Six a.m. and this cold molded plastic bench is already wearing its grooves into me. Getting used to the uncomfortable shimmying of the train is not the hard part. The hard part is Brooklyn to the Island
back to Queens and out to Manhattan. Everyday.
This is just my job seven days a week. Ride the trains, act as a silent assassin
. Say it slowly, under my breath. Keep my head down, do not make eye contact. I am one the first of many more to come. The watchers
. People who integrate themselves into your daily routine. People who do not seem out of place or suspicious, but whom you should be very cautious of. We know your every move.
I know who gets on this train and when. I know where they get off and where they go when they slide
through those doors. I know what building they enter and what office they sit in and which windows they have views from. I know where they live, where they play, and whom they do it with. It’s just my job seven days a week.
Ride the trains, act as a silent assassin
. Keep an eye out for anything out of place. That purse left on the bench at the front—it’s my job to pick it up and investigate. When it turns out to be nothing I will drop it in the lost and found. When it turns out to be something, I will be the hero
I can defuse any bomb in 4 seconds. I can smell gunpowder from a mile away. My eyes have been trained to spot the minutest details. I am a watcher
This is just my job
seven days a week. Twenty-four hours
a day. I live on the trains and I will probably, sooner or later, die on the trains. I am the reason that it is safe to ride the trains. I am the reason why they have not been infiltrated. I have picked up many suspects. I have been responsible for the avoidance of many catastrophes
No one understands my purpose here. I cannot tell them. They ask questions, What if you are on the wrong train? What if you don’t see what you’re looking for? What if, what if, what if. I do not answer
Six-thirty a.m. Eyes down, reading the paper
. Here is the moment. Black jacket, two benches ahead of me. Briefcase. White male, six-foot-one. Anyone else would have never found him. He will wait until the regulars get off the train, I will sink into this molded plastic bench until he does not even see me. My eyes have never left him this morning.
He is the last one to exit, now. Rush upon him and pull him back, knock the briefcase from his hands. Silent assassin. He is gone before anyone else even has a chance to get in the car. No one sees this happening. Pull him to the back and toss him out on the tracks. The wheels begin moving beneath me again. Return to the plastic bench, open up the briefcase. Exactly what I suspected. You can make a bomb
out of anything if you try hard enough.
Ride the trains
, act as a silent assassin. It is just my job
seven days a week.