Local railroad ticket agent/chief Amtrak lobbyist Chessie Peake is a familiar face in our community. But her life hasn’t been all sunshine and roses.
The ticket agent, an area native, accepted the job of ticket agent and chief Congressional lobbyist for Amtrak after completing two years at the local community college, where she majored in communications and hopeless cause management. A hardscrabble childhood on the wrong side of the tracks, followed by a dead-end job maintaining the national railroad’s only remaining station, had nearly destroyed her every hope for humanity.
But that all changed last week, when Peake overheard an autistic woman quietly singing along to the hit pop song “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles, which was playing over the train station’s Muzak.
“At first I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” said Peake. “I mean, as soon as she walked in I could tell that she was one of those special people. She just looked special, you know what I mean? But then I’m walking by the benches, and there she is, singing about how if you want to find all the cops they’re hanging out in the donut shop.
“The experience of hearing her sing really changed my life,” the ticket agent added. “In fact, I think I’m going to pursue my own lifelong dream of opening a donut shop now.”
Community members applaud Peake’s decision to get a real job, even as they question the veracity of the event that inspired it.
“I’m a man of faith,” said local donut shop lurker Cro Sant. “Show me a mysteriously weeping tree or a grilled cheese that looks like Elvis, and I’m right there with a box of candles. But an autistic person? Singing pop song lyrics? I’m sorry, but some things are just ridiculous.”
“Still, if it gets Peake off her ass and gets me more donuts, I’m all for it, you know?” Sant added.
Researchers at the Local Autism Center for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Tragedies were similarly skeptical.
“While it’s possible that the autistic woman was in fact repeating the lyrics correctly, it’s unlikely that she actually understands what it means to walk like an Egyptian,” said Local Autism Center director Bo Bronco. “Autistic people are notorious for moving around weirdly in order to make normal healthy people uncomfortable and annoyed. Here at the Autism Center for Autism, we use cutting-edge techniques to help autistic people master essential life skills, like not being so damn weird.” Bronco ended the interview by spraying this reporter in the face with vinegar.