Fiction: We don’t know where this train is going.
We don’t know where this train is going. We examine the train. We examine the conductor. We examine the ticket. Oh okay, it’s going to Barcelona.
We don’t know why we’re going to Barcelona. We examine the window. We examine our fellow passenger. We examine his bowler hat. We examine the trashcan. We examine the landscape. We search our pockets. Oh okay, here’s our wallet. Oh okay, we’re a private detective. Oh okay, there’s a dossier in our pockets too. Oh okay, we’re looking for a missing man called Leclerk. Sure.
We don’t know why Leclerk is missing. We don’t know who hired us. Oh wait our cellphone is ringing. Oh wait it’s a number we don’t recognize. We answer it. We have a conversation that feels a little forced. We’re aware of not choosing our words well. It is our employer, so we know who that is now. His name is Daniel Steel. We don’t laugh outwardly, but inwardly perhaps we do a little. He wants us to find Leclerk. Okay.
We don’t get a chance to ask Steel why he wants us to find Leclerk. It is urgent though. It is just urgent, it is nothing else really. We search our jacket and find out that we have a gun. Oh. Will we shoot Leclerk? We shouldn’t. We will. Should we?
The train is taking forever to get to Barcelona. Is it? Where did we begin? Where are we now? We try to ask the conductor but we can’t seem to phrase a question he understands. Is he Spanish? Are we not Spanish? Where is a mirror? Would that help?
We get up and walk down the corridor of the train. It is full of nondescript people. Just people. We know how they are, we just fill in the blanks with some features we’ve seen elsewhere. So many of them are reading the newspaper anyway, we can’t see their faces.
Oh on the headlines of the newspaper it says something about Leclerk. Oh reading more closely it seems he is headlining at a club on the Ramblas. Oh that will be useful. Oh he is a singer. It would be nice to hear some songs.
The train still isn’t in Barcelona. Shouldn’t we be in Barcelona by now surely? We try to ask the conductor about Barcelona. No dice. We walk to the dining car and eat a salad. We are suddenly in Barcelona. Festive music plays from somewhere. We get off the train.
We get back on the train. Did we have any luggage? We go back to where we seem to recall our seat being. We remember we have the ticket and check the number. The ticket doesn’t say anything except “ticket to Barcelona”. We take a suitcase we hope is our own. We don’t want to open it on the train because that will look suspicious and we aren’t sure we’d recognize the contents anyway.
We walk off with an air, and only an air, of confidence. Into Barcelona. Where we have never been. Or perhaps we live here?