Waiting for the A train at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station on a summer Sunday around noon to go to work at the empty weekend office a Pakistani or Indian man in his thirties was pacing by the tracks looking a little agitated and then he came over and asked me where the A train was going. When I told him he said, "OK I ride with you." There was something unsettling about his manner and in a flash I thought, OK, this is it, this is how it starts. An intensely uncanny, very real feeling came over me that this was the prelude to a terrorist attack. Something was off and it all seemed so clear that this is how it starts with a nervous overly friendly stranger asking an innocuous question in a totally banal moment. That's when the shit hits the fan and ka-boom it's all over. A blinding flash, searing heat, melting flesh and body parts strewn all over the place. But nothing happened, though that didn't allay my suspicions about this potential terrorist from the Indian subcontinent. A few minutes later the train came and I got on and sat down in the half-empty car, followed by my new friend who sat right next to me. One of those situations when there are plenty of other seats and somebody gets way too close, and now that he was near I noticed he looked a little feverish with a slightly unsteady gleam in his eyes. Also he was wearing sandals that made it possible to see his long and really unpleasant-to-behold toenails. They were hard to look at, but I couldn't help staring. He proceeded to tell me his address and wrote down his phone number on my newspaper, which I thought was a little presumptuous and frankly, fucking weird.
Continues in the print edition, along with two more stories, "Plush" and "Chair Lift Small Talk". Order now.