I’m on a train, commuting. To a job. I’m a commuter. Could I have possibly arrived?
Enter Colleen, commuter extraordinaire.
She sits. I say hello. No response. Great.
I sneeze, more than once. Apparently I’m highly allergic to snobs. She offers a tissue. “Oh, I must have been wrong about her,” I think to myself. I proceed to open up and share how excited I am for my first day on the job. Zero to sixty, here I come. She begins to warm up to me.
Enter Kevin, Coffee carafe carrying, ego-stroking, commuter God.
She lights up as he takes a seat.
She introduces us. Kevin scoffs. “So our table has been invaded yet again.” This is gonna be good.
My sneezing returns. Add assholes to my growing list of allergies.
Kevin starts talking about how awesome it is to commute by train, rather than sitting in car on the 91 with all those “idiots”. I see his point but dude, simma.
Colleen pulls me into the conversation by telling Kevin about my special day ahead.
“Lowe’s huh? That hardware place?” Kevin smuggly asks.
“Well no, not exactly. That’s ACE, the helpful hardware place.” I retort, smiling as I nail the jingle with spot on accuracy.
Unimpressed, he returns to his conversation which oddly takes a wild turn into what he explains as the inconceivable living conditions of the “lower-class worker.”
Colleen shrugs and grabs her MK and proceeds to dig around for her lipstick and mirror.
Kevin continues to express his opinions for how anyone can live being ok with not wanting to better themselves.
“Some people don’t need a flat screen and hot tub in the backyard.” I throw out carelessly.
He ignores my petulant remark. Now he’s just teasing me. I’m quite experienced at being ignored. This detered me only for a few moments as I go inward and silently scorn myself for even opening my mouth at all. I hear someone’s voice from my childhood utter in disgusted embarrassment, “JENNIFER!!” followed by the “Glare-down”.
Kevin’s voice jolts me from my flashback.
“They’re all addicts and criminals. They shouldn’t be allowed in our communities. I’m sick of seeing them around, like that homeless pair at the Orange Station.
“The couple with the pit bull puppy?” I ask.
“That poor dog,” Colleen pouts.
Kevin confirms my inquiry.
“The same couple that is hooked on heroin, running drugs for that coward sitting on the wall nearby, wearing the clean sneakers and looking over his shoulder all the time?” I ask, trying to bring some clarity to his judgements.
“They can stop if they wanted to.” He claims, sipping from him carafe.
Now I need to breathe.
“That couple is imprisoned inside their addiction. It’s guys like that Humpty Dumpty on the wall that enslave them and feed the. The keep them the drugs just to promote himself. Remove his kind from ”your” communities and maybe then we can get in and get those people the help they really need.”
“They like living like that,” Kevin dismisses my statement.
“Sure they do. Yea, they enjoy being abused, starved, controlled and pimped out; watching as this guy leaves every day for home as they are left to sleep on concrete.”
“They deserve what they settle for.” Kevin continues.
“They deserve a chance. You’re dead wrong about them.” I finally submit.
“Looks like they’ll be dead soon.” He laughs, looking over at Colleen, winking.
Silence crashes in, leaving my heart pounding with nowhere to run. I begin to wonder if I’m in the presence of evil.
Colleen cuts into the awkward silence.
“Oh Kevin, why can’t everybody be like us?”
“What, perfect?” Kevin smirks.
They laugh and set up their next karaoke date night around their spouses being out of town.