Let’s see what’s new. Obama: Let ‘the next president’ figure out Afghan troop removal. Heh, I knew it. That Muslim doesn’t have the guts to pull out of there--Of course, right next to it an article about unemployment on the rise--Economy and Finance. Oh, Ballmer is buying Twitter stock. I should look into that--Look at those savages jumping on cars, breaking everything. Well, maybe he had to shoot him. Stay out of trouble and you don’t have to fear the police--Haha! Trump gets high approval ratings. I knew it. Maybe that will shake up those fucking liberals. Finally the little man gets a word in--Wow, that broad on page 6 is hot. Kardashian. Uh, no, thank you, sounds Arab--Oh, see, DeBlasio and Bratton are persecuting homeless on the subway. That’s what we get for electing a socialist. It’s communism all over again with ethnic cleansing and all. It’s a mess alright--Giants demolished by Eagles. Eh, don’t remind me of that.
He folds the newspaper and after looking around he notices that the people walking on the platform are giving him a wide berth. Not only that, some seem to stare at him.
What's their issue? he thinks to himself.
"Waddya lookin' at? What? Keep walking, you fucking hipster,” he shouts as he glares at the passing commuters.He tries to meet their eye, but they avoid his gaze.
"You think you're better'n me?"
Arrogant brats. Fucking hipsters and technocrats making their dime on the little man's back. Bet you they go to work, google their name all day, and make 150K.
He turns the last page of his New York Post. Well, I guess that's it. He begins to tear the pages up into neat little rectangular sheets. He takes one after the other into his left hand, reaches behind his back and wipes his bottom. After dropping the last sheet, he grabs his pants, stands up from his crouching position, and turns around. He is proud of the mound of feces and paper he produced. He closes the button of his grimy pants and fastens his belt. With the rest of his ripped up tabloid under his arm, he scuffles towards the exit of the station while shaking his head.
* * *
Her body weight is grotesquely enormous, but she is still somewhat mobile. Movements take a lot longer for her and her breath is very short. However, as long as she can take the subway everywhere she’s fine. She travels with her little cart that holds the things she needs for the travel: her bag, another bag with her diabetic equipment, a walking cane, Churros, etc. She’s mobile and independent--at least as long as she doesn’t have to climb any stairs. The subway stairs are sometimes a problem for her, but slowly step by step she can even climb those. People behind her will simply have to wait. She can’t understand why they get so upset when it’s just a fact that it takes her longer to climb the stairs than others.
One morning, she reaches the stairs at Rector street and readies herself to climb them up. The staircase is narrow and with her cart next to her, she blocks it completely. Slowly, step by step, she takes the stairs. One foot up, then the cart, then the next foot. Pause. Heavy breathing. She doesn’t care if there is huffing and murmuring behind her. She is a citizen and others will simply have to wait. She has rights, too, you know. Step by step, stair by stair. Heaving, sweating.
It is 9 pm the same day by the time she takes the third step. Twelve hours have passed. The people behind her are sitting on the stairs waiting. A week goes by, two. She reaches the 15th stair. The people behind her have established a relay system to have provisions shipped into the subway station for the meal times. The MTA doesn’t allow the storage of food and living necessities in the stations. By Christmas that year she has reached the middle platform of the stairs. She takes a break to welcome the new year. After a decade she begins to climb the second flight of stairs. First female President, two terms, first Latino President, two terms. Civil war. She’s almost there. Refounding of the United States. Hover cars. She can see the outside now. The people waiting behind her have forgotten where they were heading. Confidently and independently she climbs on. She and her cart. Step by step. Colonies on Mars, first alien contact, space war. Interstellar peace treaty. Beings of pure energy.
Finally, she reaches the top of the stairs. She doesn’t recognize Rector street anymore. Things have changed. She has earned a second breakfast now.