Prompted: “Don’t be early…”

Of all days to be early, he thought.

The train was late.  It never was, but here he stood, 20 minutes of waiting.

MacKenzie was always punctual.  His grandfather had raised him to be.  It was a matter of integrity, he had said, so MacKenzie always remained conscious of this lesson.  He looked after his health, was rarely ill, and was always at his desk early to get settled in before starting to work.  With a strong history of punctuality and responsibility, they would understand.  He remained frustrated, though.

Quite a few people on the platform were grumbling.  They would be late, but possibly this was not new to some of them.  He continued to wait, focusing on being patient.

It was another ten minutes before the shouting and cursing began.  Hell hath no fury as commuters inconvenienced.  The staff were puzzled as well, not to mention alarmed, and a significant police presence had developed.  That served to calm down the growing throng while staff seemed to grow more frantic.  Could no one reach the train staff?  Was there a failure leaving them stuck in the tunnel?  MacKenzie began to worry about them more than being tardy.

A distant sound brought a wave of relief across the platform:  They could hear the train approaching.  The real trick was not to be trampled by those behind him.

MacKenzies smile of delight changed to befuddlement when he felt cold metal around his wrist and heard the snap of a lock.  Looking down, he saw that a briefcase was now secured to his wrist and the handle pushed into one hand while a cellphone was shoved into the other one.

A soft voice by his ear said, “I am dearly sorry for this, Mr. MacKenzie.”

A woman brushed past him, leaping into the path of the oncoming train.  Shocked, he felt the phone begin to buzz.

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