Angry for making him late, H.H. was surprised to see the old man looking back at him, watching him.

What right does he have to look at me? Who does he think he is, anyway?

Hearing voices, he turned around to see another group of commuters arriving.

Perfect! This time, I’ll board the train and have done with him!

As soon as the thought ended, he felt the thundering silence and saw he was alone again.

“What the hell is going on?” he demanded to no one.

“May I see your ticket?” the voice asked gently.

“What?” He was shocked that the man spoke to him!

“Your ticket.”

“Why?” he asked suspiciously.

“I think I may be able to help you.”

“I don’t need your help! What I need is to get on the damn train!”

Fuming and against his better judgment, H.H. thrust the ticket at him.

Glancing at it, the old man sighs.

“It’s been a long time coming,” and stands.

“This,” pointing to the dirty blanket, “is yours now. You’ll be taking my place.”

H.H. realized the man was a lunatic.

“What in the hell are you talking about? Take your place? Get away from me or I’ll call the police!”

“Look around. There’s no one to call. It’s begun.”

H.H. looked around. They were alone.

“Now look here, who are you?”

The old man points a gnarled finger at the sign.

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