As a boy he’d been obsessed with trains. As an adult very little changed for Vern Easelton. There was only one place Vern had ever wanted to work.
For a year he watched attentively from the learner’s seat. His instructor would drive the shuddering old diesel locomotive on the 50 mile loop from Ganakville to Bolswater and back. He knew what to do. He couldn’t wait to do it himself. He needed a second year said his instructor. Vern was crestfallen but he wasn’t about to give in. Another year. This time surely he thought. There wasn’t to be a third year.
These memories ate away at Vern. He did end up working for the railways. However, the signal box at Whistler’s Curve never featured in his childhood dreams. “A monkey could do this job” Vern used to mutter to himself. Green Lamp at one end. Red lamp at the other. From his perch on the hillside Vern could clearly see both lamps. If he couldn’t both would be set to red. The line wasn’t even that busy. Two trains rarely approached the short stretch of single track at the same time.
They did the week before Christmas, two years back. The 3:29 from Ganakville and the 4:05 to Bolswater.
“Diminished responsibility” his lawyer said.
“Clinical depression” the state psychiatrist proffered.
Murderer the relatives screamed.
The jury agreed with the state. Vern avoided the chair.
“Was this man really insane?” enquired the media as Vern Easelton was led from the courtroom.
“Managed to appear sane enough to keep his job!” responded Joe Ravansaki the line controller from the Handane County railroad company.
To this day Vern still indulges his love of trains. It’s said he has the finest train set in the county. The wardens at the Sanatorium helped him build it. It even includes a painstakingly created replica of Whistler’s Curve. Hasn’t been a crash yet. One Green lamp. One Red lamp. Vern has learned his lesson.
These 328 words are my entry into the Trifecta Week 79 writing challenge.