The train made its stop in Lake Morgan’s passenger terminal, which was just on the outskirts of downtown. Everette Mullen stepped off along with his EDC backpack and rolling suitcase. He was a twenty-five-going-on-twenty-six-year-old divorced blogger living on a disability pension.
While going through the divorce, Everette feverishly repaired his credit and by the time it was finalized, his score was just good enough to buy a first-time house.
He found an affordable, yet well-built shotgun house in the working poor section on Lake Morgan’s southeastern side.
From the passenger terminal, he headed downtown on foot to the only skyscraper in the city.
This skyscraper housed the offices of his banker Barrett Middleton and his real estate agent, Chloe Marina, both of whom attended high school with him several towns to the east of Lake Morgan.
Everette was on his way there to conclude the terms of his new home purchase.
He took the elevator to the tenth of twelve stories where Chloe Marina’s office was located.
Anxiously, he waited for the elevator to stop, and finally, it arrived.
Everette stepped out and read the directory on the wall and located her office. Her office faced the eastern side of the city.
He knocked on the door and she told him to come in.
Chloe was wearing a white blouse, a grey skirt that went shortly above her knees, and brown leather high-heeled shoes. She was bespectacled with Wayfarer glasses.
“Long time no see, Everette,” Chloe said as she hugged him.
“Yes, it’s been too long,” Everette replied.
“I’m so glad that I can sell you a home, if there was anyone more deserving than you, I don’t know of him or her.”
“Thank you, I had some rough patches, but now life is looking up for me,”
“You were always so nice in high school, how did you wind up with that horrible ex-wife of yours?”
“Maybe because I was too nice to acknowledge the red flags she so blatantly flew.”
“Someone good will come along for you, though, just be patient.”
“You’re so welcome and just know, whoever she is, you will make her very happy!”
“You always had a way of making me feel better.”
“I try.” Chloe paused, then continued, “Now I think everything is in order and I can finalize your sale, let me just check with your banker.”
“Sure, do whatever you need.”
Chloe picked up her desk telephone and was connected instantly to Barrett Middleton.
They exchanged a few words, then Chloe hung up with a smile, looked up at Everette, and said, “It’s yours. I’m so happy for you.”
“Thank you so much, you are such a God send!”
“Be sure to go and thank Barrett as well, he secured this great deal for you.”
“I sure will.”
Everette heard a loud thunderous roar and noticed that Chloe’s window had become dark.
“What is going on?” He asked.
“There is some severe weather due here. I thought you of all people would have been aware of something like that.”
“Yes, I used to always monitor the weather scrupulously, but I forgot to and didn’t want to miss this appointment. Furthermore, I lost all of my weather radios among other valuables when my then-wife-now-ex-wife got us evicted, all I was able to keep was what’s in these two bags.”
“Where did you stay in the meantime?”
“With an older friend. He drove me to the train terminal and I took the Sunshine Express here.”
The roaring became stronger.
Everette looked out the window and saw several locomotives and freight cars derailed in the marshaling yard located on Lake Morgan’s industrialized northeast side. A minor tornado had wreaked havoc through the yard and was now headed south into the swamps.
Everette marveled, stuck in time and space.
“You are indeed fascinated by the weather, aren’t you?” Chloe asked.
“Yes. That and trains.” Everette replied.
“I kind of remember you mentioning things about trains a time or two.”
“I had loved them as a young child, but then outgrew them. However around our sophomore year, the interest came back, but then I had a mental breakdown, wound up on disability and it’s just recently that I have been able to dedicate time to my train hobby.”
“Well, you will be happy to know that your house is but a few feet from the mainline.”
“Wow! Thank you!”
“You’re so welcome. Here are your keys.” Chloe handed them to Everette then they embraced once more and he left her office.
Everette then walked to Barrett Middleton’s office and knocked on the door.
His receptionist asked for his name.
Everette provided it.
She picked up the phone and said, “Everette Mullen wants to see you. What should I tell him?” She paused then said, “Okay, I will let him know.” Then she hung up and said, “You can come in.”
Everette walked into Barrett Middleton’s office, which had a corner space occupying the southwest side of the tenth story.
“What’s up, Mullen?”
“I just wanted to thank you for pulling those strings to secure me a great mortgage deal.”
“Sure thing man. You always made us laugh in high school and I found out that you had fallen on hard times when I saw your blog, so, I knew I should help you.”
“You actually read my blog?”
“I sure do. A lot of us from our old school do.”
“Thanks, man. I am honored that you read it.”
“Well, I remember how you used to tell us stories in PE class whenever we weren’t able to do anything, so when I realized that your blog was even better than the stories you made up, I was hooked. All I can say is never stop writing, you truly have a gift.”
Everette looked out the windows to see the sunset peaking through the storm clouds. He also noticed the port situated on Lake Morgan, all the yachts docked in the slips, and the branch line diverging from the main to serve the port.
“You have an amazing view. If I was you I would set up a scanner in this office and have it tune in the Marine Channels.
“I just might do that. Any models you would recommend?”
“Since it’s VHF and FM, just about any scanner in good condition will do. To be honest, some of the older ones outperform the modern ones. Just be sure to turn it off if a lady walks in your office because some of those marine workers have potty mouths.”
“I know man. Remember how we used to drive around and mess with the bridge tenders over the radio?”
“Yes, those were the days. Although things are looking up once again.”
“What did you think of those tornadoes a few minutes ago?”
“They were something else. I think Chloe Marina’s presence calmed me like the Hand of the Lord. She’s such a sweetheart.”
“Yes. She’s awesome. Always was.” Barrett paused, then continued, “Well, I have to get home to the wife and kids, but I am so glad you came to see me. If you need anything else, let me know.”
“I could use a ride to my new house since I am on foot.”
“Sure man. We can cut up like we used to do. It would be a brief break from married life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and children, but I miss being able to get rowdy.”
“I can’t wait.”
“well let’s go. I can also show you around, Lake Morgan. It’s good to have another transplant here from high school.”
Barrett stood up, grabbed his briefcase and sport coat, then walked Everette out of his office and instructed his receptionist to lock up.
Subsequently, they walked to the parking garage and they entered Barrett’s brand new midnight black Chevy Silverado.
Barrett drove Everette around Lake Morgan showing him, first downtown, then the northeast industrialized side, then the lake port, and finally the southeast side. Barrett then parked in front of Everette’s new house.
Everette grabbed his bags and keys, then walked onto his front porch and opened the front door, locking it behind him. He turned the ceiling fan on and laid down on his empty living room floor.
Soon afterward, he took his medication and fell asleep.