Writings & Whatnot by Rob Hill
The great electric worm burrows beneath the East River in the direction of the city. Morning commuters try their damndest to avoid eye contact with each other, hiding behind newspapers, novels, makeup kits, and eyelids. An ageless woman wrapped in a blanket tosses pistachio shells on the floor underneath her seat. Three separate people are wearing eyepatches, unrelated. A mustachioed businessman stands with his crotch as conspicuously close as possible to the face of a seated girl who closes her eyes and wishes herself elsewhere.
The door at the far end of the subway car slides open and the roar of the tunnel comes whooshing in. A character has arrived. He wears a shimmering spacesuit with antennae on his head and carries a gleaming saxophone made from an unearthly metal. The genetic result of George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic mating with a Teletubby. He pushes back his cape and speaks.
“People of Earth, I have come bearing a message and the message is this.”
Then he presses the instrument to his lips and unleashes a cascade of cacophony. It sounds like a madman driving a jeep through a cheese grater. Those unprotected by earbuds or headphones hastily cover their ears. Those with some kind of prop quickly bury themselves deeper in it. At the other end of the car, two resourceful young commuters escape through the emergency door into the successive car. After nearly a minute of this, the unendurable squawking mercifully lets up and the interloper announces, “Now, if all of you will contribute some money I will promise to stop playing.”
Hands dart into change purses and wallets, prayers there is enough change to send this wandering space mutant back to the planet from which he came.
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