Just Another Day -- David Kane, Copyright 2011
The train was finally arrivin' when this idiot jumps in front of it. Now I'll be late for sure. What a schmuck. Aaaah, what are ya gonna do? I guess I'll call in and tell 'em I'll be late. Shit! I sure ain't shellin' out 40 bucks or more for car service. Even if I had it. I better get ta the pay phone. Of course my cell is outta minutes, again. Shit!
Ok, good. No line and one person usin' the phone. Hurry up you asshole. Blah, blah, blah. Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. Come on, come on. Shit! "Excuse me bud, I need ta make a call right away, it's an emergency." The guy turns, gives me a look, then goes back to his yakkin.' What an asshole. He gives me another look and then he says see you later into the phone and hangs up. Finally! I tell Frankie, the third shift guy that I'll be late, some asshole killed himself and my train ain't goin' nowhere anytime soon. I'll go the other way and take another line, but that'll take an extra forty minutes probably. Frankie says ok and hangs up.
Back up ta the platform where everyone else has the same idea. I'm thinkin' about the dead guy now. He was only about twenty feet away from me and I got a good look at him. Now that I think about it, he sorta fell forward, not really a jump at all. About my age, dressed nice, his shoes looked new. Geez, life sucks, but still. What if it didn't kill ya? What if it just, you know, sliced your legs off or somethin'? Shit! People are crowdin' around tryin' ta see . . . see what? If the guy is dead or just sliced up? Crap.
There's a cop tryin' ta keep the crowd back but he's losin' the battle. There's another cop down on the tracks and the motorman is standin' around lookin' sick. Man, I wouldn' wanna be him. Not his fault, but still.
I feel the platform rockin' a bit and I look towards the city and see the Coney Island bound train at the next station. I find an empty spot on the other side and I wait. The "F" train pulls in and now the platform is swayin' pretty good. Almost empty, I get in and turn around. It's only two stops ta the end 'a the line.
Ok, I'll take the "D" (which used ta be the "B", but the MTA needed ta confuse us cattle I guess). An hour later I get out at 34th street and start walkin' east. I coulda changed at 14th street and been on Park, but I prefer the walk and I'm still thinkin' about that guy. Anyway, I'm already late. I'll pick up a coffee and donut or somethin' at Jack's wagon.
Quarter to ten, just about what I told Frankie. I been workin' here for almost twelve years and it's ok. If ya don't mind the stiffs and the stink. Not a lotta responsibility which is how I like it. I'm like a utility player. I'm really a janitor, but I do all sortsa things. Whatever they ask, I'm good with it. I'll make the coffee, bring 'em supplies, even help unload the stiffs when they come in. Sometimes I even help the coroner undress and wash down the bodies.
Sure, it gave me the creeps a bit when I first started, but none 'a these stiffs ever got up and started walkin' around like zombies or nothin'. Ya know, with their arms straight out and that slow, shuffling gait? Ha! Yeah, it's a good gig.
First thing I always do (after changin' into my uniform and havin' my coffee and donut) is mop the floor in the morgue. Gotta keep this place clean. Plenty 'a disinfectant. They got these stainless steel, refrigerated slidin' drawers for keepin' the bodies in 'til they get picked up. The whole room is kept pretty cool actually cause sometimes they just store some bodies here for a few hours on those rollin' tables 'til the coroner gets to 'em. In fact, they got three of 'em here now. I just roll 'em outta the way as I mop.
Ya know, those shoes look familiar. This one must be really fresh, still dressed. Holy shit. It's the guy from the "F" train. I don't believe it! What's he doin' here? Ok, now I'm gettin' the creeps. It's like he's followin' me. Lemme finish up fast and get the hell outta here. I'll mop the hallways now and then take a break. Geez, I'd have a smoke if I didn't give 'em up six years ago. I'm gonna ask the coroner what that stiff is doin' here anyway.
Hey, Lenny, good to see you says George, the coroner today, as I come through the doorway. I want you to help me with this new one. Get him undressed for me, will you? Geez, I hope it ain't who I know it is. Shit! It's him. Mr. "F" train. Ya know I saw this guy get it this morning while I was waitin' for my train. Really, says George, that's pretty weird, huh? Hey, what's he doin' here anyway George? Well, some people don't think it was an accident and they want me to check him out. Who was this guy anyway I ask. Seems he was a Fed on some big case, but he's just another body now.
I start with those new shoes -- shiny anyway -- then the socks, and I work my way up from there. This guy looks pretty good considerin' he was under a train not long ago. In fact, I don't know why he's dead. I don't see any damage; no crushin' or nothin'. Weird. Hey George, you want me to wash him down? Not yet Lenny, I need to check him first, just bag the clothes please. Already done I tell him as I strip those damn gloves off. George, you mind if I stick around, give ya a hand if ya need it? That'd be fine Lenny, I could use the help flipping him when the time comes. I should be getting to him in about ten minutes. I'm gonna catch a little air if that's all right George, I'll be back in ten. Fine, Lenny.
I'm outside on first avenue, it's a beautiful day. Sunny, cool, slight breeze. So why is that guy dead I ask myself. Maybe he had a heart attack. Here comes a guy smokin' and I ask him for one. Sure he says, and offers me a Marlboro. Thanks man I say as he lights it for me. Shit. Used ta be my brand too. Figgers. All it takes is a fresh stiff that I seen get it ta get me smokin' again. A little rough on the throat but I needed a smoke. Why am I so bugged out anyway? The guy's dead. Sure, I saw it happen but so what? All I really saw was the guy fallin' onto the tracks and the train rollin' over him.
I flick the last of the butt into the gutter and head back inside thinking I'll get a closer look at what killed this guy. As I walk into the coroner's room first thing I notice is that the table that had the stiff on it is empty. Then I see George layin' face down on the floor. I take three big steps, squat next ta George and turn him over. He looks ok, no blood that I can see so I give him a few light slaps while callin' his name. "George, hey George, ya ok?" He starts ta stir and I get a lab coat, roll it up, and put it under his head. Still talkin' ta him I get a wash cloth and let the cold water saturate it, then I wring out most of it and wipe his face and put it on his forehead. He kinda groans and asks me what happened. Like I know. "I just walked in and you were layin' here. And the new stiff is gone." Another groan. "Help me up Lenny, slowly." I sit him up slow and after a bit I help him into a chair.
"Did you say the new guy is gone, George asks incredulously. His table is empty and I don't see him layin' around anywhere I tell him. Damn, someone must've come in here, knocked me out and taken him. Why would anyone do that? Don't ask me man, body snatchers? How are ya feelin', how's your head? I'll live, I guess, but I should have my head examined. Yeah, I say, agreein' with him. Hey George, let me get doc Jones for ya, ok? Good idea Lenny.
I come back with the doc and then I get outta there. On the way out I notice the empty bag under the empty table. The bag that had the clothes in it. Now why wouldn't they just take the whole damn bag? It takes a good chunka time to dress a dead body, especially if ya never done it before. This is gettin' weirder all the time. I need another smoke. I leave the building ta get a pack at the deli across the street. Screw it. Better a packa smokes than a bottle of booze I tell myself. As I'm waiting for the light ta change on first avenue I glance uptown and I see this guy tryin' ta hail a cab. He has shiny shoes and he's dressed sharp. Looks about my age. Looks an awful lot like the dead guy as a matter of fact. He takes a long, hard look at me as a cab pulls up, and then he shoots me a little smile and gets in. On second thought, I think I'll get that bottle. And the packa smokes.