I was on a stationary train in a car with a large tub with wide ledges, all tiled with 1950s linoleum. The train was an attraction, with vendors in every car. I’m not sure what I did in mine, although it seemed vast and bare. I wanted a whale for the tub — a right whale if nothing else would fit. Yet in my heart I knew that keeping anything other than a few appropriate fishes in the tub would be inhumane.
It was late when the fair ended and I left my car. I found a co-worker and sat behind him, but was afraid to say anything. My head kept falling forward and touching him, which I thought he would perceive as sexual harassment. I left even as he ignored me.
I found my friend, DW, in the first car, which was big, brightly lit, and buzzing. When I saw the three covers of some books she was selling, I wanted them. I could afford only one at $10 apiece, so I chose the colorful birds over fish and one other. It proved to be an elaborate book of cutouts, stickers, and pictures to be colored. Embarrassed, I told her that I planned to use colored pencils.
The plan was for the train to take people to a Carpenters concert. After midnight? I thought. No concert starts after midnight, but this one did. I found myself in what appeared to be a regular car, but it was the front with no engine ahead. I realized it was moving through the grass and weeds at the side of a road, not on tracks. I wondered if it had conventional wheels.
Periodically, people in my car asked me how to exit. They expected the exit to be at the front of the car and didn’t notice it in the middle behind them. Why were they asking about getting off before the train arrived?
We came to a street and tried to merge with traffic, but aggressive drivers kept cutting or trying to cut us off. I noticed that the cars were so close to each other on either side and were covering such a narrow swath when cutting across that the width of a train could not fit between them. Could any of this be real?
How could a concert start after midnight? But I never questioned how it could feature the Carpenters.