Ken Poyner

The Standard of Behavior

You are in the wrong seat on the train.  Leaving the observation car, you got turned around and went one too many cars. Now you are sitting beside a blonde woman who pays no attention to you.  The landscape going past outside is no different from the landscape that had been going by outside your original seat.  It must not be important that you are in the wrong seat.  This seat is going more or less to the same place your original seat is going.  Now, if there were a train wreck, and only this seat or your original seat survived, the switch could become important.  Nothing seems to indicate that you are displaced.  This seat is as serviceable as your earlier seat. You look about for objects that might inform you that someone else until recently had been in this seat.  You stand up and pull down from the overhead bin a small piece of luggage that looks like it could be associated with this seat.  You settle back into the seat and unzip the case, reach in.  There is the feel of interesting things, delicate things, incredible things.  You know nothing of them.  You hand wanders around intimately in the bag.  The woman notices your speculative activity and places a hand on your thigh, as though to calm you.  It seems she thinks she is your wife or sister, an aunt or recognizable travel partner.  It could be important.  Your fingers curl around something brittle in the bag and you cautiously begin to draw it out. You bend slightly to see deeper into the uncomforted bag. There is no resistance.

Ken Poyner has ten books behind him, and he is pushing the manuscript for his eleventh strenuously uphill. He is married to a world-class female powerlifter, and lives additionally with rescue cats and betta fish. He retired as soon as he could from his government job, and now enjoys the thrill of getting lost during short travel trips.