The Unswung Bat

Sunday, February 08, 2004
Down Goes the Shaving Head

Remington electric razor remington electric razor

A weasel chorus rang in Paul's head and he sang along under his breath as he paced the length of the St. George subway platform, eastbound beside the westbound tracks. He'd chosen a crowded time of day.

The moment he picked was perfect, and this was his way. He moved when there was the least resistance, and possibility peaked. The crowd eased up around him as the rush from the tunnel broadened from a whisper to breath. They were far enough away that no one would try to grab him when he moved, that they would have second thoughts and that would be all he needed.

Only the Remington
gives you the comfort grip

When the human perimeter was as wide as it would get with the train at the perfect distance, its headlights just filling the mouth of the tunnel, Paul lept onto the tracks. His body was stiff, and bent, arms at his side, fists tight. The brakes of the train started to wail and Paul heard some people shout, but most hung their mouths open without knowing to scream until the others clued them. Then the platform erupted.

Paul saw the train charging him, saw a black man in the corner of his eye. The man was fat, wore a sweater and a lighter jacket than most. Paul didn't have to look to know his expression was bleak and wide-eyed. He'd been tripped by the same doubts as everyone else: 'is he really doing it?' If he hadn't stopped for that thought, the man would wonder, could he have grabbed Paul? And truth be told, if he'd lunged without thinking, and was lucky, he could have. Now he stood with one foot on the edge of the tracks and one foot not far enough behind, stretching his hand to Paul in a desperate way and yelling.

"Come on, man! Come here!"

Paul raked his arm as if flinging him away, and this was all the dismissal the man needed, terrified as he was and alive with the first thrills that would grow into guilt. Paul could almost hear nothing but the train.

That's how the Remington
gives you a closer shave

And with the train immediately before his eyes the air was sucked from his mouth and blasted across his face, tearing at his hair and clothes, making his shirt slap him madly. One headlight was in front of him, like a baseball. It flew in.

Cleans you, thrills you, may even keep you from getting -

He felt the pressure of the last breath before the fatal push and the one headlight became his world, he leaned forward singing through his teeth, and in an instant was gone in an explosion of drops of light that flew in every direction, whirling, spiralling, through walls, pillars, and people without leaving a mark. They passed through the man who had stood by the tracks, passed through the train, through legs, stomachs and brains and dipped, curved and faded out leaving flash traces in the eyes of bystanders. When the train ground to a dead stop there was nothing there.

The panic that had shaken across the platform was replaced by an unusual calm that no one experiencing it could explain. It made the police interviewing these relaxed witnesses feel as though there were things crawling in their heads. There was no flattened body on the end of the train, nothing under it but tracks. No marks but the broken glass of one lamp that shattered upon impact leaving a blackened collar burned around its housing by electric sparks.

There was nothing to be seen, and no conclusion to be drawn. Everyone went home and left the story to rumor, which could do no harm. But some of them as they went, who had been touched in the right way, in the right place, were singing under their breath.

-- --

I don't know how this blog turned into a many-person diary, and it kind of sickens me to look back on it, since that's exactly what I didn't want when I started it with the goal of writing more. I'm not going to quit blogging, I like most of this page, but I am sure as hell going to remember why I'm here and what has no place here. I shoulda known better.

In the meantime, I'll miss Max's blog but it was probably about time for it to die, and hopefully I'll be starting work on a magazine with him soon, which is a much better use of the internet. The guestbook remains open for signing but don't expect this page to be taken over by . . . rage cookies. Or any other kind of cookies. It's mine and it belongs to what I write, that's all.

original site + text contents ©2004 twenty oh four by me called it

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