The bedside digital clock glows, "7:29".
A young man is sound asleep in his small Toronto apartment.
It is a bright, sunny, warm day. Very warm for this time of day.
Already 22 degrees. It is supposed to go above 30 today.
It is July 2, and the young man is about to embark on his first
vacation away from his home town in over five years.
The display on the clock switches from "7:29" to "107.1". It is
7:30, and the radio comes on nice and loud to awaken the man, "...looks like it
is going to be another hot one out there. Happy second of July! Hope you are
all staying cool....This 'Derringer In the Morning' on Classic Rock Q107.
Before we get back to the music, let's take a look at traffic..."
The young man abruptly awakes, ignoring the traffic report on
the radio, as he does not care. He is on vacation, and does not need to report
to work, nor deal with traffic.
He walks away from the bed, leaving the radio to play.
In the kitchen, he pulls out an Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast
from the freezer, and pops it into the microwave oven, and continues to the
He walks past a small table. On that table is a folder with a
ticket. It is a rail ticket, "Toronto to Montreal, Business Class, Depart:
Toronto Union Station, July 2, 11:35 Arrive: Montreal Central Station, July 2,
After a shower and a shave, the man sits down to have breakfast.
He wants to get out in a decent time, to make sure there is no
stress. After all, this is a vacation. The idea is to get away from stress. He
was already packed and ready to go. All he has to do is hop onto the subway to
He managed to get the 8:35 subway train, which should get him to
Union by 9:00. That will give him plenty of time.
The trip on the subway did not appear to take very long.
Actually, it seemed faster than usual. Only about ten minutes. This trip
usually takes at least twenty minutes.
Upon arriving at the station, the young man went to the desk to
check-in, "Hi, I might be a bit early, but I'm leaving on the 11:35 to
Montreal.", and handed the lady his ticket.
She looked at the ticket and said, "Ah, sir, actually you are a
bit late...by almost 24 hours. This ticket was for yesterday's departure."
"This ticket is for July Second"
The lady looked at him oddly, "Today is July Third, sir".
The man became agitated, "What kind of stunt are you trying to
pull, lady? It was July Second when I woke up this morning. I just took the
subway here. I know our subway system is slow, but not that slow."
The man looked at his watch, "8:57 AM...July 3..."
The young man thought, "How could it be? I'm I that stressed
from work, that I managed to somehow lose a whole day? I guess its
He said to the ticket agent, "OK, so what can I do?"
"Unfortunately, this ticket is non-refundable, but you can
purchase another ticket for the next departure. However, we will not be able to
give you the discounted fare, but you are lucky. You are getting the last
available seat on that train."
The man bought another business class ticket at full fare, which
he was not at all happy about. Still confused, he proceeded to the business
class lounge to wait for his train.
After about an hour of waiting, there was an announcement,
"Business class travelers on train 54 to Montreal, and Kingston, please start
boarding on track three.
The man thought to himself again, "It has only been an hour, and
we are already boarding. We are not leaving until 11:35."
He looked at his watch, "11:10 AM"
"OK, I have somehow lost another hour. Wow, I really need this
He boarded the vehicle, and sat at his assigned seat. There was
an odd smell in this car. A familiar smell, but he could not recall where he
smelled it before. At the same time, he noticed that he was the only one seated
in this car. The ticket lady said this train was full. Where is everyone?
The man kept looking around, waiting for the rest of the
passengers to board, but no one did.
At precisely 11:35, the train left Toronto, heading east to
Kingston and then Montreal.
"I need to start relaxing. Odd things are happening, but
its just me. I am stressed. Relax, just relax." The man thought to
himself, and then fell asleep.
He woke up somewhere between Oshawa and Belleville to the sound
of the attendant, "Excuse me, sir. I'm sorry to wake you, but lunch is going to
be served soon. Would you like beef, chicken, or fish?"
He was happy to see her, as he was suddenly feeling very hungry,
"Hi, thank you. I'd like chicken, please."
As the attendant walked away, the man noticed three other
passengers behind him. He was sure they were not there before... or were they?
The young man pulled out his Smartphone to check email. He
powered on the device, and noticed the time and date, "3:32 PM, July 2". He
thought, "Okay, that's fine. Stupid Smartphones are really not that smart, are
It was probably because it had been off for so long. It might
take a few minutes for the time and date to be corrected.
Email started to pour in, 1 message, 5 messages, 9 messages, 14,
21, 33... Wow. Then they stopped. A "No Service" message came on the screen. He
looked at another passenger, who was talking on her cell phone, and it looks
like she lost service also. "Okay, those things happen. Service will come back
The attendant returned with his lunch. A plate with mashed
potatoes, carrots and broccoli, and Salisbury steak.
"Excuse me, miss. I'm sorry, but there seems to be a mistake. I
asked for chicken."
"No sir, I wrote it down. See, your seat number, and it says
The young man, not in any mood to argue said, "Okay, that's
For a moment, he glanced out the window, and noticed a cell
tower not far from the tracks. He then looked over at the women behind him, and
she was still messing with her phone, which was apparently still not working.
"Damn crappy cell phones. They don't damn-well work." he thought.
He finished his meal, and there was an announcement,
"Kingston...Kingston, next stop."
The man looked up, and noticed they were arriving at Kingston.
He also noticed the other three passengers getting ready to leave.
After a short wait at Kingston, he was once again alone in the
car. He looked down at his watch, and the time was now 4:42. "We were supposed
to be in Montreal by now. What is taking so long?"
His Smartphone still had no service. He felt that he would have
to contact his cell company once he finally reached Montreal.
He was feeling tired again. Six hours on a train will do that to
When he awoke, he was still alone in the car. He checked the
time, "5:17". Oh, good. We must be getting there soon.
Right at that moment, there was another stop announcement,
"Kingston...Kingston, next stop".
The man thought something my have happened while he was asleep,
and they had to go back.
Upon arriving at Kingston, he noticed three passengers board his
car. Funny, they look familiar. Of course, they do. They were the same three
passengers that left the car the last time we arrived at Kingston. Well, that
explains everything! These passengers got out at Kingston, and they realized it
was not their stop, so the train went back for them. Sure, it happens all the
time! This is perfectly normal. Nothing odd happening.
The attendant came over, "Hello, sir. We are going to be serving
dinner, soon. Would you like beef, chicken, or fish?"
The man thought for a moment, "Ahhhhh... Beef." Thinking that if
he asked for beef, he would get chicken.
Like clockwork, the attendant quickly returned with his meal. It
was a fillet of salmon on rice. Of course it was. Maybe on the next meal I get
on this hell train, I will ask for fish, and maybe finally get chicken, damn
it! Who do I have to screw on this train to get chicken?!
After finishing his meal, the man again pulled out his
Smartphone to check for service. He powered on, and it still indicated "No
Service". At this point, he was not the least bit surprised. He also noticed
that the date was still July 2. Which was the day it was supposed to be, but
for some reason, it wasn't. The date on his watch also says that it was July 2.
Although it was July 3 when he left Toronto.
In what seemed to be only a few minutes, there was another
announcement, "Ottawa...Ottawa, next stop."
Okay, first of all it takes at least an hour to get from
Kingston to Ottawa, not just a few minutes. Also, this train is not supposed to
stop at Ottawa.
He flagged down the attendant, "Excuse me, miss? Why are we
stopping at Ottawa? Does this not go straight through to Montreal?"
"No.", she said, "This train only goes to Ottawa. You transfer
to another train in Ottawa if you want to go on to Montreal."
"Wait a minute.", the young man said in an agitated voice, "You
mean to tell me I have to change trains now?"
"Yes. This train is going back to Kingston once we arrive at
"No way. I am not freaking-well going to Kingston, again!"
Frustrated, he looked at his watch, and it was almost 6:30 in
the evening. He was already over two hours late arriving to his destination.
Now, he has to change trains.
As the passengers were leaving, the attendant said, "Thank you.
For those going on to Montreal, your train is waiting on track one.
The young man walked to track one, and handed the ticket to the
"Wrong ticket.", the collector said.
"This ticket is for Toronto to Ottawa. Where is your Ottawa to
The man grabbed back the ticket to check. He was sure he had a
ticket for Montreal. To his dismay, the ticket was for Ottawa.
The young man thought, "How the hell did that happen?"
The young man then said to the collector, "When does this train
"Ten minutes", the collector said.
"Okay, there is a mistake. I will be right back."
"Ten minutes." the collector said again.
He ran to the ticket window, to tell them about the mistake,
"Hi, I have to hurry, the train is there...I bought a ticket to Montreal, and
this says Ottawa. Can you fix it?"
The woman at the ticket counter types in his name from the
information on the ticket, "Our system shows a ticket purchased for July
Second, from Toronto to Ottawa."
"Crap!" the young man was now starting to lose it. He was
beginning to feel that the rail company was trying to rip him off, "Look, I
don't know what you people are trying to do. I have been on your stupid train
'way longer than needed. We stopped at Kingston twice, and now you are dumping
"I don't know what to tell you, sir. All of the ticketing
information is in the system. That is all we have for you. If you would like,
I'd be happy to sell you a ticket to Montreal."
"Of course you would. That is what all this is about, isn't it?
Some sort of confuse the customer, rip-off scheme?"
"I assure you sir, we are not trying to do that. You can see for
yourself that your ticket is only good to Ottawa."
"Okay, okay, okay, give me a damn ticket to Montreal."
"Sure. Economy or Business Class?"
"Economy. I am not giving you people any more money. I just want
to start my damn vacation!"
"Okay, sir, that will be sixty-three dollars."
"Sixty-three dollars! Unbelievable. Here. Shove it.", he throws
four twenties on the counter.
The ticket lady gave him a dirty look, but continued to process
"Thank you, sir. Here is your change, and your ticket. Your
train leaves in two minutes from track one."
He ran, and ran, and ran. It was amazing that the distance from
the ticket counter to the train was longer than before.
The walkway to the platform went on forever.
When he finally arrived at the platform, the train was just
"Shhhhhhhhit!" he yelled.
The oddest thing was, he could have sworn the other passengers
were waving and laughing at him as they were departing the station
He walked back to the ticket agent, "Excuse me. I missed the
train to Montreal. May I take the next one?"
The ticket agent said, "The next train to Montreal leaves in
three minutes from track one. You didn't miss it. There is lots of time."
The man thought, "Ooooooo-kayyyy..."
He walked back to track one, and sure enough, there was the
train to Montreal. He handed the collector the ticket, and the collector said,
The young man went to his seat, and decided to listen to the
radio. The radio was already tuned to 107.1, and he was actually picking up a
station. There must be another station in this area on the same frequency.
After listening for a couple of minutes, he realized that it was
in fact, Q107 Toronto. "Well, with all the other odd things happening today,
why not?" He thought to himself, "Radio signals sometimes do weird things. You
know, weather conditions, sun spots, whatever."
Soon, the train left Ottawa, on to its destination, Montreal.
By this time it was starting to get dark. The man was getting a
bit tired of being on the train. His watch indicated that it was almost 9 PM,
but by this time, the man didn't really trust his watch, or anything else for
"Ten hours." The man was thinking, "I have been on this train
for almost ten hours. This trip was supposed to be five hours long. I am taking
time away from home, to relax, but this is getting very stressful. I wish my
wife was with me to help pass the time."
He could not stop thinking how badly he wanted to get to
Montreal and get off that train.
It seemed like only a half-hour had gone by, when they finally
arrived at Montreal Central Station. The man did not care about time any more,
but checked his watch anyway. It was almost midnight.
The hotel was only a few blocks from the station, so he walked.
Once there, he approached the desk to check-in.
The man behind the counter said, "I'm sorry. We can not find a
reservation for you."
"Of course you can't..." The man said sarcastically, "Just like
I did not buy a train ticket to Montreal."
The desk clerk just looked at the man, but offered a suggestion,
"We have a room available if you want it."
"Of course I want it. That's why I booked it."
"Very well. Please sign in, and here is your door key."
"Thank you", The young man said.
"Do you need help with your bags?", The desk clerk asked.
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Good night", The man said, as he
hurried away from the desk and to the elevator.
Finally in the room, the young man wanted to take a shower, then
go right to bed. It was very late.
He put on the TV for some background, and there was a French
sports station on. They were talking about baseball. The Montreal Expos.
The man did not think much of it, although the Montreal Expos
have not played since 2004, this was just part of all the other oddities
happening today. Tomorrow will be a normal day.
The man went into the washroom to shower, and while the water
was running, he could hear the TV slightly in the background. They were now
speaking English, and talking about a hockey game the Canadiens played last
"Hockey...in July?" he thought. "Yep."
The young man decided to not shower tonight, and that it would
be best to go to sleep. He hit the bed, and was asleep within just a couple of
The man was awakened early in the morning by the clock-radio,
"...looks like it is going to be another hot one out there. Happy second of
July! Hope you are all staying cool....This 'Derringer In the Morning' on
Classic Rock Q107. Before we get back to the music, let's take a look at