Empty Subway Car
Linus sprinted down the steps as the backpack he stole swung around his neck. Pupils dilated, he barreled across the walkway and frantically searched for his card. The night clerk watched sheepishly, almost daring him to jump without paying. She hadn’t seen another passenger in nearly an hour. He slid through and paced down the Manhattan-bound track, wiping his palms on the straps.
Linus didn’t attend the party intending to steal ten thousand dollars worth of dope. But it was there – resting on a stained sofa beside a pair of sophomore girls dropping acid. The dudes who brought it posted up behind a tiki-bar, pounding malt liquor and frowning at everyone in their vicinity. Linus didn’t understand why they treated their merchandise so carelessly, but the girls apparently played a role in the haphazard operation, luring horny teenagers into buying drugs. They locked lips for attention and Linus lifted the bag with his forefingers. He made it to the fire escape before they cut the music.
“HEY ASSHOLE!” the dealers cried, catching Linus’ profile from behind the subway pillar.
He prayed the train would arrive before they could cross the platform. Rumbling ensued. Rats scampered along the rails, retreating to safety. The dealers hopped the turnstile as Linus darted onto the car. The night clerk radioed for backup. As the doors shut, Linus ignored their profane-laced threats.
Plastered with old posters and fast food wrappers, there couldn’t have been more than a dozen folks inside, none of whom seemed the least bit surprised by some strung out nineteen year old.
Linus counted three others in his immediate proximity: Angie, Stranger and Logan. Angie applied cartoonish make-up, preparing for her shift. She worked at a club in the city known for loose morals and lavish buffets. Stranger had no eyelashes and reeked of cheap whisky. Blistered skin covered his protruding forehead and orange face. He blew a kiss to Angie, who flicked her long nails, while Logan, wearing construction boots and a long shirt, dazed in and out of consciousness.
“Sup bitch?” Stranger hung his jaw.
He grabbed his crotch and limped towards her; Linus watched Stranger’s reflection in the map.
“I said…” Stranger licked his lips. “Sup bitch?”
Linus glared at Logan, who crossed his arms.
“Don’t,” Angie said sternly.
“What?” he rubbed her cheek. “Don’t act like you don’t want it.”
Angie slapped his hand and Stranger pounced.
“Get off me,” she struggled. “Get the FUCK off me!”
“Or what?” he wagged his tongue.
Logan nodded to the monster.
“Do something,” he said.
“Hey!” his voice cracked.
Logan flung a bottle at Stranger’s head.
“DO SOMETHING,” he erupted.
“HEY!” Linus obliged, pulling Stranger’s sweatshirt as hard as he could.
The two of them fell backward and Stranger whipped out a switchblade.
“Easy man,” Linus said.
“Easy?” he grinned. “Did anyone ask your bitch ass to get involved?
“Then step the fuck off.”
Stranger slashed Linus’ face and he fell to his knees. Blood spilled on the bag and Stranger kicked his ribs. Angie tried escaping and Stranger grabbed her weave.
“Where do you think you’re going!?” Stranger snapped. “We’re not DONE yet.”
He slammed her back onto the seat.
“GET THE FUCK OFF ME!!!” she screamed.
Stranger began unzipping his pants and Logan stood.
“Enough,” he said calmly.
Angie sprayed mace and accidentally hit Linus’ gash. He cried in agony and she dug her heels into his chest. Logan choked Stranger from behind.
“What the FUCK are you doing!?” he howled.
Stranger flailed the blade and Logan smacked it on the floor. Logan shoved him across the car and removed a gun. Expressionless, he pressed it against Stranger’s temple.
“Yeah right,” Stranger cackled. “This bitch isn’t going do shit.”
“SHOOT HIM!” Angie cried, crawling towards the door. “KILL THAT MOTHERFUCKER!”
“Yeah, baby,” Stranger kissed the gun. “Shoot me.”
Logan pulled the trigger and Stranger’s brains exploded onto the window. Both Angie and Linus shrieked. She pulled him onto the platform as the doors opened, leaving the backpack behind. Logan tucked the gun away and swung the bag over his shoulder. Stranger’s mutilated face remained and Logan transferred onto the express.