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THE 5:15

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Book: THE 5:15


Chapter 1

Greg Twain ran from his parked car to the train station. The Bergan County Line picked him up in Glen Rock, New Jersey, where he lived, and took him to Hoboken, where he’d catch the PATH train to New York City. He worked in the office of a huge retailer in data entry. April in Northern New Jersey was a mix of icy winter trying to keep its grip, and mild spring days, allowing the bulbs to sprout.

Seeing the commuter train pull into the station, Greg hustled with his briefcase, tucking his necktie under his suit jacket.

He had a monthly pass, so there was no need to stop inside the rustic looking station.

A mob of commuters waited for the train to stop, then the doors opened, and conductors stepped onto the platform.

Greg climbed the few metal stairs to the car and slid back a door as the rush to grab a seat was like the child’s game of musical chairs.

Since the train ran all the way from Suffern, New York, it tended to fill up.

The conductors announced the next station, “Broadway/Radburn,” and the doors were shut.

Greg managed to make his way down the long, crowded car, one with bench seats on either side. He spotted an open seat with two benches facing each other and stood near the aisle, asking, “Is someone sitting there?”

Three men in suits shook their heads no.

After taking his newspaper from his valise and sticking the briefcase on the metal shelf above, Greg took the last unoccupied space, and sat his butt down, trying to relax for the rest of the train ride. He placed his monthly pass on a metal clip with one other, allowing the conductor to see it, and then opened his morning newspaper, The Star Ledger.

Two older men in suits were already reading newspapers across from him, and the younger man in a business suit was reading his phone.

Greg folded the paper to the sports’ page. He tried to cross his legs, but the space was tight. His bench faced the opposite bench, so there were four pairs of legs to contend with. He and the other younger man were riding backwards.

The train rocked gently and the clacking was soothing. The train stopped and the doors opened as more riders crammed on in Fair Lawn.

Greg looked up at the people making their way to the last few cars, hoping to find an open spot.

The young businessman on the seat beside him glanced at him and said, “Good thing I get on in Suffern.”

Greg made a face of pain. “That’s a long commute to New York.”

“Not New York. Just Hoboken. It’s an hour.”

“Ah.” Greg smiled and turned a page in his newspaper.

The young businessman seemed to be reading the newspaper with him. Greg glanced at him again. “I can give it to you after I’m done.”

“Sorry. I was just curious how preseason was going.”

“Mets or Yankees?” Greg asked with an impish grin.


Greg laughed as the two older men looked up at them over the New York Times and Post, and then returned to their reading.

The conductors announced the next stop as the train continued, giving a toot or two as it crossed Fair Lawn Avenue.

“Plauderville next, Plauderville‚Ķ”

“Don’t tell me you’re a Yankee fan.”

Greg laughed. “Nope. Mets, all the way.”

“Giants or Jets?”

“Giants!” Greg laughed again.

The young businessman nodded. “Good. Otherwise I’d have to move seats.”

They chuckled together.