The subway platform, as usual, smelled
like an armpit. Worse: a homeless guy’s crotch.
And they were sleeping, all over. One guy Samantha
stepped over, not far
from the turnstile.
But she’d called 911 lots of times. All
false alarms. Drunks sleeping it off, cops said. Always, she was late for work.
The last time she called, the cop who showed up raised an eyebrow, like he’d
recognized her voice. A serial prankster,
he might’ve thought.
She’d worked in the City long enough to
be up on the latest. Thieves, perverts
who rubbed against you on the M train. Nuts who shoved you in front of it as it
roared in. Whether at rush hour, or 2 A.M., none of it made sense.
she thought, as she waited this morning. From some things, you just
couldn’t protect yourself.
An hour late she’d be, thanks to Bingo Joe
and the cats. His aching gut
cut into her bathroom time. And the cats: One had puked in the bed, another had
left shit by the front door. Don’t leave
us, Mommy!, no doubt that meant.
afternoon, Sam, her boss would say. Nice of you to
drop by. She’d be waiting at Samantha’s desk.
But they were called “kiosks,” now.
In all the years she’d worked, things
changed faster than Samantha could keep up with. Bingo Joe misspelled shit 90%
of the time, but she still needed him to download the apps on her phone. “Get
with it,” he told her.
Speaking of phones . . . She slipped hers in her
Thieves were everywhere. The old lady over on
the bench seemed to be sleeping,
but maybe it was an act.
that train? Samantha fidgeted. The longer it took, the worse the platform stunk. She
had to hold her breath.
Finally, she thought, as the
tracks lit up, suddenly.
When the M pulled in, Bench Lady woke up, singing
loudly. “En mi Viejo San Juan.”
With a whoosh,
the train doors opened.
I wish . . . Samantha pictured her
boss at her kiosk, I could join you
The car was empty, except for two guys. And a
guide dog, a yellow lab,
wearing a blue vest. “PLEASE DON’T PET ME,” the vest said, “I’M WORKING.”
When Samantha sat down, the dog looked over, smiling.
She loved animals, mostly cats. When two tenants
died, one from being old,
the other a suicide, she and Bingo Joe took all their cats in.
The blind guy stood, facing straight ahead. Blond,
like forty, he wore
shades and looked like somebody itching for a fight. The other guy,
dark-haired, early twenties, sat nearby, texting away. But they didn’t seem to
Before the next stop, the young guy got up, still
texting. The dog edged
toward him, nudging his leg. Finally, he looked down.
“Don’t pet the dog!” The blind
guy yanked on the harness. “Read the
The young guy froze, as the train slammed to a
stop. “Dude . . . I didn’t
“Her,” the blind guy said,
Oh, jeez, Samantha thought.
“Nobody pets guide dogs,” the young
guy said, looking anxiously at
Samantha. “You go to hell for that.” He hurried off the train.
“That’s right,” the blind guy
Lots of people got on. Before any could sit, Samantha
ran and sat by the
dog. She caught her breath, as it laid its paw on her foot.
“Wow,” she said.
The car was filling up, fast. Still, she reached
out to stroke the dog’s
“Hey!” some suited guy yelled. “What’s
wrong with you?”
“You don’t pet seeing-eye dogs,”
said a bitchy-looking lady. She stood
close to the blind guy, who nodded, triumphantly.
Samantha’s face burned. But the dog was
“Should be ashamed,” the bitch hissed.
All in purple, she was dressed,
like a real kook. And she needed a root job.
From where she sat, Samantha could see right into
Purple Bitch’s huge,
open purse. Served her right if someone snatched all she had.
“Fuck you!” Samantha said.
People gasped. They kept staring as she ruffled
the dog’s ears, then lay
her cheek on its head. “It’s OK,” she whispered. The dog turned and licked her
When she looked up, the “blind” guy
was cleaning out Purple Bitch’s purse:
wallet, laptop, phone.
He checked the time on the phone.
The train stopped, and the doors flew open. On
their way out, people still
gave her disgusted looks.
“Don’t work too hard!” she
told the dog, as the thief dragged it out the
Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife and
talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out a lot, so needs
no excuse to do whatever she wants. She hates shopping and shoes, chick lit and
chick flicks. She’s been published in the usual places, such as Hardboiled;
Shotgun Honey, Twisted Sister, A
Twist of Noir; Beat to a Pulp; Pulp
Metal; Thrillers, Killers, n’ Chillers; Mysterical-E; and Powder Burn Flash.
She is the editor of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s also a Gemini, an
animal rights activist, and a Christian.