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Commute

Morning events.

Such a commute: a man stumbling through the train with a huge billboard hung around his neck. “The FBI will want to talk to this cardiologist!” he yelled, and we all looked away. I snuck a look at his eyes. They stared out straight and wild. On the Broadway-Lafayette platform, a man in a Gold's Gym jacket watched a pornographic DVD on a tiny player. “Now that's anal! Go and fuck it!” said the player, its words punctuated by thick, wet noises. I looked over, and tried to get a peek, but the man shifted away and then got on the B train. I came out on 50th, and halfway to 5th Ave, a tall albino construction worker passed, walking the other direction. He carried two 2”x4's. I turned to look after him, and another man began to scold me: “Yeah! Go ahead and stare at my friend! The freak albino! That fucking freak, right? Stare at him!” I turned away, ashamed, and found a man in front of me. “Give me twenty dollars, man,” he said. “God, please help me!” I gave him the change in my pocket, and entered an office building. I signed for the security guard, and waited an eternity for the elevator. An impatient bicycle messenger waited with me, tapping his feet, along with a short man with a four-inch wire protruding from his ear, into which he apologized for arriving late.

On the third floor, a group of women in smocks entered the elevator, smelling of haircare, and one said to the other: with a thick Queens accent, “I told her, you wear those highlights you look like something else. You're older now, you want a classy look, like mine.” The other woman laughed. One the 9th floor all stepped off, and I rode to the 11th by myself.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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