Getting On

The doors opened, two per car, like eyes, and like mouths, spitting out passengers then swallowing new ones and cramming them into its compacted innards.

But today was different, most noticeably because of the smell. He took a moment to see if he felt like he was dying—no, not especially, and nobody in the car seemed to be droppingly suddenly dead. So maybe it wasn’t a terror attack, and the smell was a familiar smell, if not simple to identify, but had none of the menacing exoticness he assumed toxic agents would smell like. Maybe someone had dropped and spilled a bottle of shampoo? Maybe he’d gone to a school that used the same disinfectant the MTA uses in trains.

Someone had left a promotional pamphlet for the play “Rent” on a seat. He threw it on the ground and sat, laughing for the first time about what had happened when he left, and what was probably happening at the apartment right now. He wondered if he’d ever come back.

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