Short Fiction

The A-to-Z Challenge — Next Stop, Edison

“Next stop, Edison,” said the robotic lady-voice.  “Please check your surrounding area for your belongings, and take small children by the hand when you leave the train.  All doors out.”

Eddie lost his job on Monday.  “Nothing personal.  Last hired, first fired.  We just don’t have enough work for two accountants,” his manager said.  But in the small office it was no surprise that the owner’s niece’s husband would be staying on.  They gave him the rest of his week’s pay, he packed up his few belongings and that was that.   He just didn’t tell Delia.

When she picked him up at the station Monday night he didn’t say anything at all.  And their evening progressed in the usual way.  Delia went on about how they should be doing more than just thinking about having a baby.   Her goal was to be a hot yoga mom, and waiting was putting that outside of her peers’ timetable.  Some of her friends were  already in their first trimesters.

So on Tuesday morning Eddie and Delia followed their regular routine.  Delia dropped Eddie off at the train station and she took their only car to work.  Eddie took the train to New York’s Penn Station, “the last and final stop,” gathered his empty briefcase and walked all over the City.  The first day he got a cup of coffee from a street corner truck and followed a couple of people to their offices.   He kept walking and watching and thinking.  On Wednesday he just walked straight uptown along Fifth Avenue until one o’clock.  Then he grabbed a $7.00 lunch from another food truck and began his return walk for his commute home.

By Friday he had seen people being kind to each other, kids cruel to each other, construction workers, messengers, thieves, shop-keepers, but nobody he’d identify as an accountant.  Maybe he wasn’t really an accountant either.  Each night at dinner Delia never asked him about his day, or his work, or even about his thoughts.

So that Friday evening, as the robotic lady-voice announced, “Next stop, Edison,”  Eddie gathered up his belongings and waited just inside the closing door, watching Delia text him from the car as he and the train pulled away from the station.


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