Why doesn’t that dirtbag shut up? All I want is a quiet ride. Is that too much to ask? Instead I have to listen to him yelling, “Do it! Do it, baby!” He just sits there staring at his phone and giggling. He must be watching porn, and he’s definitely high on something. I don’t know why they let these guys on the subway.
Now he’s holding his phone up and showing it to the woman sitting across the aisle. “Look at this,” he says. “Look!”
She keeps her eyes on her magazine and tucks her purse under her arm. The purse looks expensive.
“Hey, look at this,” the guy says, waving his phone around. “Do you do this? Huh? Do you do this?”
“No,” she says without looking up from her magazine. She’s a pretty lady with a really nice haircut.
“Aw, c’mon,” he says, like he’s being really sweet. He pushes his phone closer to her face.
From behind me a man’s voice rings out. “Hey!” A big guy comes down the aisle to the front of the car where the one with the phone and the woman are sitting. He’s not only big, he’s built, and he’s got that clean-cut look—buzz-cut, clothes pressed, shined shoes. Maybe ex-military. Maybe he’s an athlete. He’s wearing a big, heavy ring on one hand, like a championship ring.
The big guy stands there staring at the phone guy. “Did you touch her?”
“Who the hell are you?”
“Did you touch her?”
The big guy glances at the woman, “Did he touch you?”
She shakes her head.
The train slows down. We’re coming into a station. There’s no one on the platform, which isn’t unusual at this time of night.
The big guy loses his balance and grabs the bar. The phone guy jumps forward. Big guy grabs phone guy’s hand. They lean in, close to each other. They’re pulling each other back and forth.
The woman tries to scream but sounds strangled. She jumps up and runs toward me. With her coming down the aisle, I can’t see what the guys are doing.
The train stops and she runs through the door behind me. The rest of the people in the car run out the back door.
I look up front and see the big guy is still hanging onto the bar while his legs are buckling. There’s blood on his shirt.
Phone guy pushes past him, and goes out the front door. Once on the platform, he puts his hands in his coat pockets and tilts his head down, doing that walk that makes him look like he doesn’t want anybody to look at him.
The doors close, and the train moves on.
Big guy is lying on the floor. There’s blood all over.
I look out the back door of the car. No one in the next car seems to notice what happened. The same goes for the car in front.
I walk forward to see how the big guy is doing. He’s lying on his side. His eyes are open but they aren’t moving. There’s a knife on the floor.
The way he fell, one of his arms reaches out toward me. There’s that ring. It’s got a big red stone in the middle and initials on either side. It looks like there are diamonds around it. Of course it could be a knock off. But it’s bound to be worth something.
I check the car behind and the car in front. Nobody’s watching. I go down on one knee and pull on the ring to get it off his finger. It’s stuck. I lean down, spit on the ring, and twist it around a few times. It slides off his finger. Easy-peasy.
The ring in my pocket, I stand near the door, waiting for the next station, only a minute or two away. An old woman is looking at me through the door to the next car like I’m a dirtbag and I wonder what her problem is. It's not like I killed anybody, right?
About the author:
Rick Homan lives in San Francisco. Along with performing as a guitarist and leading tours at the Maritime National Historical Park, he writes mystery and suspense.
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