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Train Bound West (20)

Hank fell into formation and followed Trainer from the stage. The two snaked their way around the arena’s underbelly, all the while, Hank angled to placate the star before he met his fans. “Remind me to get copies of the dailies to you and Laura. I took a peak at the monitors during the show…

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Train Bound West (19)

Hank’s right fist was still clenched in victory when Trainer arrived at his side. He praised his friend with childish exuberance. “Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. You nailed it, Train. I mean it. Looked great, sounded great, was great. The whole thing, top to bottom, fantastic.” Despite Hank’s babbling exaltation and the fading applause from the other…

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Train Bound West (18)

With that, Trainer was off to the races. For the entirety of two hours he spoke with the enthusiasm of an evangelical preacher to a crowd riveted by his spiritual insights, sage anecdotes, and skilled approaches to calming the mind and sourcing serenity from the turmoil of life. Drawing from a myriad of philosophies, axioms,…

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Train Bound West (17)

“Are you present? Mentally in this building, in this seat, and in your self? Or, is your mind elsewhere, wandering about the universe like a bumble bee bobbing from flower to flower and thought to thought? Are you wondering if you unplugged your curling iron before leaving the house for the evening? Are you mulling…

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Train Bound West (16)

In the earlier stages of his career, while his celebrity and addiction were in their infancies, Hank was naively seduced by Trainer’s abilities to keep it together in public. Trainer’s dubious display of clear-headedness on stage shored up Hank’s denial. Alcoholics were old dirty drunks, homeless man in camo pants and trench coats living beneath…

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Train Bound West (15)

“Thank you, thank you, and thank you again,” said Trainer of the audience and their applause that hung in the air. “As my friend said, my name is Trainer Stephenson and it’s truly an honor to be here with you this evening. “To be here,” he repeated in a softer voice. “I’m here, you’re here,…

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Train Bound West (14)

Ben welcomed Trainer to the stage with outstretched arms before taking his hand with a shake and shoulder with an affectionate pat. With Trainer presented to the arena and his emcee duties fulfilled, Ben exited stage right towards Hank, who watched as Ben’s face and demeanor deteriorated and darkened with each step. “He fucking stinks.…