The train ride started out OK. I read a little bit, dozed a little bit. At about 5:15 I undozed. The train was crawling into the station - Hicksville, to be exact. The conductor announced that a train had hit a car outside Sayville and we were probably going to terminate at Babylon. We were stopping at Hicksville so that people could get off and take the train to Ronkonkoma if they wanted.
We sat at Hicksville for 10 minutes or so, helpfully waiting for people to figure out whether they wanted to get off or not. One or two people did. Then we continued the long slog to Babylon.
The woman across the aisle from me was headed for East Hampton, but after the train left Hicksville she called her aunt and decided to go to Huntington instead. "The announcement said you could catch the train from Babylon to Huntington, didn't it?" Well, not exactly.
As we approached Babylon, they announced that the westbound train had hit a tractor-trailer. The train pulled into Babylon and disgorged its load of weary commuters. The station was packed with people trying to figure out how to get to Speonk. They announced that buses would be available within an hour. Some of us dashed over to the taxi stand.
We were all going to Bay Shore, so as a public service the Lindy's dispatcher would only charge us $10 a person. Four of us crowded into a cab and took off. Not that bad, we'd only be 20 or 30 minutes late.
Halfway down Union Blvd, our driver started to swerve around like he'd had too much Robitussin. Then, suddenly, THUMP thump-thump-thump. Thump. We pulled over with a flat tire. I announced that I was going to walk the rest of the way. The driver urged me to sit with him for half an hour or so until help came. I asked him how much it was for the drive to where we were. "Nine dollars." I tossed him two fives and got out. The other passengers decided to come with me.
Union Blvd at night is pretty dark. We took turns looking for cougars and wolves. We were only about 20 minutes by foot from the station, so we didn't have to take turns sleeping.
Finally, the station was within sight. Like a shining gem, sparkling in Bay Shore's famed convenience store district, the station beckoned one and all. It was gaily festooned with Christmas wreaths and vagrants. And the sound of an eastbound train providing restored service. MOTHERF______________________________
FRIDAY UPDATE: The cab is still sitting, untouched, on Union. It hung out there overnight.