A Light Train Ride

A short story by Fred Beauford


Yesterday, the Expo line to downtown Los Angeles was going thru a hood, if you will, that recently became a mere shadow of its once formidable self.

A young, light brown skinned man, with glasses and long black hair, entered my car pushing a double seat stroller with two adorable twins.

He sat them down in the seats directly in front of me and I immediately made eye contact with one of them, the girl, and smiled at her.

She smiled back at me as only a child so young could charmingly do.

. The young man did not take the third seat that was available to him, but just stood over us.

At the next stop I noticed that he became seriously agitated as someone entered the other section of the car. He started wolfing at him.

Which shocked me. Could he be starting a fight with these two little kids sitting here? This can’t be?

The young man then charged into the other section and I heard a scuffle and people yelling. I l stood up and looked and saw people trying to separate the two young men, as others, close to panic, ran into my section of the car.

The obviously reckless young man, who looked part Asian and part black, and who also looked as if he had gotten the worst of the fight, finally came back to his children.

The two, tiny children had been strangely calm, and had not uttered a sound during all off this, as I kept a sharp eye on them, hoping to distract them as much as I could.

Their father wasn’t finished yet with the other young man in the next section. I could see that, as he stood there staring angrily into the next section at the other young man.

I got up and stood I front of him. “Dude,” I said, “Think about your kids. I can’t let you go back in there.”

I also heard someone in the other section of the light rail car, yelling at the other man, “You just got out. You don’t want to go back. Let it go. Let it go.”

We finally came to a station and the door opened and the train operator informed us that the cops were on the way. The other young man, a well built, V shaped, handsome, dark skin man with a shaved head, was now standing on the platform with his shirt off yelling at the guy with the kids to come out.

The young father was more than eager to do so, despite his obvious physical disadvantage.

I stared directly into his face. “I am not going to let you do this. Think about your kids.”

Every one else, those bounded for USC, or worked downtown, were busy looking at their cell phones, perhaps detached, texting, and posting on social media what was unfolding right before their eyes.

I was finally joined by an older Hispanic woman. She approached us quietly, and gently touched the angry man on his arm.  

“Think of your kids,” she said softly, echoing me.

I watched his face calm down by her words; and perhaps he knew that the two older people in front of him cared deeply about children being traumatized for life by watching their father killed right before their eyes.


In what seemed like an eternity, the train doors closed and moved on leaving the handsome young black man on the platform; and we all felt we had dodged something awful.

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