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An Experiment - The Conductor's Cabin

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An Experiment

Before I left Japan I took the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, which is something of a ritual with me, like church on Sunday. (How funny things are here—diners called DINER, hotels called HOTEL, churches called CHURCH, as though one might mistake one for the other if not warned!)

There was a girl on the train, with blue hair. She was very young, and pretty, like those empty-headed things that giggle on the street corners when men of my age walk by. But she was not empty-headed. She was going to church, too. I understood that about her immediately—when you study trains as long as I have, you learn to recognize who is a commuter and who is an aficionado. I showed her my book. I showed her…it’s hard, sitting at an Indiana service area, eating a gluey, salty cheeseburger and sucking on horrible, pre-sweetened tea (called TEA), to be brave. I showed her my hand.

Lightning does not strike. The blue Datsun out there under the gas station lights does not roar to life.

On my hand there is a mark like a map, and that is what I showed to the girl on the train.

Still nothing, oh devil Datsun?

Let us try this. The map is not really a map. It’s a symptom. It shows a city called—ah, there we are. The headlights flicker on, the dog-headed Virgin car crawls by the window. I have gone far enough. That is the word I cannot say.

But every map has a referent.

The girl with blue hair let me fuck her in the little space between train cars. What power books have.

Too personal?

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