Monday, June 4, 2012


I learned something new about myself today.  It was down amongst the clack-clackity-clack of the subway cars.  I was sifting through the trash, looking for a half-eaten hotdog I had seen a man throw in there earlier when I heard the announcement.

"Grand Avenue Newtown.  Next stop Woodhaven Boulevard."

I looked up.  Watched as the masses pushed their ways onto the train.  They were coming or going.  I told myself they were slaves to their wages, chained to their desks.  But here I was digging through a trash can, chained to it so to speak.

No, that's not what I learned.  I've known that.  I found the hotdog, the yellow mustard staining the bun.  I hated mustard, it gave me heartburn.  But an empty stomach hurt worse.  I shoved the food into my mouth in three bites.  I was still chewing the third when it happened.  The subway doors closed and I heard a scream.

"NO!   No, please," she cried out.  It took me a minute to find her.  Them.  I watched in slow motion, listening to the drip drip of the water.  It was raining outside.  Oh, yeah.  Them.  A red head, short, mid twenties.  In my younger, cleaner days, I might have approached her, was trying to pull away from him.  I had seen him before, dressed in blue jeans and a black hoodie.He held her blouse with his left hand, the switchblade in his right.

I learned something about myself today.

I am a coward.


archnemesis_goldenhair said...

Would like to see this as just the start of something. You present the character's inner voice in an interesting way.

theTummy said...

"A red head, short, mid twenties. In my younger, cleaner days, I might have approached her, was trying to pull away from him."

These sentences read a little weird and stopped the flow. How about, "A red headed cheerleader type, that I might have approached in my cleaner days, was trying to pull away from him."?

Otherwise, I think this short pierces the inner most coward in all of us. I agree with Archnemesis_Goldenhair that this could be the intro to a longer, visceral tale.

Jonathan Martin said...

I've been playing with the idea of a story set in some kind of Neverwhere (Gaiman's) type setting.

As for theTummy's comment about the sentence, I'm not sure. I'm playing with a homeless person's voice here, I've met plenty of them in my security guard days (and wandering around this countries major cities...)

Maybe change some of the coma's to periods.

A red head. Short, mid twenties maybe. Had I been younger, and cleaner, I might have approached her. She was trying to pull away from him.

Archnemesis_Goldenhair said...

Hard to tell which paragraph is better. On one hand, the second try is an easier read for the audience. On the other hand, the first helps lend to the voice of the homeless man. On the gripping hand, perhaps a balance between the two, use more periods, but add in one more "wandering", or "random" thought.

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