Mr. It'll Be Better
Only One John R.

One of the more unusual modes of transportation we experienced was a train that, once we got to the Scandinavian seacoast, continued to board into the underbelly of a cruise ship. We crossed the Baltic Sea and, once docking in northeastern Germany, got back on another railroad track, which then took us to our final destination, West Berlin. We each had sleeping compartments on the train we shared, two to a room. The cruise ship was also a gambling casino with restaurants, entertainment and a few bars. It was frigid and dark out on deck, but also very mysterious, foggy and foreboding.

John R. and I shared a compartment. I got some kind of vodka with a sprig of mint in the bottle, which smoothed it out and gave it a Schnapps quality. We had a party, with a few Swedish lady passengers as innocent guests, jamming some vintage Ray Charles on my tape player, smoking Cuban cigars and playing cards. This is what we lived for! Around ten o'clock in the evening, the conductor rapped on our door and commanded us to shut it all down. "It will be better," were his exact words. Better? I'm thinking. Only more vodka and fewer clothes would be better. We tried to calm it down several times but he kept coming back until, finally, he closed us down for good and everyone went back to their respective bunks under his watchdog eyes.

"TALES of a ROAD DOG" - 'The Lowdown Along the Blues Highway' by Ron Levy
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