Friday, May 07, 2004

A couple weekends ago I was sitting on the train on the way back from somewhere late at night, I don't know where. Had to have been the 2 or 3 ‘cause that's my train.

I think it was at 14th Street, the train stopped. Well of course it stops at 14th but it stopped a long time. The doors were just wide open there like nothing, like the end of the world had come and gone.

There was staticky babble on the intercom about a police action.

The passengers sat all New York impassive in the glow of their inebriation or the gloom of their late-shift blues.

A cop walked by on the platform, his gait urgent but two steps short of a jog. It's like he was in a hurry to get somewhere but not that much of a hurry when you think about it. Then another went by, and another. And another. And then cops in twos. And another. Then one with his hand on his holstered gun, snaking around like Pecos Bill. Then two with nightsticks in hand. More.

By this time the younger guys were leaning out the door to look. Some stood brazenly on the platform and tiptoed around. A guy returned to the train and told his girlfriend, I've never seen so many cops in my life.

I went out on the platform. Cross-current to the cops and curious stares, there walked an elderly, dignified man in tweed, expressionless.

Something incredibly bad is going on down there, said the girlfriend guy.

We could not see the end of the platform where the cops had disappeared. They just kept striding on down until you couldn't see them anymore and you got a sense that the dimensions of space itself were distended there and some vortex might be swallowing them up. For all we know the earth dropped off and they were tumbling without complaint into the void.

There was no shouting and there were no shots and you could not see a thing.

Then the conductor said next stop Penn Station and we got in and finally the doors closed.