“We’ll never make it on time now,” the newest subway passenger, George, lamented as he checked his wristwatch.
Moving quickly past a razor-boned, nearly nude Goth couple osculating next to the entry, he walked by the requisite sleeping derelicts and a few other nosy individuals on his way to the rear of the ramshackle car. As he plopped onto a hard plastic seat, he made a muffled sound of irritation. George glanced around the foul, narrow compartment, his sallow expression approximating a grumpy hatchet fish. Finally settling in for the ride, his tall, thin frame protruded from the uncomfortable bench like a wire coat hanger.
After a lengthy pause there was a loud buzzing, followed by the sudden release of vapor, as though a pressure cooker was about to explode. The grimy doors closed with a shriek in the ripe air of the car; outside, he noticed a few latecomers milling on the platform as the train departed.
Impulsively looking at his watch once more, he purposely lit a cigarette in defiance of the torn, pornographically defaced No Smoking sign.
These meetings at the Home Office are such a pain in the ass…
Studying the other riders as he took a long drag from his next to last smoke, he saw no one that he recognized: the amorous Alternative couple; the gaggle of mephitic, fitfully napping winos; some old crone with a black veil staring out of the window, her gnarled hands stroking a large white rat; a dazed looking, finely dressed older man streaming blood from his temple.
“Quite the motley crew.” His leg hopped nervously as he huffed a small cloud from the corner of his mouth. The old train lurched suddenly, causing the tunnel lamps to flicker. George stared from a barely open porthole near his head as the locomotive gathered speed, starting to daydream as graffiti adorned pillars and torn movie posters flashed by in mesmerizing smears of color.
“About time we were underway… Just my luck to catch an overdue train.” Another startling jolt caused him to break away from his thoughts; glancing around in annoyance, it was then that he noticed the reflection of a young man in ragged military regalia and dark sunglasses watching him from across the aisle.
He turned to face the man, voice edged as he spoke over the noise of the subway: “How goes it? The name’s George.”
The youth smiled cryptically. “Mm. They used to tease me about my coat, you know.” . . .
“What do you see?”
“Well… she’s walking toward me… slightly out of focus, with these visual trails, like bad video… she’s – gliding, in slow motion; sort of drifting… back and forth – like she’s hovering off the ground…”
“I don’t know; I’m tied to the bed. I can hardly see anything – feels like I’m strapped down at the forehead, too; My eyes are straining in the dark –”“What else is happening?”
“She – she moves very – erratically – I intuit more than see how she moves, if that makes any sense… it’s like a video tape on fast forward: darting left, then right, then behind my head, all crackly… it’s like she’s in more than one place at a time – The room we’re in is long and narrow… like an MRI tube almost, and there are – how would I describe it? Kind of – flashes: very intense red and green cutting through the gloom, like strobes or something…”
“What’s she wearing?”
“Hmmm… She’s in like a — a long gauzy cloak thing with a hood, but her body underneath is naked; she’s voluptuous: curvy hips; tiny waist; big, bouncy breasts; flat stomach; her pubic hair is neatly trimmed… where her skin appears, though, it’s raw and… fluoresces like under a blacklight… And she’s – she’s torn up… bones pushing through the pulp.”
“Is there more?” . . .