Delay on the 1 Train
Manhattan is a strange helter-skelter of vitamin supplement stores, fashion boutiques, twee cupcake shops, and educational institutions very seriously combatting poverty. Living there is very serious, very dream like, or possibly a nightmare. Rent is another thing. You could sell your arm, your leg, your twat, and your butt and still come up short. It’s a hard place to live – which is no secret to anyone. I heard a story once of a woman who had eight children just for the food stamps. Even today she is still a queen of free government hams, plentiful cheese, limitless boxes of Catholic charity macaroni cooked to perfection, and an open door teeming with young sharp teeth and eyes. Have you learnt anything yet?
A subway car runs over a man. Maybe he wanted to be run over. Maybe another bum pushed him on the track after a swig too many of the booze bottle between them, held in common, like a promise. Hard to say exactly why, but for 2.50$, the price of horror, you see and smell the result more realistically than Hollywood can do it in 3D. There is no line for entry – this is not the Kingda Ka kids, this is real. An open human cadaver, freshly slaughtered on the track – and it really does have a unique smell to it. Take a whiff. Now: exeunt omnes to Pinkberry, where in fact the a small seasonal artisan Peppermit luscious cream retails for 5.95$, which is ironically higher than the cost of observing mortality.
Starbucks is open too. I went there instead because my phone needed charging. I sat next to a young lady who was enjoying hot dollar pizza. Who brings pizza to Starbucks? People who like coffee and pizza. I guess that answers the question or both of us. Maybe she is a student.
She is a small girl, and not very attractive, she has no bright future ahead of her, just a lot of guarding parking lots, a distant future husband, and a Christ-mass special Pinkberry “squigglez” card loaded with 50$ from her estranged father which she will lose very soon. She will lose this card while waiting for the 1 train. A man, impossibly well dressed, will jostle her. He is white as snow, has golden hair, and is made of cash money. The colour of his suit is between blue and gray, and despite its drabness, looks very expensive because it shines like silk. In his hand there is a bag – oh what a bag! – the real money evidence, my darlings. It’s the thing that will announce he is serious in all his meetings despite his youth. In fact it is not a bag but a “Distressed camel suede pocket Yrpes Clutch” that merits its own web page with lifetime grooming and security plan. Like I said, young rich white men need props.
As Melinda, and we will call her Melinda because her real name is lost to history, saw this man with more money hidden in his left testicle than the rest of the train mashed up and extruded as a beef patty – she felt a little envy, and a little irony for the Beatz Audio earphones in his head. She’d have shook them out of his noggin if she could, but before she knew it, he jostled her, and her 50$ Pinkbery card was lost, forever, drifting in the outer oort cloud, waiting to be picked up by a bum more perceptive than any subterrene pigeon, regular flightless rat, half-mad MTA employee, or NYU student. The bum would add the cream Pinkberry card to his collection of lost gift ephemera: a card to Jamba Juice, a MET donor society card, a mysterious key card, a confusion of Starbucks cards, a NYC medicare benefit card, and some colourful free coupons for chicken nuggets at McDonalds. All these things and more, including photos of a family long gone, half forgotten, dreamed about, hated, rejected – were found on his body, or what was left of it, on the tracks of the 1 train one late night, and every person who passed him was forced to stop and smell the body.