Disclaimer: I absolutely do not own Arthur or the characters and material within.
Further Facts: See the Author's notes below to see why I wrote this story.
I was walking with Binky to a shop. We have been talking as we were walking for miles just to get to where we were going. We were almost at the shop during this part of our conversation.
I said, "And I say 'Bowling is the best sport.'"
But Binky said, "And I say 'Wrestling is the best sport.'"
I shudder and said, "Eugh, I hate Wrestling! And Boxing for the same reasons. Never do I watch stuff like that."
"Well you don't have to like Wrestling," said Binky, "But that's what I'm a huge fan of."
"That's fine," I told him, "if you want to watch Wrestling and Boxing, that's your choice. But it's just not my thing. Besides, I like Bowling because of the fun in it."
"I like bowling too," said Binky.
"I've been adored by it ever since I was two years old and saw my mother and one of her friends playing it. I watched it so much I decided to take up the sport myself. Even though I was able to use a ball, I didn't have any pins, so I used blocks. Then later my mother's friend bought me a bowling set and I started using that. Then later I got three new bowling sets, but only one of them came with white pins, which were half-pins that you had to put on some base, and the bowling balls only had two wholes instead of three.
"I know what you're talking about," said Binky, "I used to have something like that too. But I don't play with it anymore. I was gonna get rid of it but I'm thinking about giving it to Mei Lin instead. I'm too old for it but she might like it."
Then Binky and I crossed a set of railroad tracks and then walked into the first building after it to our right. We walked into a Gifts And Knick-Knacks shop and saw Carl Manino working it.
"You work here Mr. Manino?" asked Binky.
"I sure do," answered Mr. Manino.
"But I thought you worked at the Sugar Bowl," Binky said.
"I did," said Mr. Manino, "but I decided to get another job. Someone else is working the Sugar Bowl now."
"How long have you worked here?" asked Binky.
"I've been here for the last three months now," he answered.
"Do you like it?" I asked him
"It's not as much fun as the Sugar Bowl," he said, "but I don't mind this job. However what I really don't like about this job is the trains running passed this building. They are so noisy and it shakes the building and the things in it!"
"Why didn't you find another job?" Binky asked, "Or why did you pick this building.?
"This was one of the only empty buildings available," Mr. Manino answered. "I could have picked a few others but they were more than I could afford, or were in worse neighborhoods than this one. So I decided to take this one."
Just then we hear train horns.
"And here comes one right now!" says Mr. Manino.
We look out the window facing the direction of the railroad tracks. I though, who liked trains, and still do, walked up to the window to get a closer look and no sooner did a silver passenger train with a small red pinstripe fly by. This train was like those heavy-rail passenger trains or subway trains, only running at-grade. What amazed me was that this train ran without overhead catenary wires or an electric third-rail system and yet these trains ran without locomotives, just cab-cars. And plus, only one track was laid and I thought there should have been two tracks so trains can go one direction on one track and the other direction on the other. What I didn't know was there were double tracked sections, just not near Mr. Manino's shop. And freight trains didn't use this line.
As the train flew by, it shook the building and the merchandise in it.
"Man," said Binky, "you weren't kidding!"
"Yeah," said Mr. Manino, "and every time a train zooms by here shaking this building, I'm afraid some things in here are going to fall and break. That's a busy track and this is an old building and I should have had it upgraded, but I couldn't afford it."
Thankfully it wasn't a long train, there were only seven cars, including the two cab-cars on both ends.
"I'm regretting quitting the Sugar Bowl and a lot of times I want to go back," said Mr. Manino, "and that's what I'm seriously considering doing. But I don't know if the new person is willing to give up the Sugar Bowl and I can't force him to give it up. Oh why did I stop working there?"
"You could go back and see if the new person is willing to give it up," I said. "Maybe him working there isn't as cracked up as it ought to be and maybe he doesn't like working there as much as he thought he would."
"Maybe," said Mr. Manino, "but I'm just not so sure."
"Well," I said, "you'll never know until you try it."
"Plus," Mr. Manino said, "I'm not sure I can afford to buy it back anyway, what if he charges more for it than I sold to him? I don't think I have the cash so I can't buy it back right now anyway."
"Dude," I said, "I don't think you're happy with this job and I say you go and try to get your job back at the Super Bowl."
"What?" Mr. Manino and then Binky asked me as they looked at me funny."
"Did I say Super Bowl?" I asked. "I meant Sugar Bowl! Oops! Hee hee!"
Binky and Mr. Manino chuckled a little at what I said.
So Binky and I decided to purchase some things at this shop. Binky purchased a snow globe and I purchased some Bubbles. Binky let me pay first, which I did. As Binky was making his purchase, no sooner did we hear another train horn.
"Here we go again," said Mr. Manino.
I decided to step outside to watch the train go by. And once I stepped out and looked toward my left, I not only saw one of the flashing and bell-ringing mast crossing signals and both downed crossing gates but two seconds after stepping out, I saw the train heading in the opposite direction as the last one did, only this one train moved slow and then stopped, blocking traffic.
A few minutes later Binky and I said our goodbyes to Mr. Manino and left the store. The train was still blocking traffic, which I was and still am sure made the motorists impatient. Some even made U-turns to find other ways across the track. Binky and I walked another direction and try to find another way back across the tracks.
"I sure feel sorry for Mr. Manino," I said to Binky.
"I sort of do too," said Binky.
"But," I add, "I think it was stupid of him to leave the Sugar Bowl and work there. I'm sorry, I know that sounds harsh of me, but I don't think Mr. Manino used his mind very well. He should have thought about this more and more."
"I know," said Binky. "I mean I respect the man but I don't think he made the right decision. I mean what pills is he on?"
"Beats me," I answered, "but I do hope he gets his job back at the Sugar Bowl."
Binky and I turn left onto another street and as we reached another street, we ran into Arthur, Francine, and Buster. Francine was carrying a soccer ball in one of her arms.
"Hey guys," we said to them.
"Hey," they said back.
"What are you guys doing here?" asked Binky.
"A friend of mine who lives in this neighborhood invited us over to play soccer with her and her friends."
"What are you guys doing here?" asked Buster.
"To shop at that shop Mr. Manino now owns," I said.
"And he's not very happy over there," Binky said.
"Oh yeah," said Arthur, "he hates those trains running by his shop."
"I'll say," I said.
Then Binky and I walked back toward the tracks to go back to their neighborhood.
"As Binky and I were just talking," I said, "Mr. Manino never should have given up that Sugar Bowl."
"I agree," said Arthur.
"Same here," said Buster, "and besides, the Sugar Bowl was more fun when he ran it. The man who works there now is a jerk! And it's not as much fun to hang out there anymore even though we still go."
"I'll bet he doesn't even like working there," said Francine, "and I'll bet he makes his employees miserable."
"I bet too," said Binky.
"I mean maybe Mr. Manino had been mean to his employees a few times," Francine continued, "but he wasn't that mean. And he paid his employees real well."
"Yeah," said Arthur, "and his employees, for the most part, liked him. I sure feel sorry for the employees working for him now."
"Me too," said Buster, "I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if any of them quit."
"I'm wondering if that new owner hates working at the Sugar Bowl," said Binky. "Maybe he doesn't want to work there anymore. And if that's the case maybe Mr. Manino can get his job back over there."
"That's true," said Francine."
"That would be nice," said Buster.
"But will he?" I asked.
When we come up on the railroad crossing on this road, the cantilever lights flashed, the bells rang and the gates descended.
"This must be a busy line," I said.
"Mr. Manino did say that when we were there," said Binky.
"Oh yeah," I said.
Then the train zoomed by. After that, the bells stopped ringing, the gates went back up, and the lights stopped flashing and we walked across the tracks.
"I sure hope Mr. Manino gets his job back at the Super Bowl," said Arthur.
"I strongly hope so too," said Buster, "I hate that new guy! Well hate is strong word so I guess I should say 'I strongly dislike that new guy.'"
"Yeah," said Francine, "and Mr. Manino was reckless to give up his job at the Sugar Bowl, what was he thinking?"
"I agree that that was not a wise decision," I said, "but maybe we shouldn't be too hard on him. This was probably a trial and error thing. But if he ever gets his job back at the Super Bowl…"
"Sugar Bowl!" the four others corrected me.
"Man," I said, "that's the second time today I did that!"
"Yeah it is," said Binky, only because he was the only one out of the group who heard me say it earlier."
"I must be tired," I said, "or my brain must not be working right. But anyway, if he gets his old job back, he'd better keep it."
"Amen," said Francine.
The rest of the gang agreed as we continued walking.
Author's Notes: I wrote this story because of a dream I had earlier this morning. However, the way I told this story is not completely how the dream occurred. I mean, Binky and I were at that building and I think that was Carl Manino, and if it was, this was the first dream I ever had about him! I've had many dreams about Arthur over nearly the past decade if not more but this was the first time I dreamt about Mr. Manino.
Another difference between my dream and what I wrote, Mr. Manino, if that was him, said that even though he didn't like the trains running by his shop, there were only three trains a day. But in this story, I decided to make it way more than that, but I kept the single-track and left out the catenary wires and third rail system, which were also not in my dream, although I guess I could have added a second track and made a third-rail system for this line.
Also, when I stepped out of the shop in my dream, there were no railroad crossing signals or gates, in fact there weren't even any railroad crossing signs. There was nothing at this crossing so this was a very unsafe crossing and there should have at least been warning lights at this crossing and maybe some bells, or signal-less gates even, also with bells. So in my dream, I had to imagine crossing gates and signals at that crossing. It was more dangerous in that high-speed trains use this track and where the road crossed the track, you couldn't see the train until it was too late due to the obstruction of the nearby buildings.
When I left the building, and I didn't buy anything, Binky wasn't with me anymore, and I walked the away from the tracks and walked down another street. Then I was with my sister and several other people. Arthur, Francine, and Buster weren't there, in fact after I left the building, I didn't see anymore of the Arthur characters for the rest of the dream. Anyway, I headed back towards the tracks with this group but I cannot remember if this was another street or an alley. Then when we reached the railroad tracks, I saw the railroad crossing near Mr. Manino's shop again, only this time there were railroad crossing signals and gates and they must have suddenly appeared, or were suddenly installed when I wasn't looking. To make this weird, there were three crossing signals and three gates at this crossing, one signal and one gate was redundant, but that's dreams for you. And the signals did activate and the gates did deploy but I don't remember seeing a train.
So I did have this dream and decided to write about it, but I decided to tweak it a bit and make it more Arthury than it was. I also had to come up with some more dialogue and I really had to get creative in order to make this story more readable. No easy task and I won't be surprised if my readers think this story stinks. I'm not 100% in love with this story myself but I think I made this story better than what I dreamt about, and I made it more Arthur like to have an excuse for posting this story.
Another thing, I wasn't sure if I was in Elwood City or my own hometown Gary, Indiana, because that's what it felt more like to me, or if maybe I was somewhere else. And I think the dream started with me watching Arthur on T.V. and then suddenly I was right there with Binky and Mr. Manino.
I admit I did make Mr. Manino seem dumber than he really is but how else was I gonna write this story and have it make more sense than what I dreamed about? Like I said, I'm sure of you think this story is dull and I don't blame you for thinking so. I do regret a bit making Mr. Manino seem like a reckless character and if he reads this, he'll probably kill me! Or at least give me a wet noodle for writing this about him!
I don't know if I'm going to add to this story. I could and probably should but I have little to no plans for doing so at this time, but I probably will, especially if others want me to. I'm sure my readers will want to know if whether or not Mr. Manino quits his job at his new shop and gets his job back at the Super Bowl. Oops, there I go again! SUGAR BOWL! Goodness gracious!
Thanks for reading.
For Interested Readers Only: I think the railroad crossing signals in my dream all had 8" incandescent lights. All the signals in my story had 8" incandescent lights and mechanical bells and the gates in both my dream and in this story were red and white single-bar gates, probably all-fiberglass as opposed to aluminum-fiberglass, and had 4" incandescent gate lights mounted on them. And unlike what I dreamt about, the crossing without the warning devices near Mr. Manino's shop, I made that crossing have standard-mast flashers with gates to make it a safer and more interesting crossing. I don't like railroad crossings without warning devices and I'm not that in love with crossings with just railroad crossing signs or those old Flagman Signals, also known as Wigwags, which were used in the olden days, a few of which are still around today. Nope, I prefer railroad crossings with gates and the flashing-light signals we use now and to this day that we've been using since the 1930s. But if I don't get gates, I at least want flashing-light signals that we use in the U.S. No other kind of warning device is my cup of tea.
And I prefer red and white gates over black and white gates or any other colored gates, although I don't mind black and white gates or even black and yellow ones.
Plus instead of walking down an alley and using that same crossing near Mr. Manino's shop, I decided to do a whole-nother street with and do a separate crossing. This is where I put the cantilever signals and I only used two signals and two gates instead of three of each. In my dream, there were two cantilever signals with gates and one mast signal with a long gate on the same side of the tracks and street as one of the cantilever signals although the gate on the mast signal was a little shorter than the other two gates. But in my story, I decided to make it more realistic.