The Southwest Chief

I figured Amtrak was the way to go. Chicago to L.A.. A private sleeper on the Southwest Chief. No checkpoints, no scanners, no dogs. On the second night out we made an unscheduled stop in the desert ten miles east of Tucumcari. I stuck my head out the window. The idling engine rumbled. The night sky was pierced by stars like shards of ice. My breath frosted over. Seven men in suits without luggage huddled with the engineer. They boarded the first car. I exited the last. It was a long walk through the desert carrying that suitcase.

EA Luetkemeyer’s short fiction has appeared in Sou’wester, Opium Magazine, Del Sol Review, Commonthought, Perversion Magazine, The Ilanot Review, and the anthology Stories That Need to be Told. He is the author of the novels Inside the Mind of Martin Mueller and Penitentiary Tales: a Love Story, and the memoir The Book of Chuck. He has been a martial artist, a long-distance runner, an outlaw, a fugitive, a husband and father, and sometimes a fool. He was awarded an MFA in Creative writing from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, in 2015. Please visit his website to learn more about his writing and to read novel excerpts and reviews. He has an Instagram account and a Facebook page. He welcomes questions and comments to his email address,