Monday, April 21, 2014

You Got This

            Jared hated standing shoulder to shoulder with all the rest of the human cattle. He was another one of those guys, trapped on a subway car hurtling under the streets, going to a job he only mildly accepted doing. He didn’t like all the heavy breathing and smells emanating from all the other worker bee suckers around him. It made him want to wretch. He tried to make himself smaller somehow. All this touching from strangers and the stinkers made him anxious and sweaty. He never liked being in a crowd and always tried to find a place on the train where he could sort of disappear until he had to disembark. He hated the smell of other people’s breakfasts wafting and mingling together in some sort of cereal, syrupy, coffee flavored hell. It was as if he could actually taste the souls of those around him and it tasted like vomit.

             He tried to shift his weight to his left foot but a woman of significant size had somehow Tetris-ed her way in next to him. Jared felt pinned by her overly accentuated ass. He bumped into her as the train jostled around a bend.  The woman gave him a dirty look as he tried to get comfortable, as if it was Jared’s fault for her being a woman of such large character. Jared tried to shrug but he was in such an awkward position it looked more like he was having a mild stroke. The woman looked down at her cell phone and began loudly clacking a text message. She still had the sound on and Jared could clearly hear every faux type key sound. He couldn’t help himself and looked at the large screen of her cell phone.

             OMG Some people on the train are so rude,” wrote the woman.

             Jared cringed and wanted to say something to her. Something that put her in her place as being the rude one, but then, she would know that he looked at her cell phone screen and that would probably make his argument about rudeness completely moot. He sighed loudly and tried to look left but was met with the cold dead eyes of a frazzled middle aged woman. She was carrying a large work bag, an umbrella (even there was no rain in the forecast), a plastic shopping bag and a backpack with the outline of a tennis racquet poking up.  Jared started to wonder about this woman’s life. She looked burnt out and it was only 7:38 in the morning. She was blankly staring at Jared. Rather, she was staring through him. She was clearly a woman that spent a long time working on her-self and yet was still struggling with her image. Jared wondered if she was looking at the larger woman with some level of distaste.

             The train pulled into the next station and there was a commotion of movement all around him as the worker zombies jingled and jangled their ways off the train and new zombies crushed in. Jared tried to avoid any further contact but he was shuffled further back on the train and came nose first into a man wearing three coats, one of which was wool, which smelled heavily of cigarettes and urine. Jared’s eyes watered and he tried to turn around, but the woman of large carriage had also been shuffled back and now had him pinned. He looked up at the train ceiling and caught himself wishing for some respite, some shining stroke of luck to free him.


             The crowd collectively groaned. Jared felt sweat rolling down his forehead but couldn’t seem to move his hand to wipe it away. He tried to bend his neck to wipe the sweat on his sleeve. He tried to calm down. He took another deep breath but could only taste the stink of the man of three coats. He coughed slightly. The train held still at the station. No wind could be felt. Jared began feeling like an amorphous humanoid blob, like all of the people on this train were actually just one giant lecherous organism, slithering through valleys of the most vile filth.

             The train finally jolted forward and everyone had to regain their train legs. Everyone tightened their grip as the subway car moved forward through the tunnels like a metal mole of damnation. Jared looked up toward the windows and the flickering lights zooming past and he wondered if the claustrophobia of the 21st century was something the people of antiquity could have ever conceived. He wondered if ancient Romans ever had to deal with such crowded and uncomfortable conditions.

             The woman of large carriage next to Jared adjusted herself and he could hear her fingers clacking on her cell phone.  He felt her ample rump against his and he wondered if there would be sweat marks. Two perfectly round sweat marks cast in mirrored imagery on his lower back. Jared suddenly wished he could just ride a horse to work.

             The train pulled into Jared’s stop and he steeled himself for the massive cattle rush of exodus.  It was another crush of humanity, clawing, heaving, forward toward unfulfillment and mediocrity. The train doors opened and Jared was swept away in it.

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