A Tale of Town and Country
“Jumpin' Jehosaphat!” shouted Farmer McDougall, dropping his hoe in alarm as the giant steam locomotive careened through the pasture and collided full force with the henhouse before screeching to a halt. Hens squawking, feathers flying in all directions. Such a sight, such destruction, spoiling the idyllic summer day.
Meanwhile, in the vast city that was his home, wealthy man-about-town Lawrence Cranbrook paced the floor of his penthouse apartment, musing about this and that. Suddenly, he turned pale as disturbing and vaguely threatening thoughts intruded uninvited upon his normally rosy view of the world. It seems unlikely that his altered mood was in some enigmatic way tied to the singular event on McDougall's farm, so far away, of which he knew nothing.
There were no rails for miles around, and yet, somehow, a locomotive ended up on McDougall's land, its origin unknown. A real puzzle, that. Folks flocked from miles around to see the wreck smack dab in the middle of the barnyard. Nobody'd been driving the thing, apparently – no sign of an engineer. Would anyone turn up to claim it? Would the mystery of how the locomotive came to be there and to whom it belonged ever be solved?
Later that day, Cranbrook poured himself a glass of whiskey and stood looking out his floor-to-ceiling living room window at the grand cityscape before him. It was nearly dusk. The sinking sun gave an orange tint to fleecy white clouds and caused the tall buildings to cast long shadows on the park lawn far below. It was so quiet, so peaceful. His mood lightened.
Suddenly a giant steam locomotive crashed through the entrance to Cranbrook's apartment and came to rest in the dining room after demolishing a wall and smashing the dining room table to smithereens!
I live in fear, and I know why.