Big Brown Bear waited in the shadows until the last of the morning commuters got on the bright yellow and red Rail Runner. Terrance was tucked safely under his arm. Only a little while ago they had separated from Little Schlepp and Louie at the transit center across the street where the number 12 bus dropped them all off.
“Let’s go!” he whispered and the team scampered out from cover, across the platform, and onto the train.
Big Brown Bear, Terrance, Wee Willie, Blue Man Bear, and Gussie’s Bear hunkered down in the corner, next to someone’s lime green bicycle. In a few moments the train’s doors closed quietly and they started northward.
Some time later a tall man in a conductor’s uniform came by and noticed them.
“Tickets, please,” he politely requested.
Big Brown Bear handed him the passes.
The conductor punched four of the five and, as he handed them back, he said with a wink, “Turtles ride free.”
For the rest of the trip they watched the New Mexico scenery go by and commented on how everyone ignored them, thinking they were someone’s toys piled in the corner of the train’s entry foyer while the people rode in the comfortable blue seats upstairs. Only the conductor had paid them any mind. Once again Terrance wondered why only certain people could talk to critters.
When they arrived in Bernalillo, Big Brown Bear picked up Terrance again and the group scrambled off the train after the last of the new passengers had filed upstairs to their seats but just before the doors closed. They set off from the station and wound their way through the alleys and backyards of the sleepy New Mexico town until they came to the main street and saw the Range Café on the other side.
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