ORANGE-CLAD TRAIN-CLIMBER CREW, MOVING  
 ALONG THE  RUSTY  CARGO  CARS  LIKE SOME 
 SPECIES  OF  FERROPHAGE  INSECT. UP  AND 
 DOWN  THE TRAIN,  CHECKING BOLTS, OILING 
     JOINTS, DRINKING COFFEE, SMOKING     
               CIGARETTES.                
                                          
            
                                          
 WE WERE  GOING SOUTH  THROUGH FINLAND AT 
 THE   TIME,   SLEEPING   CLOSE   TO  THE 
  FURNACE, WATCHING THE AURORA BOREALIS.  
   TWENTY-SOMETHING MEMBERS OF THE CREW,  
 MOST   OF   WHICH  WERE  MECHANICS,   OR 
 LOADERS,  WITH  LARGE  AND  HAIRY  HANDS 
 THAT COULD  SWALLOW MY ENTIRE  BODY. AND 
 ME FEATURING  AS  THE  CUTE  AND ASOCIAL 
 RADIO  OPERATOR, STATIONED  IN THE  BACK 
    OF THE KILOMETER-LONG TRAIN, WHICH    
         SERVED ME GOOD AND WELL.         
                                          
 AND THEN ONE  NIGHT, THERE'S A  MISSILE. 
 WE WOULD ROUTINELY PICK UP NEW  CARS  AT 
 THE  TAIL, AND DROP SOME  OFF,  AS A WAY 
 OF  EARNING  SOME  EXTRA  MONEY.  BUT  A 
 MISSILE,  AND  APPEARING SILENTLY IN THE 
 MIDDLE  OF  THE   NIGHT   AT  THAT?  NOT 
         ENTIRELY... COMFORTABLE.         
                                          
 I  CALL IT IN ON  THE WALKIE-TALKIE. NOT 
 MANY  OTHERS  AWAKE,  THEY  KNOW NOTHING 
 ABOUT  IT, AND APPEAR CONCERNED AS WELL. 
                                          
            
                                          
 WHEN  I FALL  AWAKE  IN  THE  AFTERNOON, 
 KARL  IS  THERE,  SMILING  AT  ME.  "HEY 
 BOY,"  HE SAYS,  "WANNA  HELP ME  MAKE A 
                  CALL?"                  
                                          
 AFTER  HE'S  BROUGHT  ME  COFFEE, I DIAL 
 THE  FREQUENCY  FROM  HIS  NOTEBOOK, AND 
 AFTER  A   WHILE   THERE'S  A  REPLY  IN 
 PAN-SLAVIC.  KARL  LAUGHS  AND  MAKES  A 
 REPLY  IN THE SAME LANGUAGE. EVEN THOUGH 
 WE BOTH  HAVE  HEADPHONES I CAN'T FOLLOW 
 AT ALL, BUT I HEAR THE WORD "MISSILE"  A 
                FEW TIMES.                
                                          
 I'M  ALMOST  SNOOZING  AGAIN AT THE TIME 
 KARL  PUTS DOWN THE HEADPHONES AND SLAPS 
 ME  ON MY  BACK.  "ALLRIGHT  BOY. I JUST 
 SOLD  A MISSILE."  HE  PRACTICALLY BEAMS 
 AT ME,  TEETH FILED SHARP. "WANNA MAKE A 
                 DETOUR?"