by Kevin Hayes
I noticed the sign, “Rat Poison,” hanging across from me while waiting for the D to pull up. I moved forward to look down, to see the poison, the rats, something. The soles of my shoes were thin; I could feel the bumps on the yellow strip that marked the last foot of platform. My girlfriend always cautioned me about standing too close to the edge in the subway tunnels. People’ll push you, she told me, they do it all the time. As if subway murder was an epidemic, as if trains could barely pull into the station, so glutted were the tracks with the shoved. But when I realized someone was standing behind me, I casually moved against a column, pushing my back into it, not caring that it was dirty.
A weird mix of people stood at Fordham Station waiting for their trains to arrive. Bronx locals, muscled blacks in tanks and low-slung jeans, one leg rolled up. Puny students from the prep school waiting to go home to Westchester and Connecticut. The prep students wore jackets and ties, impossibly big book-bags strapped to their backs. When the New Haven-bound red line pulled up, it was accidentally on the middle track, the inaccessible one. It stopped, then, as if shrugging, pulled away. The next train was in an hour. The students began throwing things at it, hurling bottles and cans. Some even opened their bags and threw notebooks and pens and pencils at the train.
Waiting at Scarsdale Station, a group of older women, all wearing pantsuits and dark prescription glasses and too much perfume, were loudly chatting with one another. One stepped past the yellow line to bask in the sun a bit. What are you, crazy? another said. You’ll get pushed; there are crazies all over the place! And I heard the bold one, the one sunning herself, say, This isn’t the Bronx, Meredith or Judith, or something. But she didn’t say Brahnx, she said Brawnx, and I knew that she hadn’t gone as far from it as she thought.
Kevin Hayes is currently a student at Fordham University, a Literary Assistant at the off-Broadway MCC Theater, and the Content Editor of OurModernAmerica.com, a recently created e-zine devoted to cultural criticism. He has previously been published at In Posse Review.