Saturday, July 4, 2009

"The Phlegm-Spitter"

by Miranda von Salis



What is with this kid? I think. I stand, freezing my ass off, on the train platform. It's filling up with people watching for the train, but I'm transfixed by the boy to my left.

You get to know the people who catch the same train as you. I have a number of people to watch, so what is he doing disrupting my morning schedule? He leans over and -- PHOO -- spits down. I will name him "The Phlegm-Spitter."


*

I always like putting my feet up on the seat next to me even though every person who walks by shoots me a horrible look. It's kind of funny to see people's reactions.

I sit behind him instead of in my normal seat. I think I'll just ride until he gets off; I want to see where he's going. There isn't anything worth doing in history class anyway.

He has his iPod on way too loud and he's gonna go deaf. I want to tell him but I know I won't. I don't want to hear his voice and plus --

It ruins the fun of it if they know you're there.


*

I look out the window and see his reflection. He's staring at the trees rolling past. He looks kind of wistful and I have decided it is because his parents just told him that they are getting a divorce.

Maybe he's running away -- his backpack does look really full. Yes, he's running away because his parents fight all the time. Now I have to see where he's getting off.

He taps his leg to the music -- not well. So I know he's not a musician. He doesn't look like a musician; well, maybe a piano player, but everyone plays piano. My parents tried to make me play it but they got sick of paying the teacher when I didn't show up.


*

"NEXT STOP: TANTOWN"

Oh, wait, he's getting up. ("Tantown.") There is absolutely nothing in ("Tantown"). Where does he think he's going?

He is such a disappointment. I hope he knows it, too. Maybe he found something in Tantown. Maybe he's going to go and live in an abandoned warehouse and run a puppy mill.

"WATCH FOR THE CLOSING DOORS."

He's gone. I can see him walk past the windows. Where is he going?

In a second, I get up and the doors close behind me. I can see his head moving away. I shoulder my backpack. I wasn't going to learn anything at school anyway.

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