February 1, 2009

The Railroad Crossing
Wayne Scheer

Charles saw the flashing red warning lights of the railroad crossing and instinctively took his foot off the gas pedal of his Toyota Camry.

He saw no train. The road before him and behind him lay empty.

He recalled a comment made by a friend from Scotland. "Americans are the only people who, on a deserted road at midnight, would stop for a red light." He also remembered the words of Fran, his ex-wife. "I fell in love with you because you were safe, but I fell out of love with you for the same reason."

Charles opened his windows and heard nothing but the chirping of cicadas.

He calculated it would take only a second or two to cross the tracks. Even if a train appeared in the distance, he'd have plenty of time to make it to safety.

The road before him and behind him remained empty. He tightened his seat belt and inhaled deeply. Images of Fran raced through his mind.

Charles brought his Camry to a complete stop, as he knew he would.

—Originally appeared in The Green Tricycle, Vol.15, 2004


Wayne Scheer retired from teaching writing and literature in college to follow his own advice and write. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. His work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, The Pedestal, flashquake, Flash Me Magazine, The Internet Review of Books and Eclectica, among others.

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