Old man in lion cage. Killed. Weapon unknown.

Canaries-for-sale lady. Frightened.

Pietro Massinello. In jail.

Jimmy. Drowned in bathtub.

Sam. Dead from alcohol given him by someone.


With an addition made in the last few hours.


Other new and possible victims:

Henry, the blind man.

Annie Oakley, the rifle lady.

A. L. Shrank, the fraudulent psychiatrist.

John Wilkes Hopwood.

Constance Rattigan.

Mr. Shapeshade.

With an addition. No, cross him out.


Crumley turned the list upside down and backward, eyeing it, rereading the names.

“That’s quite a menagerie you got there, buster. How come I’m not in your sideshow?”

“There’s something broken about all those people. You? You got your own self-starter.”

“Just since I met you, kid.” Crumley stopped and turned red. “Christ, I’m getting soft. How come you put yourself on the list?”

“I’m scared gutless.”

“Sure, but you got a self-starter, too, and it works. According to your logic, that should protect you. As for those others? They’re so busy running away fast they’ll run off cliffs.”

Crumley turned the list upside down again, refusing to meet my gaze, and read the names out loud.

I stopped him.


“Well, what?” he said.

“It’s time,” I said. “Hypnotize me, Crum. Elmo, in the name of the sweet Lord, put me under.”

“Jesus,” said Crumley.

“You’ve got to do it, now, tonight. You owe it to me.”

“Jesus. Okay, okay. Sit down. Lie down. Do I turn out the lights? God, give me hard liquor!”

I ran to fetch chairs and put them one behind the other.

“This is the big train at night,” I said. “I sit here. You sit behind.”

I ran to the kitchen and brought Crumley a slug of whiskey. “You got to smell like he smelled.”

“For this relief, much thanks.” Crumley belted it down and shut his eyes. “This is the dumbest damn thing I have ever done, ever.”

“Shut up and drink.”

He finished a second one. I sat. Then I remembered and jumped to put on Crumley’s African storm record. It began to rain all through the house, all around the big red train. I turned down the lights. “There. Perfect.”

“Shut your yap and shut your eyes,” said Crumley. “God, I don’t know how to do this.”

“Sh. Gently,” I said.

“Sh, it is. Quiet. Okay, kid. Go to sleep.”

I listened closely and carefully.

“Easy does it,” drawled Crumley, behind me on the train in the night in the rain. “Serenity. Quiet. Lazy. Easy. Around the curves softly. Through the rain, quietly.”

He was getting into the rhythm of it and, I could tell from his voice, beginning to enjoy.

“Easy. Slow. Quiet. Long after midnight. Rain, soft rain,” whispered Crumley. “Where are you, kid?”

“Asleep,” I said drowsily.

“Asleep and traveling. Traveling and asleep,” he murmured. “Are you on the train, kid?”

“Train,” I murmured. “Train. Rain. Night.”

“That’s it. Stay there. Move. On the straightaway through Culver City, past the studios, late, no one on the train but you and…someone.”

“Someone,” I whispered.

“Someone who’s been drinking.”

“Drinking,” I mourned.

“Swaying, swaying, talking, talking, muttering, whispering. You hear him, son?”

“Hear, talk, murmur, mutter, talk,” I said quietly.

And the train moved down the night through dark storm and I was there, a good subject well transported and asleep but hearing, waiting, swaying, eyes shut, head down, hands numb on my knees. . . .

“You hear his voice, son?”


“Smell his breath?”


“Raining harder now.”




“You’re underwater on the train, there’s so much rain and someone swaying behind you, behind you, moaning, speaking, whispering.”


“Can you hear what he says?”


“Deeper, slower, going, moving, swaying. Hear his voice?”


“What’s he say?”

“He says…”

“What’s he say?”


“Deeper, sleeping. Listen.”

His breath fanned my neck, warm with alcohol.

“What, what?”

“He says…”

The train screamed around an iron bend in my head. Sparks flew. There was a clap of thunder.

. “Gah!” I shrieked. And “Gah!” and a final “Gah!”

I writhed in my chair in my panic to escape that maniac breath, the flaming alcohol beast. And something else I had forgotten. But it was back now and it blasted my face, my brow, my nose.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106

Categories: Bradbury, Ray