The Line

Ten minutes ago, on the L TRAIN:

I stared, fascinated, at the red Virgin bag hooked around the yuppie’s fat thumb. After teasing me with a quick peek inside, he pulled out the CD, gently edging it out of the bag as though it was something alive and horribly delicate. His eyes turned glassy with pleasure as he held his purchase out before him. I strained and eventually made out the title, The Best of Johnny Cash. He removed the shrink-wrap in slow motion, like an ant tearing apart a bug. He picked and ripped, dropping the plastic shards back into the red bag, rocking back and forth on his Hush Puppy heels. I closed my eyes and pictured the waves above me as the train hurtled beneath the East River. I imagined all sorts of evil things about him, just for fun, but it didn’t give me my usual kicks. Meanwhile, in my headphones Belle and Sebastian sang “There is misery, in everything I see, and all the people on t.v… After tea when life begins again, they’ll be happier than me…”

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