PROMPTuesday #53 – Last Train Done Gone Down

DaGoddess @ 02:43

This week, my photos of the old caboose were to serve as inspiration for the PROMPT. Thank you, Deb, for finding the photos interesting and worthy enough to warrant such special treatment. You rock!


Train Door“I miss lima beans,” he muttered. There was several months’ worth of growth on his face, which was looking rather gaunt. His hair was long and matted, and occasionally it would slide across his face, into his wildly darting eyes. “I MISS LIMA BEANS!” His guttural cry echoed through the deserted canyon, save for the birds that stirred after he shouted.

Smoke from his fire wafted into the weathered caboose, where he was protected from most of the elements. Wind, however, was another story. It seeped through the cracks of the dilapidated train car, kicked up the fine dust so prevalent in the canyon, it blew in the smoke from his fire, and it chilled him to the bone, even in the middle of the brutal desert summers. Being rail thin, he was always cold.

The charred bones of the chuckwalla crunched between his teeth. He’d been lucky last night, coming up on the unsuspecting lizard, which he roasted slowly over glowing coals. Now, as the early morning light filtered in, he drew his threadbare blanket around his shoulders while munching leftovers. He couldn’t help but think of how much better the meal would be with lima beans though.

His mind drifted back to another time, back when he was young and spry and definitely not living in the middle of nowhere in an abandoned caboose, sleeping on a rotting mattress he’d managed to drag out with the help of a long gone traveling companion. No, his memory allowed him to recall a time from his youth when Ma called him in for supper. A heaping plate of hot food was placed before him, including lima beans smothered with fresh-churned butter. Back then, he didn’t like the beans too much, but his mother could always talk him into eating them if she covered them with butter. As he got older, he continued to include them as part of his meals whenever he could, mostly to remember the woman who gave him life. After Ma died, he realized it wasn’t the butter he craved anymore, it was the beans. Now, without hope of seeing any in the near future, he found himself missing them more than ever. Ma didn’t register either. People had stopped mattering long ago.

A couple of faint plinks on the roof above him startled him out of his reverie. Then came the telltale hiss as a spring storm’s rain fell upon the fire. “So much for being warm,” he said to a little mouse in the corner. He blinked and the mouse was gone, if it was ever really there. He groaned a bit as he rose to his feet and pulled makeshift shutters on the few windows shut. The door at the rear of the car remained open a bit, in the hope that some creature seeking shelter from the storm would find its way inside, perhaps providing him another meal without any effort.

As he settled down in the corner on his mattress, he shivered and coughed. A prayer was said before he closed his eyes, not really caring whether or not he woke up again. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. If someone came by with some lima beans, he’d definitely want to wake up for those.


  1. WOW! Why aren’t you writing a book? Selling short stories to the New Yorker?

    May I just say WOW again? Thanks. :yay:

    Comment by Pam — 2009/04/28 @ 06:23

  2. Yay! Thanks, Pam. I was wondering if this would work. This guy totally wrote that for me. He took up residence in my head and started typing.

    I don’t know that little character sketches sell anymore. If they did, I could spend weeks churning ’em out. I have lots of characters in my head keeping me company, just waiting for their turn to speak.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/28 @ 06:27

  3. This sketch just LIVES! The photos are wonderful. I am having a hard time figuring out what to write – it wont’ be this good, I can tell you.

    Comment by g — 2009/04/28 @ 07:53

  4. Thank you, G. Thank you.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/28 @ 08:27

  5. This just comes alive. Well written.

    Comment by Jennifer — 2009/04/28 @ 08:41

  6. Anyone who misses lima beans deserves everything the universe throws at him.

    Comment by Jan — 2009/04/28 @ 12:33

  7. Thank you, Jennifer.

    Jan, don’t make me ban you. Lima beans are good. Now brussel sprouts, on the other hand, those are universe altering mistakes of nature.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/28 @ 13:10

  8. Thanks for your comment on my blog. It makes me hopeful.
    You’re pictures are beautiful. Love the wooden leg.

    Comment by Jennifer — 2009/04/28 @ 16:42

  9. Jennifer, it was my pleasure. I enjoyed the house rules immensely and I know your kids will appreciate them as they get older.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/28 @ 22:53

  10. SO GOOD!
    I love the imagery and being inside his head and guess what? I ALSO love lima beans!

    Comment by San Diego Momma — 2009/04/29 @ 13:44

  11. Limas are awesome. And I’m glad you like

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/04/29 @ 15:41

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