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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Angel On The Train

If you need a private detective, I know one. I met him on the train. His name was Angel.

If you live in New York City, you have your crazy train stories. People throwing up, starting fights, cat-calling you or your girlfriend, the offensive preachers, talented buskers, the pretty girl you swear was making eyes at you, the old woman who had a stroke and the people who just watched and did nothing, ETC ETC.

One night I was on the C train riding from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I sat down on one of those two seats that faces three seats. Here's my crappy diagram, I'm not an architect:

Those little blocks are seats.

Anyhow. There I was, reading A People's History Of The United States. The train doors open at 14th Street and in walks my story. Two inebriated men. The first guy is small in stature and loud in voice. The other is the opposite. Small in Stature (SIS) is just itching for a fight. I could tell the moment he entered that car. He's shouting and laughing really loud and just asking people to look at him for too long so he can start some shit. If I could, I would've moved cars, but I didn't want to draw attention to myself.

So, SIS and Large in Stature (LIS) sit down here:

And I think to myself: Fuck.

And that was an appropriate thought because SIS starts spitting the largest spitwads man has ever known into the seats right next to him. He took his time gathering all the spit he had in his small body to ensure that the entire seat was covered. Nothing that Howard Zinn was saying could distract me from large pools being created. I was terrified.

The strangest part, well one of the strangest parts, was that when new people got on the train and would almost sit down on the Spit Seats, SIS would warn them against sitting down. He would put his hand up and say "Don't Sit There" and then he would shake his head in digust as if some other psycho had spit on the seats and he was protecting the innocent.

I knew it wasn't long before SIS got bored of his seat watching duties and turned his attention to me.

That's when he looks at my book and asks me what I'm reading. I can barely speak, so I just show him the cover. He says: "Naw, don't read that shit." My defense against aggresiveness is to giggle quietly, so that's what I do. But he's serious: "No seriously, put that shit away. Don't Read It." He wants to start something with me, and I have no idea how to get out of this situation. So, I close the book and look at my phone for a second, acting busy. Not wanting to look like a complete chump, I start reading again after a few minutes. He notices.

"What did I say? Don't read that! You can learn that shit on your own. You don't need no book."

I'm kind of startled by the fact that he has some reasoning behind his command and as if he's capable of more reasoning, I say: "I didn't learn about this in school, I have to read it now." SIS is not convinced by my argument and he pushes my book closed and reminds me "Don't Read That Shit."

LIS, who has been silent up until this point, tells SIS not to bother people. "I'm not bothering this guy." He turns to me "Am I bothering you?" I just giggle quietly. "See I'm not bothering him."

"Her," says LIS.

SIS doesn't hear this, and I turn quickly to LIS, catch his eyes, and shake my head, pleading. Let's not get into this territory, my book is already making things really difficult. LIS doesn't push the issue. We start chatting and I'm granted a short reprieve from SIS's troublemaking. LIS tells me he's a Private Detective and gives me his card just in case I need someone followed. We shake hands and he introduces himself as Angel.

I guess in the midst of our conversation, SIS realized I wasn't a guy. "Oh, you ain't a dude" he exclaims. "No" I say. "You think I'm sexy?" He asks, very seriously. I giggle quietly, while inside I'm crying. He asks me again, this time louder. More giggling. He looks around to see who's watching this interaction and catches some dude staring at us. He stands up to confront the dude. The train pulls into my station. I rush out as I thank Angel for his card.


  1. I love this story! Awesome diagrams. Are you sure you're not an architect??

  2. I wrote this story for the diagrams. And for Angel.

  3. you're a very effective storyteller. all i can do after reading this is giggle. and cough - because crying on the inside feels like lungs have little tear ducts that i obviously can't wipe. miss you. (and not NYC subways)