Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Train Ride!

(i never published this one for some reason; it's 3-26-12 now, here it goes, dated retroactively)

Vic arrived at work an hour late. He had been watching a stranger in the alley, from what he thought was a safe distance, through unusually heavy morning fog. He had missed his train, and had to wait on the platform with the front-end of the morning rush hour.

During his twenty minute wait, the platform had accumulated between fifty and sixty commuters, people who worked in the city in tall buildings. Most of them were supposed to be at their desks by eight o' clock. Vic was supposed to be at his post, selling tickets to travelers beneath the street at 9th Avenue Station, at seven o' clock.

As he boarded the 7:15 West Blue Regional to 9th Street, he glanced down the platform at all the commuters. Staring back at him from the same distance as he had been staring at the strange fellow in the alley a half hour earlier was the strange fellow himself. Ben Gemel caught Vic's glance and then quickly broke it, and boarded the train. As this is a common experience in public, and as he could not recognize the placid and anonymous face of Ben Gemel, Vic noticed nothing out of the ordinary, and boarded his own train car.

Ben Gemel took a seat in the nearly empty car. Lenape Station was the end of the line for the West Blue Regional, first and last stop. For the next twenty minutes, through six stops across the expanse of West City, the car was filled to capacity. Throughout his trip, Ben Gemel alternated between studying the attire of his fellow travelers and studying the smooth gray spot in the center of the palm of his right hand. At last, when the train came to 9th Street Station, Ben Gemel stood, thrust his hands into his pockets, and flowed out of the train with a third of the other riders.

Vic exited the train at the same moment as Ben Gemel, unknowing, and dodged across the station until he came to a door marked "MTA Personnel Only". He pressed his palm against a flat, black panel mounted next to the door, and pulled the door open. Inside, he was stopped at the security station, presented his credentials, and then rushed to his locker to retrieve his uniform.

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