Frequent Passengers of the Triple-Zero Trolley

Frequent Passengers of the Triple-Zero Trolley

Only when you stand on this spot are you able to see the Ninety-Four Trolley for what it really is: a repeating loop hole where the other world seems to depart the very fabric of our laws of physics. To get there, you cannot wear rubber soles nor blink your eyes...for at least a minute and twenty. Only when you stand in this spot will you feel everything the wheels do: pebbles, aspects of garbage, even the nicks in the tracks. There is something else about this particular Trolley: it has a 'duplicity'. It is high-time I recorded some of this.  For now, I am tuckedaway safely in my ivory tower of a basement apartment which is in the bowels of the so-called 'artist's district' {as it is being pedaled lately}. The company I keep consists merely of my thoughts and an especially fragrant orchid. Though I am free to write, I am afraid I may alert my double ...the one who follows. You know when you are alone and it is so quiet that to touch ink to paper would create a sound...a sound...though too soft for the aggressive ear drum, it is loud enough to shatter the delicate threshold that binds us unto the beyond. I could turn to my trusty gramophone to drown it out but I fear it's own ghostly properties may betray me somehow, hypnotizing me into distraction- away from writing.

Framed Ghost Flowers
Framed Ghost Flowers

So I shall negotiate this pool of silence with the deafening sound of my pen's nub scratching the parchment. Presently, the sound of a mosquito would make me jump. Alas, If no one hears from me... May they find this entry and- well the best I could hope for is they- 'comprehend my descriptions of the other-worldly'. I am told the most basic human fear is to be forgotten- buried in an unmarked grave somewhere. To be swallowed up by a better version the world made of us. Like somehow the world found you out and has sent a replacement. I have seen my replacement.

Well anyhow, let's begin shall we:

It was the middle of the choleric Summer. Fires raged about the far off countryside. I, being too hungover to care,  sat within the Ninety-Four' and contemplated the macabre. I was hurting. I had succumbed to the urgings of so-called friends to toss a few back several hours ago at our oft haunted pub which put events round about the night prior. My hair was now wet with a perspiration- the kind that stings as the toxins wander out of the pores. My temples were full of something ungodly. To rest my head on the cool window would have been relieving if not for the mercilessly bumpy ride.

I didn't realize I had fallen asleep until I was awakened by someone. The culprit was a large man nudging me to move over 'a little' so that he might have the seat next to me. Now never mind the fact that I had been awakened by an individual who had a request with 'a little' in it- what really got my goat about this man...

I should pause for a minute to say that upon the writing of 'A large man', I heard something in the kitchen- like the cupboard closing. I sat in dread for about 5 minutes before deciding to go and meet the noise maker head on. I then commenced a search of the kitchen as my confidence in it's being devoid of any intruder grew with each additional discovery of supporting evidence. Upon brewing some coffee, I have returned. Let's continue...

Only his eyes I could see. There was something familiar about them. His face was covered with a repeatedly wrapped heavy scarf. He had a wide brimmed hat, a heavy coat, and leather gloves. I became irate, hearing him talk. He sounded as though he was not happy about his scarf covering his mouth. It was a frustrating nuance about his otherwise creepy countenance.

I am very sorry to do this again- I feel compelled to also record the events that happen as I write these events. The light bulb in my living area, for instance, has started flickering since I began talking about the man who woke me. I have since turned off the light, lit a candle and resumed. I thought I spied the orchid russling but when I looked directly at it, it maintained a corpse-like stillness.

So to continue, this man, though imposing enough, also had on his shoulder, a Corvus Bird perched. The Corvus was squawking affirmations to everything it's master said to me though they were supported by the master in a language only this unsightly pair could decipher. This was an experience which would on the one hand, wake a person bolt upright and yet be confusing to the point of disorientation. However, looking back on it you might say I was becoming oriented to the world of the Other Trolley. At this point, to my horror, the words, 'Triple-Zero Trolley' were slithering from the Corvus's beak.


Sorry again- The candle seems to have extinguished itself. Not sure what to do. I do not know where my resolve went but it presently cannot be found. There may be trickery in the shadows but I would swear that orchid is moving. Perhaps I will pick this up in the morning. Yes. That is best. Goodnight.


Well I have tried to sleep but I keep hearing that damned bird talking in my rememory. I'd rather take my chances on paper then drift off tonight. Seeing the sunrise tonight feels most appealing. To continue...

The Corvus Bird had spoken. As I stared wondering at what those words meant, the ominously large man's eyes were met with the veil of warmth- as if he realized there was so much in the world I still had to learn, or that he had the worst news to tell me-- a look of pity.

It was a fleeting instant. I am sad it ended. The driver yelled out my name, "Maurice Cornelis!! Tis your time and stop!" I stood up aghast that he knew that information but as I looked back to the larger man- the eyes now looked upon me with a hollowed expression. The Corvus Bird spoke again. "This is not a dream, my boy." I realized then that it was the man who was the pet. "Don't let me catch ye asleep on this Trolley d'ye hear?" I nodded and grasped desperately for a spot on the railing, which added to my hopeless panic and I desperately negotiated my way through endless forest of perplexed straphangers. I was next on the cobblestone, watching the Trolley cart away like a wild animal.

Things feel very quiet in my dwellings right now. I shall continue writing. I love this time of night. When I stay up this late I don't want to retire to sleep.

It was hard to take the Trolley again after the Corvus Bird's warning. I took to taxi services but that proved too expensive. I hitchhiked until I found a fellow employee with a car who lived a mile from me but she stopped working there. I was then Compelled to walk. After three days of that, I began to find the thought of the Large man and his ebony-feathered master perhaps taking the day off from the Triple Zero to be tempting beyond reason. On a blustery February Morning, I dawned my Corvus-Battle Armor: the thickest woolen Scarf wound many times about my face. A broad rimmed hat so as to deter any claws or beak from my eyes, a large coat and a pair of leather gloves.

As luck would have it, I never found myself aboard the sinister Triple-Zero Trolley but infact merely on the Ninety-Four Trolley with not a single questionable rider and a staunch refusal to take any available seat. I will say this: for once I was more cognizant of the ride. My thoughts moved throughout the bustling cityscape: apartmentation stacked upon itself, peasants with hanging laundry, mothers hoisting up wicker with their window pulleys, leaning out on their balconies smoking cigarettes. It was as though I became aware of the blur that our lives become. Living in one place then another town, then a city, then another country or a dozen different professions in one lifetime without paying any mind to how I got to those places. Always thinking of the next destination aren't we.

I took in the scenery and the peculiar individuals haunting the Ninety-Four, unique in their own ways. I caressed my new found appreciation for all smells, sights, and things in motion. Like some twisted reincarnation of Dr.Faustus, I grew to love the journey and dread the arrival. I became obsessed with this particular Trolley. Dreading the return of the Triple-Zero turned to a hope- a thrill I desperately desired now. It never came. I finally tried sleeping on the Trolley. Nothing. Apparently the Corvus and it's Pet were no longer frequenting this Trolley...that or I saw them by accident.

Then one fine morning at about half passed seven, the Ninety-Four was overly crowded. The only place left to stand was in front of the side door in the Trolley's mid-section. When I grasped the rail, the Trolley stopped so quick that the crowd gasped. The little man in front of me lurched backwards, knocking into me, dropping his briefcase, which startled a beautiful red haired woman holding a potted orchid who fell sideways into a crone with a small dog whose barking was lost in the growing chaos of the befuddled and collapsing passengers in the back, no doubt experiencing the same mundane tragedy that is an unpredictable stop on a daily commute.

Always holding the railing with one hand, I helped the little man back to his feet. As he turned and thanked me, I started back in terror. His eyes were black and... he had a beak. Letting go of the rail, I turned to pound on the side door but as I looked from without the Trolley's windows it was dark... it was night. The lamps were lit, and the activity was of people wearing evening attire. I turned back to find the little man collapsing in a fit. I stood there gaping dumbfounded. Tufts of black feathers began falling from underneath his small hat. He got thinner before me. He writhed like a snake underneath his clothes. The Trolley was becoming icey-cold as the Corvus Bird rose up to a floating mad frenzy in front of me. At this time, I finally noticed the other passengers around us. They were sitting and standing like normal passengers but all stared not at the newly metamorphosed Corvus... But at me. I could see through them to the Trolley walls and down to the loose coins on their seat cushions.

The crackly voice again said "Triple-Zero Trolley." There was a knot in my stomach.

Just to give an update. The temperature seems to be dropping. I have added my scarf and my thickest wool socks. Though it feels better, I worry that things will get colder before I am finished writing here.

The red haired girl stood up, placed the orchid on her seat and walked towards me. Her expression was hollowed like that of the large man. I felt a strong desire for her. More so though I wanted to take her in my arms...and... the only word for it is "waltz". I observed every step of her form as she walked. I could see through her coat, through her clothes- through her under garments to her skin--skin I wanted to rip it apart with my teeth. It was impossible not take in our surroundings as well. I observed the beauty of the Trolley's interior. It was as though I were in another time. The passengers were beautiful to me like I was meeting a long rejected self. I wanted to stay there forever.

I didn't care if I was in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory just so long as Scarlet Hair took me there aboard the Triple-Zero. Almost as though it heard me, the Corvus Bird began reaching out with one wing and it grew to cover the Trolley in a darkness. In this new atmosphere, candles were lit, books opened, conversations begun, and a few performers played music and danced.


Scarlet Hair took my hand and removed the leather glove inwhich it was sheathed. Her skin was as warm as it was pearl white. And we waltzed. For years and years. We grew old together. Watched the color leave one another's hair. We saw our children graduate college. I dipped her. The music built steadily. We enjoyed retirement. Finale! We died, hands outstretched on the floor to one another. I was hurting. The Trolley slowed to a halt.

"Maurice Cornelis! Tis your time and stop!" As I came back to my senses I saw Scarlet Hair rise to take her seat again and the orchid returned to her lab. Furious with my situation, I hurled myself passed the great Corvus and I seized her wrist. I plunged us towards the side door which was suddenly making to seal us in. Our exodus was achieved. Thankfully the Trolley was confined to its steel tracks on the cobblestone. I hurried us away from the squawking Corvus, to my basement apartment. We made love again. For the first time. My body was on fire. Her eyes blazed blue flame. Her hair burned down every complacent idea I ever had. I felt everything she felt. Sweat. Breath. Entrance. I passed out in her arms. She whispered something,"Never cease to awaken from this."

And then I awoke... Standing again in the Triple-Zero Trolley. Looking down at some inconsiderate man who didn't know how to keep to his own seat. It always gets my goat when people do that. I hate to wake them from sleep but I must say they leave me little choice. The most beautiful voice spoke to me from my right side. I looked and it was the girl with the infinite red hair. She was apocalyptically breath taking and I told her so. She threw her head back and laughed. She adjusted the winding of the scarf around my face with those small white hands as she told me to stay warm because it was going to get cold today. Then she turned to the man in the seat and asked him how he was and would he kindly mind making just the slightest bit of his adjoining seat available. The driver announced the next trolley stop. Upon hearing those words, the man in the seat seemed to lose some color in his face. The next thing I knew the Pallor-Faced Man in the seat was scrambling over us and every other passenger it seemed on the Trolley. What fascinated me about him was how scattered he became in his state of panic. See-through people were trying to help him but he couldn't see it. All he was thinking about was getting to the door.He was kicked out on to the street for disturbing the peace.

Because it's been a little while, I just wanted to say that I can hear the city beginning it's morning awakening by the sounds from without. I am feeling relieved. My double shan't come out this time. Now where was I... Ah yes...

It was a long time before I saw The Pallor-Faced Man again. He did return after a spell and there was something different about him. The more he took the Trolley, he seemed to exhibit a rising confidence in his behavior. It was strangely beautiful. He didn't recognize me- no doubt because I generally had no hat or scarf or any of that nonsense. It was as though he were cursed with loneliness even in the midst of countless benevolent strangers. It occurs to me now, that the Pallor-Faced Man may never know how he gets wherever he may be headed. The Trolley has a way of sweeping us away and we never knew we were on it.


Well there it is. Recorded. I made it through the night, put down everything. I seem to have plunged into another spell of paranoia this evening past. Hearing the sounds of this city in the morning- it feels silly to fear being found and enveloped in some way by 'the double', I would say- If such a dastardly creature indeed exists. The thought that there may be such a thing out there that is myself and yet not... is unsettling. However I am immediately comforted by the smell of this rare orchid. Though I do not recall when I brought it here.