what the cat sitting next to me told me (yes, now a talking cat), the Pussycat Dolls were going to play today. Oh and this group had real pussycats no humans.
The concert was awesome but by now I was really tired. Just as I was about to doze off on my seat, Bond nudges me awake and rushes me back to the station.
“Hurry!! Its 6 already. You’ll miss the next train!!” Bond and Max made sure I made it to the train. Just as it started moving Max scrambled atop Bond’s head and thrust a packet into my hand. “It’s the black forest cake. There was some remaining. Thought you’d want some in case you get hungry again”, said Max. “Thanks Max”, was all I could manage. I soon drifted off to sleep thanks to my weariness. By the time I woke up. The train had reached my station. On checking I found my luggage intact. I realized I’d most probably dreamed up the entire episode. I was on the same train after all so there was no way I’d missed my train. I gathered up my luggage and began to make my out. And that’s when I found the packet containing the black forest cake………