Short Story
                                 Elaine Doesn't Miss the Subway
                                                                     By William Quincy Belle


     Elaine walked around the barrier and started down the stairs into the subway. Frankie was being such
a fucking jerk. Why did he always have to freak out over money? She always pitched in when she could
and she was doing her best. Shit, she had to take this stupid medication to keep things under control but
she felt so shaky every time she took it. Smoking a blunt was far better. Instead of getting her all wired up
like the prescription drug, a joint mellowed her out. She felt calm, cool, and collected.

     But now? She skipped her medication this morning because she didn't want to feel off but
unfortunately, she discovered she didn't have any more weed. Now she had to go cross town for a dumb
appointment about part-time work which looked about as attractive as shit. Crap, who liked working for a
living? That sucked. But Frankie had to freak out about her staying there and not coughing up her fair
share. Jesus, didn't she let him fuck her? Didn't she blow him once in a while? It wasn't like he wasn't
getting anything out of the deal. Guys are such fucking assholes.

     Elaine got down to the bottom of the stairs and walked the short tunnel to the platform. A few paces in
and an advertisement on the wall caught her eye. She stopped and stood in front of a poster. "In any war
between civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man." She read the sentence several times
mulling over the meaning. Her eyes fell upon two words in red: "Stop jihad." Yeah, stop those goddamn
terrorists. Stop those goddamn Muslims.

     A certain anger welled up in her as she thought once again of 9/11. It had been startling to watch the
twin towers collapse and it was still startling to walk by the memorial and see the empty space where the
buildings used to be. She missed them. In her mind's eye, they were an integral part of the New York
skyline as much as the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building. A few years ago, she had been up
to the Top of the Rock to view New York from the 70th floor observation deck and had sadly looked over
toward the place where the World Trade Centre buildings had once stood. To her, this was a big hole in
New York that would never be filled. Those goddamn ragheads.

     Elaine stared at the poster and mumbled to herself, "Fuck." Stop jihad. Those terrorists had a thing
coming to them and she would like to do her part. Would anything make up for destroying the twin towers?

     She looked around, glanced again at the poster then strode toward the platform. Elaine's mind was
going a mile a minute as she ran over all the things troubling her. Without knowing it, she was muttering out
loud and as she walked by, a few people stared at her. But it was New York; it was a big city, and it wasn't
all that unusual to see somebody who might be a tad off. Tad off? Heck, there were real crazies running
around.

     Elaine walked down the platform about twenty feet then stopped and leaned against the wall. She
rubbed her hands together. Shit, her palms were kind of sweaty. Damn, this wasn't turning out to be the
best of days. Yeah, she needed to go across town for a job interview like she needed a hole in her head.
Fuck, why wasn't there any weed left over? That would have made this so much more bearable. If she
doesn't get this job, there will to be another fight with Frankie for sure. Brother, who needs that shit? If that
dumb bastard had a better job, this wouldn't be a problem. But no, that dipshit is too stupid to get himself a
good job. No, he can only get some shit job. Fuck, fuck, fuck!

     Sadiq Gupta was living the American dream. He came to the States in his late twenties from India. He
spent a decade doing minor jobs but lived frugally to save his money. Even though he was university
educated back home, he had furthered his education on a part-time basis over the last decade. It had
been a long haul but now he had gotten himself a certificate in business administration at a local
community college and he was making a go of it on his own. Enough of working for somebody else; it was
time to work for himself.

     For the past five years, Sadiq had worked for the Anderson Print Shop. It was a small business and for
whatever reason, Sadiq had fallen in love with the printing business. The clients were friendly and the work
was interesting. There always seemed to be a new challenge, so he felt the work was never boring.

     Mr. Anderson, the owner of the business, had taken a shining to Sadiq and took him under his wing.
He had shown Sadiq the ropes, so to speak, and a friend said that Sadiq was like the son Mr. Anderson
had never had.

     Was it a surprise when Mr. Anderson announced his retirement, he offered to sell the business to
Sadiq? Sadiq was elated. This was an excellent opportunity; this was his dream come true. After working
diligently for a decade since coming to America, he was now getting the chance to step up. He would be
the owner of his own business. Yes, this was the America dream. This was his chance to make his fortune.
Okay, this wouldn’t be a Donald Trump fortune, but it represented a certain financial independence. He
would have something he could call his very own.

     Mr. Anderson had left a note on the door of the shop that the business would not open until 10:30am
today. The two of them, Mr. Anderson and Sadiq, had an appointment with the lawyer to sign the
documents transferring ownership of the business. They had worked out a decent financial settlement
which would be good for both of them. The cost of the business wasn't onerous for Sadiq and the monthly
payments spaced out over the next five years would make Mr. Anderson's retirement a little less
worrisome. Going from working and having a steady income to not working and having to live off of one's
investments was a cause for concern. Who didn't wonder if they would have enough money to pay all the
bills? The golden years were golden only if you had enough gold.

     Sadiq descended the stairs and went to the platform. He glanced at his watch and saw he would have
more than enough time to get to the lawyer's office. Sadiq smiled. He had to admit to himself that he was
more than a little excited. Things were coming together. Life was good.

     Exiting the short tunnel from the stairs, Sadiq looked up and down the platform. He had been riding the
subway for years and knew the exits of many of the stations. He would always walk to that part of the
platform to board the train where the exit was located at his destination. A friend once asked him how he
knew this but after you ride to the same stations over and over again, you end up with a mental list of
various travel details: position of the destination exits, locations of public washrooms, and how close is the
nearest Starbucks. Isn't this part of life in any big city?

     Sadiq knew the subway station for the lawyer's office but never stopped there. He wasn't sure of where
the exit was so he decided to stroll down the platform, get on the train anywhere and try his luck when he
got off. Walking the length of the platform wasn't that big of a deal and you couldn't prepare for every
eventuality.

     He went about twenty feet down the platform, stopped, and looked toward the tunnel where the train
would come through. He glanced at his watch again. In an hour he would be the owner of his own business.
Mentally he said to himself, "All right!" and did an invisible fist pump. This was going to be good.

     A slight breeze had started up. Sadiq heard a few clicks in the metal rails. The train was not too far up
the tunnel approaching the station. Other people moved from the wall or got up from the benches to
prepare to board. The breeze had turned into a wind and pieces of newspaper lying on the tracks flew
around. The noise of the train increased in volume as it got closer. It burst out of the tunnel and roared
down the length of the platform.

     Elaine leaned against the wall muttering to herself. Frankie, medication, goddamn it this was one lousy
fucking day. She looked up. She looked right at brown-skinned man standing in front of her. Elaine
remembered the words "stop jihad" from the poster. Those fucking terrorists. Those goddamn Muslims.
How dare they destroy the twin towers? How dare they destroy an important part of her New York? How
much bullshit was anybody supposed to put up with?

     Fuck it. Elaine moved from the wall, took two steps then placed both of her hands on the back of the
man and pushed. She pushed with all her might. She pushed the man across the platform then pushed him
off onto the tracks. Fuck them. It's about time she did something to get them all back.

     Sadiq felt himself being pushed across the platform toward the tracks. He was startled. What was
going on? He dug his feet into the floor but he couldn't stop himself moving forward. Sadiq half turned and
said, "What...?" when he went over the edge and fell off the platform. He fell between the two rails. One of
his feet landed half on a tie and slipped off. He twisted his ankle and felt a sharp pain. He rolled forward
and put out his hands to catch himself. There was a deafening roar. He looked up. The subway train was
coming right at him. Sadiq panicked. He knew he only had seconds. He jumped up and stepped back to
the platform. A stab of pain shot up his leg from his ankle and he winced. He put both hands on the edge of
the platform and jumped up. He couldn't get enough height to get back up on the platform and fell back to
the track.

     Elaine watched the train sweep the man out of the way in front of her. She stood watching the train
carry on down the track before coming to halt. She looked up the length of the platform. Everyone was
staring at the train. A few people had rushed forward to see if there was anything they could do.

     Elaine looked back at the platform where she had pushed the man on the tracks. Maybe she shouldn't
have done that. She turned and headed toward the exit. Behind her, a voice yelled, "Hey!" She ran to the
exit and hurried up the stairs. She needed to get out of there and she need to get out of there fast.

     When Elaine got to the street, she stopped and wondered where to go. Back to Frankie's she
guessed. She'd miss the job interview but better that than stick around at the subway. She ran down the
street. Jesus, she could really use some weed about now.

                                                                             END
About William Quincy
Belle

William Quincy Belle is just
a guy. Nobody famous;
nobody rich; just some guy
who likes to periodically
add his two cents worth
with the hope, accounting
for inflation, that $0.02 is
not over-evaluating his
contribution. He claims that
at the heart of the writing
process is some sort of
(psychotic) urge to put it
down on paper and likes to
recite the following which
so far he hasn't been able
to attribute to anyone: "A
writer is an egomaniac with
low self-esteem."

You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of
consciousness here
(http://wqebelle.blogspot.ca) or @here
(https://twitter.com/wqbelle).
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.