The Train Conductor's Hat

He loves his hat and always wears it. One of these days they won't have men like him in upright conductor hats. They'll have digital monitoring. Until then, you see him every day on the commuter rail and he rules his fiefdom in annoying fashion. He takes tickets and passes like a school principal checking hall passes. He moves down the aisle full of his position, moving in and out of downtown four times a day in love with his responsibility. In the morning, he likes the radio on his belt to chatter loudly and wake people up with his authority. In mid-day, he sits next to a part time book keeper he knows. They talk about TV, the bad news people make, and money rules and how people break them. (He's been working while sick, because the commuter rail company doesn't give sick days. But that's okay, he gets to work the rails.) In the evening, he's a comedian, bopping and shimmying with the homeward bound, until he gets a group of high school kids hanging over the seats and threatening disorder with loud ribbing and hormones zipped up in massive knapsacks. He makes them sit down and moves on quickly to open the doors at Weymouth Landing. He prowls the platform as he flashes the all clear to the engineer, and then rides the train with the door open, so pleased with himself, on his way to the end of the line.
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