Babylon Cafe    
Memphis TN    


Somewhere in Nashville on my way to Memphis
late summer, 1995.

At the time, I was situated in a tiny valley between a fork of the north/southbound tracks and the east/westbound tracks. I woke up, still resting upright against some old railroad timbers, hearing people speaking in slang up on the westbound tracks, maybe 2-3 people, male; they didn't sound like railroad workers though. I had no idea what time it was because I dozed off several times before, but it was complete darkness, especially in the bush where I remained, now being extra cautious. They continued speaking, yet I couldn't tell about what. I started getting a more creepy feeling; my instincts were telling me to leave this place. I attempted to slowly get into a crouch position , being completely deliberate and aware of every muscle movement. They sounded like they must of been 10-15 feet from me, but my back was facing them, so I could not tell for sure. I was fortunate that I was wearing all dark clothes; I didn't dare turn around, my face would of shone like a beacon. Something made them suspicious anyhow. No one said anything. Suddenly, I hear a lighter being lit. I could sense it was really close, above my head. From the sound of the brush, I could tell he was trying to move a bit closer to maybe get a better view. I was sure he would be able to hear my heart pounding. "Hey!", he exclaims. I'm trembling, yet I don't utter a word, not a sound, nothing. A northbound train slowly pulling out of the yard enters the scene, shining its bright spot in my direction. I see its light pass in front of me through the brush, and I hear the deep rumble of the locomotives pass. It provides somewhat of a distraction, but not quite enough to leave this place. The person with the lighter went back to talk to the others; still standing nearby. Good. Just then another train, one that I've been waiting for, one that will pass near me as well as the ominous men standing near me, arrives, loud in the best way. I finally unlock out of my frozen position, with pack in hand, blaze down a completely dark hill through the bushes and trees, down a gravel road, then out onto the city street. Not looking back, until I feel safe enough to the Greyhound station.
I hate Greyhound!

- wheat