On the F train this morning at 8 AM, it was the usual jam-packed pressure cooker of the workweek’s first peak hour, the one with children going to school and people in suits and people in jeans.
A black guy who reads style blogs is the last to enter at the Jay Street stop, until a taller guy in a two-size too big suit rams into the back of him, at which he replies, “Can I get a break?”
Two-size too big suit man asks, “What was that?”
Style Blog Reader replies, “I said, ‘Can I get a fucking break?’”
“I said excuse me,” says two-size too big suit man, and that’s that.
Until a young black kid in a yellow hat and sweatpants yells at Style Blog Reader, “Yo, fam, don’t start unnecessary shit,” and SBR replies, “I didn’t start shit, now shut up young fam.”
Yellow Hat says, “I ain’t no scrawny teenager, I’ll take your ass out,” and SBR says, “Sure, sure. Calm down young fam.” And YH says, “You calm the fuck down, man. Get off at my stop and see what happens. Get off at 2nd Avenue and see what happens” And then SBR says, “Man, don’t start shit. I’m composing myself.” And then YH says, “Get off my stop, man. Get off at 2nd Avenue,” and for no reason punches SBR in the face, and SBR just pushes him back.
And a woman starts yelling, “It’s not worth it, it’s not worth going to jail. You don’t want to go to jail, kid” — and she was right, he was just a kid — and he just keeps going, tries lifting up SBR but fails and instead looks as if he is attempting to pick up an ivory column, straining his neck and bugging out his eyes and standing way up on his Jordan’s tippy-toes in a way that just lets SBR keep pushing him away, back into the arms of passengers who are bigger than me, strong enough inside to do something physically, and not just stand there, not just be afraid of the racial implications of a white kid in two sweaters pulling apart two black people and afraid of acting the moral superior. All of the kids are wearing headphones that muffle all the swearing, make them too deaf to care to move from the elbows of the Kid in the Yellow Hat, who would, after putting on his letterman jacket and yellow hat – which had been flung far during the fight – stomp on a pair of earbuds just for the hell of it.
Style Blog Reader tries shaking the Kid in the Yellow Hat’s hand, but nothing happens, just more yelling. The words “dead mother” come from the lips of the kid in the hat, and then another plea for SBR to get off at 2nd Avenue, only this time with the promise of a stabbing. It’s going on, still, until a police officer happened to be walking by the doors of the train at the East Broadway stop, and there the two, prompted by SBR, got off and would try to explain things to somebody who probably would not give a damn about what had really happened, because so much worse was most likely happening somewhere else, and that always justifies everything.