No Common Allegiance: The Red Line Blues


A little earthquake. A de-railed subway car. Six young gang members, a gun and a claustrophobic math professor.

Looks like he picked the wrong day to conquer an irrational fear.


I know, I know….I don't own them and never, ever will I make any money whatsoever at the expense of these divine

characters who have offered me countless hours of entertainment.

Also -a special thanks to thebondgirl for her advice on this one!



Chapter One: This will be a piece of cake

"Come on Buddy. Let me come pick you up, I can be there in forty minutes."

Charlie Eppes was standing just inside the almost vacant entrance to the North Hollywood platform for the Red Line of the Los Angeles County Metro Rail. He was holding his cell phone so tightly to his ear that his knuckles were white. His palms were sweating and for the past twenty minutes, he hadn't moved an inch. His heart rate was rapid and his mouth had turned to cotton, but breathing was starting to get a little easier.

"Charlie, did you hear me? I'll come and get you, ok?"

There was a note of concern in his brother's voice that Charlie hadn't heard in a very long time.

He'd been fighting off a panic attack since he stepped thru the turnstile and onto the platform and when Don called; it took Charlie a good five minutes to explain where he was and what he was trying to do.

"Charlie? You don't have to do this. You don't need to prove anything."

Yes I do. I can beat this.

Charlie did his best to steady his voice before answering his brother.

"No….Don. I….I told you I…I'm going to take the subway and that's what I'm going to do. Larry had an emergency and had to leave early and I'm…..not…I won't ask you to drive all the way up to North Hollywood at eleven thirty on a Friday night."

"Charlie, as you just pointed out, it's eleven thirty on a Friday night! That alone is reason enough for me to come get you."

"I appreciate the offer Don, really I, ...I do, but it's ok. I can handle it. It's a thirty minute ride on a subway car. I'll be fine."

"Ok, I just figured that……."

"Don. I'll be fine….I've been on the metro rail before. That didn't go so badly did it?"

"It didn't go at all Charlie. You never got on the thing remember? You stood on the platform for an hour and then you finally called me to come pick you up. When I got you home, you locked yourself in the solarium for two days!"

"Well,…that was a long time ago."

"It was last April, Charlie."

"It…that's not important, Don. Besides, I can ride elevators now without a problem. I couldn't do that a year ago. So I think I should be able to handle a short ride on the subway."

"Ok…If that's what you want Buddy, I'll leave you alone."

Again, he could hear an unfamiliar tone of worry in his older brother's voice and he made up his mind. I can do this. I am going to show him that I can conquer this.

"Yeah,that's..." He had to stop and swallow. "That's what I want."

"Well………….you know the number…if you need me."

"Yeah Don. I know the number……and Don?

"Yeah, Charlie?"


"That's what I'm here for."

Charlie was about to close his phone when Don continued.

"Hey, Buddy? I'm already downtown. Do you want me to just pick you up at Union Station? Or would you rather take the Gold Line all the way to Memorial Park?"

Don was delicately trying to give him a way out of having to take the metro all the way to Pasadena and Charlie couldn't help but smile at his brother over the phone.

"If you were planning on going that way and if it wouldn't be a terrible inconvenience. Sure, Union Station would be good."

"OK, I'll see ya in a half an hour then." Don paused."Well,should I bring an oxygen mask….just in case?"

Charlie could picture his brother's droll smile and he had to bite back a laugh in spite of his rattled nerves.

"You're not funny. You know that, right?"

Charlie slammed his cell phone shut before Don could answer. Taking a deep breath, he bit his lip and walked across the platform and onto the seventy five foot passenger car at the end of train. He only had to make it to Union Station, not all the way to Pasadena, nothing a reasonable, logical mathematician couldn't handle.

Authors Notes: As always I'd love your reviews!

Chapter Two: Don't forget to breathe.