Tall, slender and pretty, she boards the Amtrak train in Jacksonville, Florida going south to Miami and all stops in between. The conductor assigns her a seat by the window. She is happy about that, then becomes more happier when she finds out that the aisle seat is occupied by an elderly fellow. "My name is John," he says.
"I'm Sheila," she says.
"Nice to meet you."
"I've been on this thing from Philadelphia on my way to Miami."
"My stop is Miami."
"That's good, no more change of neighbors." Then he goes about arranging his entertainment components to watch movies. When he finishes, he says, "see you later."
She grins. "Will do," she says.
After paying for treats at the snack bar, she go to the leisure car to eat and drink. The young man with a filled snack tray walks pass with a smile directed at her. Moments later, he returns and sits on the seat opposite her. "Hi," he says.
"Hi,: she says.
"Going far?" He asks.
"Miami," she says.
"Me too, my name is Henry and please don't Hank me because I'm not into nicknames."
"My name is Sheila and I won't."
"I saw you get on; I got on at Savannah."
"I guess that I missed seeing you."
He laughs then asks. "What are you going to do in Miami?"
"I am a dancer and I intend to dance. What do you do in Miami?"
"I'm a college student on my way back to the college."
She's puzzled. "What break is this?"
"My own, went to Savannah with some friends so when the party fizzled, here I am on my way back." He asks her. "What strip club do you dance at?"
Taken-aback, she says, "I dance with a troupe and we're dancing in the forum."
"Damn, I'm sorry," he says.
She listens to music with earphones, enjoying the scenery that flashes by until she feels a tug on her shoulder; expecting to see John, she's bewildered to look at Henry. "Been looking all over for you," he says.
"That somebody's else seat," she says.
"Whoever can find another seat the rest of the way."
"I don't think that he will want to do that."
"Look forget him let us you talk."
"I don't want to talk to you."
"Damn, you're lesbian,"
"No, I am not; I just do not want to talk to you."
"You're in my seat," John says.
"Listen, pop, I am a few cars that way so you can go and take my seat," Henry says.
"This has been my seat since Philly," John says.
"Give me a break, pop," Henry says.
"I'll get a conductor," John says.
"Damn, I'll see you later honey," Henry says.
"I'm not your honey and I don't want to see you later," Sheila says.
At a station because of a situation further up the tracks, the passengers are allowed to take a smoke break on the platform, just stretch their legs or get a feel of the weather for twenty minutes. Away from the others, Sheila feels a grasp on her arm. She looks at Henry. He shushes her while stepping backwards thus gliding her to follow him. "I found a nice quiet corner where we can be alone for a few minutes," he says.
"Get the hell off me," she says.
Her resistance only makes him pull her more with strength. It is fast, very fast, her freehand knuckles smashes against his nose; he steps backwards. The heel of her shoes strikes his torso that makes him fall then a powerful kick makes him moves into the fetal position and roll around.
The conductor announces the train's arrival at the Miami station. "Nice riding with you neighbor," John says.
"It was my pleasure also," Sheila says.
"By the way, I noticed that guy stopped bothering you even after that nice dance you did for him," John says.