Category: Stories

Subway Stories- 3

October 5th: A man bumped into me, as he wasn’t watching where he was walking. “Asshole!” I said, as I turned around. The streets were bombarded and overflowing with shoppers, movie-goers, theater-goers, hoodlums, tourists, bicyclists, roller-bladers, fat people, skinny people, black people, white people, Asian people, Spanish people, tall people, short people, assholes, sweethearts, clones, gentlemen, ladies, and then there was me. Dodging people left and right, as people persisted in Texting and walking or simply walking sloth-like, really showing they were not from New York. I hate this part of Manhattan. People think about New York and this is the place that comes to mind: Times Square. Tourists flock here like flies to shit; it’s disgusting. I finally approached the corner of the street, where all the cars, trucks, horses, motorcycles, buses and cabs flew by. I waited impatiently for the red hand to stop blinking and the stupid motion-less florescent man to light up. The man appeared and this woman, who was jogging in place next to me with her iPod, darted ahead of me to cross the street. With sirens increasing in volume, everyone else knew what was coming and stayed on the street corner. The jogging woman reached the middle of the street when a huge screech was heard. The sirens grew louder trying to signal to the woman to get the fuck out of the way. Everyone gasped, as the woman was seconds from getting flung fifty feet in the air by a speeding fire truck. Now I never block out all sound when I listen to my iPod.

October 1st: I had just gotten off the 4 express train at 125st and I walked across the platform to wait for the 6. The beats of a man banging on some construction buckets for cash droned out the voices of two young women standing next to me. Both women were pushing baby carriages back and forth as if trying to put the babies to sleep with the rocking. One woman wore a tank top with a short jacket and her stomach was bare, with an obnoxious navel piercing. She had on skinny blue jeans and heels, as did the other woman who wore a very revealing shirt and had piercings covering her face. Their nails were done, their hair was done and they had way too much make-up on. Their attire was somewhat surprising considering their age, which appeared to be early twenties, but they did already have children making them seem much older and more mature. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation: “Yo, did I tell you that shit that happened to my kid the otha day? Yo, this shit was crazy! I was late for an appointment and I got stuck wit no one to watch em, so I had to bring his ass. So I’m rushing and shit so I throw Junior ova here in da strolla and I’m running wit the strolla to get to the meeting. Yo, when I got to buildin’ I realized I forgot to buckle the lil nigga in! His body was halfway out the mofuckin’ strolla!” She said this laughing hysterically all throughout. The other girl laughed just as loud and said: “Yo, that would have been hilarious if he done fell out!” The 6 finally came and I got on and took a seat. The two women with their “strollas” sat directly opposite me. The train was pretty crowded without a seat available. I hunched over and put my elbows on my knees, as I was tired due to a long day. I looked over to my left and saw what appeared to be a woman of Hispanic descent with her three children all sitting down quietly. All three children were bundled up as if it were dead winter already. The mother, however, did not dress as warmly. She had on a light sweater and a mean look on her face. Almost as soon as I saw him, one of the children jumped out of his seat and ran all the way to the other side of the train car. The mother quickly got up in a hurry and began cursing in Spanish at the boy. I saw the boy’s face and immediately felt sorry for him. His face had the expression of pure fear and hatred wrapped together. When his mother got to him, she grabbed him by the hood of his coat and lifted him up, near choking him. She yelled at the boy and cursed and then proceeded to drag him by his hood all the way across the train car floor. As he was being dragged, the poor boy hit every single pole his mother passed. When the mother finally got back to her seat, she lifted him once again by the hood and punched him swiftly in the head. She threw him on the seat and he began crying. The other son and the daughter sat motionless in fear that they would be next. The mother sat down and yelled at the boy one last time, and he struggled to stop crying. Meanwhile, the two young women sitting in front of me were eyeing this horrific event. As soon as the mother sat down, the two women started clapping and hollering: “Damn Right! You see? That’s how you gotta treat yo kids! They aint gonna listen less you treat em like shit! Gotta get that respect.” The other woman nodded her head in agreement and I shut my eyes waiting for my stop.

September 15th: As I walked along the gum-ridden platform, I eagerly waited for the express train to come and dreaded the local because I wanted to get home as fast as possible. I passed the benches as the smell of fresh shit and piss lingered from this African-American man stretched out on the floor. The express 5 train came and I was relieved to finally escape that awful smell. Once inside, I turned and leaned against the opposite door of the train, I immediately noticed the same smell in the train, as that dirty man came into the same car. The smell seemed worse as it became trapped in the confined space of the train car. The man sat down and immediately people got up to save themselves. The man had on a thick long trench coat that was once light beige and is now a pure dark brown. He had on shoes that talked and stained pants and holes up and down his legs. The once-white shirt he had under the coat was now also covered with stains, probably, from sweat. I leaned against the door about half a train car away from him and simply minded my own business as I was enjoying the calming music on my iPod.  The dirty man became more recognizable now as he sat up on the train and began drooling down his crusty beard. His eyes were red and glazy and his hair full of lint and not at all groomed. It could have been assumed the last thing he had cared about for quite some time was his hygiene. “MuuthaFucka! God Damnit!” he yelled as he pulled a crumpled cigarette from his ripped pocket. Half of the tobacco had fallen out as he tried to straighten out what was left of the cigarette. He put the cigarette in his mouth, on the side opposite the drool, and began eagerly searching through his pockets. Shifting left and right, digging in each pocket, he finally found what he had been looking for: a lighter. After moving so frantically and opening his jacket, the man’s funk rose higher as I tried not to breath through my nose. It’s times like these I hate remembering that smelling is almost the same as tasting.  I couldn’t help but notice the stares of all the other commuters waiting to see what this man would do next. The closet person to the man was a little old woman who was clutching her little purse in her lap and sported a big church hat and leather gloves. Her expressionless face was not changed one bit by cause of the smell or what the man was about to do, but other people seemed to express just the opposite at the man. As quickly as I noticed the stares the man was getting, so did he. The man froze with the lighter in mid-air as he looked up to all the scowling faces. “WHAT?! What the fuck you mothafuckas lookin’ at? Huh? I can’t fuckin’ smoke? Sheeeeeeit I smoke if I want god damnit! This a free mofuckin country so don’t be giving me no looks! Nun youse!” As I noticed the commotion, I paused the song on my iPod to hear the event unfold. The man’s voice was harsh, as if his throat throbbed in pain as his vocal cords vibrated from the classy vocabulary he had used. None of the other passengers dared to say anything to the man as a “No-Smoking” sign was displayed directly above him. Even I knew it would be foolish to get involved with such a man in this situation. Knowing how he reacted to simple glares, I knew his reaction to an actual confrontation would be cataclysmic. And causing a scene, especially on the subway, is not good for anyone. I quickly glanced over at the man, as I had been witnessing the entire scene thus far from my peripheral vision. The man immediately noticed my attention and once again froze in lighting his deformed cigarette. “What the fuck you lookin’ at nigga? Is you a mofuckin’ cop? Huh? You a fuckin’ pig? Cuff me nigga! I can smoke whereva the fuck I wants!” Knowing he was simply trying to instigate something, I did not respond. I simply kept my glare directly at the man and did not say one word. He finally lit the cigarette and blew it in the old lady’s face. As more then half the cigarette was already missing, he was only able to get one or two puffs. Almost as soon as the man lit the cigarette, the train entered the next station and as soon as the doors opened the crusty man ran out the train. The man left his mark as his smell had polluted the atmosphere. I moved to the next car and turned my iPod back on in peace.