First off, for those who don't regularly put up with the public transportation
, the Green Line
is hell on wheels
; hundreds of wheels
. It is also much smaller than any modern subway train
, and overcrowding
is almost guaranteed
. Also (remember
this), it's doors
, unlike virtually every modern subway train
, open and close accordian
-style. It is the oldest and most dilapidated of the subway
lines, with the possible exception
of the Blue Line
: the Blue Line reeks
of 1970s failure and decay
, whereas the Green Line
is a moldy oldy
that has seen far better days
. Of course, the entire MBTA reeks
failure and decay.
Regardless, the Green Line is the setting for my tale. In my younger days, one or two years ago, I ventured into Newbury Street, Boston's overpriced, overtrafficked, overrated boutique street. I did this via the Green Line, for I was not yet even close to ready to maneuver the impossible lanes of Boston by car. And so, there I was, on a hot, sweaty summer afternoon, and the train immediately filled with hot, sweaty summer afternoon people. So many, in fact, that the crowd took on the properties of a liquid, flowing into every nook and rusting cranny.
One of these nooks was particularly unsafe, on the steps going up from the door (did I mention that the trains are elevated, trolley-style?). And this nook was filled by a certain young lady possessing, if not beauty, a certain rough-hewed Asian grace. She spoke not a single word of the English tongue, as far as I could tell. And her hands found themselves right along the doorway, right between the crack which would soon jump into motion as the accordian closed.
I, meanwhile, a lucky one, was squarely in the middle of the train, between two doors, oblivious to the coming calamity. The doors closed, and the train began to move; all routine. But there was a certain shriek that pierced the air. Was there trouble along the rails? Were the brakes frantically trying to halt the metal monstrosity before certain doom befell us all?
I looked over, given my vantage point, and saw the nature of this unearthly howl; a lady, screaming in a voice that had no timbre in the western world; her arm, attached to her hand, attached to her fingers, all of which were attached, in a rudimentary vise grip, to the door; Her fingers were all crushed in the grip of the accordian. My stomach fell.
And then I fell; the crowd surged, buckled, jumped, jived. Within a moment I was upside-down, about to be trampled, my life flashing before my eyes. Quickly, I grabbed a shoulder, a waist, and yanked myself up. I looked over again at the source of it. I saw a man, an old man, who looked exactly, miraculously like Colonel Sanders, pull the emergency brake. The brakes came on, and the train screeched to a stop. The doors opened, and the Colonel took the ladie's hand in his, protecting the twisted fingers from further harm.
The scene was over. The train hadn't even left the station. Within a minute, the now-whimpering lady was escorted from the train by an officer of the MBTA, the doors were shut, and the Green Line chugged back into motion. All that remained was an old gentleman dressed in a white suit to tell of the disaster.
I, though, will never forget that scream, not as long as I live.