Yesterday the train I was on hit a car.
Or the car t-boned the train. This was how the incident was described by Amtrak.
I am a fearful flyer. I'm often anxious while riding in/driving a car. I like trains. They don't worry me. Even so, I always choose the middle car. Yesterday I was riding in the snack bar car in the dead middle of the train. The car struck just a few feet from where I was sitting. The train lurched and wobbled, the sound of something not meant to be there grinding beneath its wheels. I yelled. The guy standing near the door, waiting to get off yelled even louder. "I think we just hit a car," he said. The snack bar attendant opined that it was something smaller. He was wrong.
The sirens were screaming when we stopped. Just outside the door to the train car a piece of smashed metal sprouted from the train like a deformed wing.
No one on the train was hurt. No one informed us about the person or persons in the car. The sheriff came to investigate. Amtrak employees in the blue trousers and white shirts sledgehammered and crowbarred, trying to remove the piece of car that had welded itself to the train. As time passed it became obvious that I'd miss the event at the bookstore where I was supposed to read my piece recently published in a special post-election anthology put out by the Rattling Wall and Pen Center USA. I considered showing up an hour late and maybe catching a few of the fabulous readers, but the whacking of the undercarriage of the train by the determined man with the sledgehammer was not exactly a confidence builder, so I caught the train back home.
I searched the news all day, wondering about the car. There was nothing but this tweet from Amtrak:
ALERT: Train 784 now released by police following investigation of vehicle incident. Now 1hr 43 mins late.
That seems like good news. No one died.
Here's the link if you'd like buy the anthology. It looks pretty fabulous.