The Friday afternoon train was quite empty, a rather pleasant change for the conductor. Fewer tickets to punch meant he could chat up the passengers. He entered the car and looked up and saw a young couple in seats 4A and 4B. He punched the tickets of the few in the back of the car and made his way to the front.
“Good evening you two love birds; where are you headed?”
The young lady blushed.
The young man replied, “To the end of the line. We have reservations at a quaint inn.”
“How nice. These are my two favorite seats. Did you know that?”
She looked up, “You have favorite seats on the train? Can’t you sit anywhere?”
“Well, I guess, but these are my favorite seats.”
The boy cocked his head. “Why these?”
“Well, young man, these are lucky seats. I met my bride in those seats.”
“These exact seats?”
“Let’s say, those seat numbers. They are indeed lucky; they brought 28 years of wedded bliss and three wonderful children. I wish you that kind of good fortune.”
He turned to leave but stopped. “Oh yes, tickets please.”
The Friday late afternoon train was less full than the previous train. He entered the car and smiled as saw passengers in seats 4A and 4B. He was on autopilot as he punched the tickets of the three passengers in the back of the car. He stopped and studied Mom and Dad in the seats trying to corral two irascible towheaded little boys.
He approached as they were getting ‘instructions’ from their mother. “Twins?”
She looked up and blew a strand of wayward hair away from her face. “Yes, 6 years old tomorrow. You want one or both?”
The conductor smiled. “If only I could. Such beautiful children. They remind me of my three girls. Such a handful, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
“Where are you headed?”
Dad straightened up and said, “Grandma’s for a birthday weekend. And a break for my beautiful wife of ten years, also tomorrow.”
The conductor took their tickets and punched them.
“We aren’t disturbing anyone, are we?”
“In those seats? Never. You have a good weekend. And many more anniversaries.”
The Friday early evening train carried only two passengers. An older couple in 4A and 4B.
“Good evening, tickets please.”
He took the tickets and asked, “Where are you two kids headed this fine evening?”
The grey-haired woman laughed. She studied his uniform and read his name tag. “Well, Randolph, we ‘kids’ are going to celebrate our fortieth anniversary. A special dinner and room with a view. We’ve been doing this celebration for years on this date.”
“Well, you sure look happy and the picture of marital bliss. What’s your secret?”
He said, “I let her be in charge.”
She said, “I let him smoke his smelly cigars outside.”
The conductor laughed. “Now, isn’t that a formula for success. You two have a great time.” And then disappeared out of sight.
Randolph took off his conductor’s hat and sat across the table from a baggage handler in the staff area.
“Randolph, tell me there was a mark in the car.”
“Sorry, just a couple of old duffers going to dinner.”
“That’s three trains tonight and nothing worth hitting? Where is Mr. Businessman with expensive luggage and electronics?
“Kids, people with kids, old duffers. We’ll do better next time.”
NT Franklin writes cozy mystery short stories, nostalgia short stories, and Flash Fiction and has been published in Page & Spine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Fiction on the Web, Madswirl, Postcard Shorts, 404 Words, 101 Words, Freedom Fiction, Burrst, Entropy, Alsina Publishing, Fifty-word stories, Dime Show Review, among others.