Somesuch Nonsense

Steve Barclay's Blog

Archive for the tag “Chicago”

The Thirty Second Train Pitch

He came onto the train car after we’d pulled away from Sedgwick station. The Brown Line, rush hour, and I wondered just how he thought he was going get through the whole crowd of us packed in shoulder to shoulder, most of us with bags and briefcases and dressed for winter in multiple layers of overcoats and sweaters. Usually that’s what people do when they cross from car to car. They’re looking for someplace to sit on the next car, a car that’s not so crowded or one that stinks less. I already had my back pressed up against the steel pole and the plexiglass. There was nowhere else for me to squeeze to let some dumbass through who thought he could just truck on to the next car while the train was in motion.

But, I heard him anyway. “Excuse me,” and I felt the shift of people move to let him through as best they could. Then he stopped next to me. I could see him out of the corner of my eye, though I didn’t look right at him. “Excuse me,” this time louder, a voice to get people’s attention. “I want to kill myself,” he said.

I met the bewildered gaze of the woman next to me, and both of us elected to look away from the guy with the suicidal thoughts. I’m sure she was thinking the same thing I was: Please don’t do it on this train. Not here. Not now.

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