by W.P. Coyle
The morning had hardly begun, but it was already a rough one. A fresh leak had sprung in the ceiling above my bedroom. I sat on the toilet, constipated, and heard the drip-drip-drip of water on the hardwood floor. I knew I was going to have a sucky day. Then a train hits someone and gets me stuck in the tunnel. For like ever. Of course, that’s just when the laxative kicks in.
As I push through the turnstile, I realize that it’s pouring. I’ve forgotten my umbrella. Although forgotten wrongly implies I gave enough of a shit to have tuned into the weather report. Or at least glanced out the window.
So, I’m looking around for one of those crappy free newspapers to drape over my head like an idiot, and the same douche bag who’s always up in peoples’ grills giving them garbage keeps interrupting my search, trying to hand me some flyer for a free therapeutic massage.
“No, thank you.”
“Don’t treat me like that!”
I look at his face for the first time. A front tooth is missing. “I don’t want one.”
Now, this man must get rejected a thousand times a day, in a thousand different ways. I’ve seen people shake their fists at these guys, ignore them like they don’t exist, even push them aside. Why is he picking on me?
I ask him.
“You’re smug. The way you walk.” He starts walking around like me, flapping his arms. “You think you’re better than me.”
I pull out one of my business cards. “Here, I’ll trade you one piece of litter for another.”
“Get your hand out of my face.”
I sidestep around him and head out into the rain without a newspaper.
“See you tomorrow, asshole,” he sing-songs after me, like some school bus bully. I flip him a reverse bird and keep walking, letting the rain pelt my face, giving up on all of it.
When I reach the corner of 42nd and 3rd my heart is thumping and I’m dizzy. My neck is stiff and to twist my head I have to turn my whole body around.
I try to calm myself. I’m stressed, that’s all. It’s our busy season and the days have been long. I need relaxation. A margarita. A vacation. Hell, maybe I just need a good old-fashioned therapeutic massage.
I turn my body around stiffly and walk back to the station like a zombie.
The man is watching me. He’s fidgeting, opening and closing his fists in the chilly air.
I approach him, dripping, smiley, fixating on hot oils and warm towels. I reach out for a flyer, close to his face.
W.P. Coyle is afraid of puppets and once ill-advisedly broke up with a supermodel because she listened to LITE-FM.