London Tube


“Deep breath,” the Generalissima said.

The Generalissimo inhaled. I stood to the side, watching. I felt the wind pick up as the District Line came our way. The warm night air pushed past us until the train screeched by. Free newspapers tumbled along the platform, collecting in corners and under benches.

The train stopped. The doors parted. A man in his twenties stepped out. I stepped in. The Capitáns followed.

“You can do this,” the Generalissima said.

He didn’t budge.

“Need help?” I said.

“No! I alone can convince him that the time is right!”

“Okay, but the doors are about to—”

They started to close.

“Get in!” she screamed.

The Generalissimo snapped out of it. They hopped in as the doors tried to pinch them. He looked around. We were in the first car, near the front. The Generalissimo turned and marched toward the door separating the rabble from the man at the controls. We lurched forward. He stopped at the door and wrapped his knuckles against the glass.

“It is I! The Generalissimo! I am here to test this conveyance!”

The engineer looked at him, mouth ajar.

“Sir?” I said. The Generalissimo’s head inclined my way, ever so slightly. “We aren’t testing the train.”

“But…but…the Generalissima said…”

I looked at his counterpart. She looked anywhere but at me.

“That’s how you’ve been convincing him to get on the trains?” I said. “You said he could take one for a spin?”

She kept avoiding my gaze. Even the Generalissimo couldn’t believe it.

“But…but…” he kept saying. Then he lost it. The tears that dripped of the tips of his mustache hairs slapped the floor.

This was a problem. She’d lied to him before, but never to get him to overcome one of his irrational fears. Like his fear of consonants. His fear of helium balloons. His fear of small children carrying ice cream cones.

“But you said…”

I sighed. I stepped around the Generalissimo and knocked on the glass. The engineer turned around.

“Can my friend hit one of the buttons?” I asked. I had to yell for him to hear me over the racket.

He shook his head, then got back to driving the train.

Damn. There was only one thing I could do to fix this. I didn’t want to do it. Had vowed to never allow it. I wasn’t even sure it was possible. But there was a dealership around the corner. They only sold “gently used” cars, but that would have to do.

“Sir, how about, when we get some free time in a day or two, we test drive a car. Maybe a Mini Clubman

He stood a little straighter and wiped down his mustache. “Indeed?”

I closed my eyes. “Indeed.”


“Indeed!” the others shouted.

“I told you he’d say yes!” the Generalissima said.

“Indeed!” the Generalissimo said. “Did you see the tears?! They were real! I thought of the time you spilled nacho cheese on my whip! I liked that whip!”

“Indeed!” la Capitán said.

We all looked at her.

“What?!” she said. “We dated! Once!”

“Oh good God,” I moaned.

“Indeed!” el Capitán said. He laughed. “How do you think we met?!”


“Ha! He is funny!” He slapped me on the back hard enough to make me tumble to the floor. He helped me back up, then whispered in my ear. “I bought him that whip.”

I sat on one of the blue fabric seats. Cradled my head in my hands. This evening would be forever filed under the heading, “Too Much Information.”

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