The Last Subway Car
There is one car on every subway line. It never appears on the inventory and no one cleans nor services it.
It doesn’t need either. Its wheels never rust. The steel interior always gleams. The plexiglass over the always-current, eternally-germane advertisements never cracks and never clouds over.
Don’t look at the car too hard, though. Don’t notice it and try to peer through the windows to read those ads. You might see they are all perfectly tailored for you. You might see they call you by name. You may want to get into the brightly-lit car and sit on the perfect green seats.
Don’t. Please. Look away. Find something to read instead — a newspaper, the route map on the kiosk down the platform, an incoming text message from the stranger who saw you looking and somehow knew your number.
You might have already stood and walked toward the car. It is so clean and orderly. The transit employee in the sharply-pressed black pants, longcoat, and the strange long wooden implement in her left hand smiles. It is easy to smile back. Step. Smile.
Longcoat! The longcoat! Transit employees don’t wear longcoats!
Step into the car that once was an ancient boat, poled forward on a river of all things ending. The transit employee smiles wider and asks for the coins that are her due.
Coins! You have no coins! Why don’t you listen?? ANSWER YOUR PHONE! Don’t ge–
The doors snap closed behind you like teeth. The car moves on.
I didn’t write anything last week, you might have noticed. My lack of writing was the subject of this weeks issue of Thursday!, the newsletter that comes out on Wednesday. You might like it. Why not take a look?
Part of the reason for it (and this part isn’t in the newsletter) is I think I’ve been pulling back from writing the truly creepy stories that come to mind. See, I wrote a book mostly for kids. The next couple of books you’re likely to see from me will be like unto the first as well. Writing poetry that will delight a kid (or even a big kid) requires a different mind set than you need to write a story like I wrote last week or today. I like writing stories that snarl a little bit, that creep and titter in the shadows. I like hauling those demons out and slapping them onto paper where we can get a good look at them. Maybe the world looks less horrible because of it.
This week’s story is a return to that. I’ll figure out how to do both. Part of the solution, no doubt, requires that I write the story in my head instead of the story I think might be “best”, whatever that means. I’m sure all you veteran authors are nodding your heads sagely, but this is still new to me! I’ll figure it out, though. Eventually.
(Photo Credit: igorovsyannykov on Pixabay)
(Get in on the prompt writing right here.)