Shadow (dariaphoebe) wrote,

You'll pray for proof, I'm probably makin' this up

You may (but probably don't) recall this old entry where I mentioned an incident in Covington. A little light on the details, though.

Actually, a lot light on the details. Well, a Twitter conversation about Spanish Jesus (that's a literal quote) reminded me of this particular day.

I was in Cincinnati, actually Evendale, visiting a client of my then-employer. For whatever reason, we finished somewhat early in the afternoon, and I headed out, into the city. Camera in hand, I looked for spots where I might try some interesting railroad photography.

In fact, I found some spots. A few of the pictures are online, even. The first group were in Devou Park, Covington, KY, which has a nice overlook of the valley. The next group, where I'm up close to the tracks? Well, there, the story starts.

From Devou Park, I noticed what was obviously the old Covington railroad station. Upon driving down the hill, I looped for a bit trying to find somewhere to leave the car which seemed reasonable, then walked under the railroad viaduct and up the embankment to the tracks. No signs warned me off, but I stayed back from (and off!) the active tracks. Across the tracks, a guy popped his head out, ducked back, then came over and talked to me. It was rapidly clear he was no threat: he had trouble walking, and carried the odor of cheap spirits.

His first comments were in Spanish, and I thought I heard something about Jesus. Remembering very little of high school Spanish from 15 years earlier, I fumbled out "no me hablo espanol". He switched to broken English, and asked me if I believed in Jesus. "Yes". As his friend came tottering up, he thanked me for Jesus. Uh. Ok. His friend, hearing him, did too. They asked if I had a light ("No"), said something bidding me a good day, went back across the tracks and resumed (I assume) drinking.

A train passed, and I took pictures. Then, another did. Deciding that I was a bit conspicuous, I figured I'd leave. The guys hadn't popped out again, and the trains didn't blow their horns as they passed the spot they'd gone, so I assumed they were out of the way and minding their business.

As I decided to run down the embankment, a police car passed. I hoped he hadn't noticed, and turned to walk back under the viaduct to my car. As I started under, "Sir, please stop."

I turned to face a Covington officer. He asked what I was doing. In what was perhaps a dumb move, I slowly pulled my coat back with one hand (the other hand, thankfully, visible) to reveal my camera under the coat. At this point he figured it out, and said, "Sir, we have a report of a holdup in the area, and you match the description of the suspect." He asked where I was from ("Pennsylvania."), why I was here ("had a break from work, out taking pictures.") and finally asked if I'd seen anything ("just a couple guys drinking by the tracks").

He told me the tracks were private property, and I declined to comment that they weren't posted. Instead I asked if he knew any good spots I might take pictures. Surprisingly, he told me of a spot behind a business about 15 blocks south, and when I got there, idling BNSF and Union Pacific power awaited me. I snapped a few shots, then headed back toward Ohio.

I've been back to Covington since, but never again has anything quite so bizarre happened while I was.

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