It was 8:20 A.M. The train was packed with people and it smelled like it. The train went dark as it entered the tunnel. Not even a second later, the light was immediately replaced with an eerie man-made incandescence. A complete shift had occurred. You could no longer tell if it were night or day.
Vance Afro was utterly sandwiched between a pole against his back and a short old man, further flanked by a woman straining to carry a six-year old child, a schlub who needed to shower yesterday, and a businessperson.
This is probably a good time to pause for an explain this to me moment. The term businessman surely indicates male; and businesswoman, female. Yet when one says businessperson, we insinuate that the gender is female. This has been an explain this to me moment.
Vance was glancing over her shoulder. She was fortunate, for she was perfectly surrounded by fellow passengers propping her up, giving her the luxury of her hands to properly manipulate her very large tablet. She was far-sighted and too vain to wear glasses, which explained the exaggerated large letters on the screen. She was reading an article called, “10 worst jobs in 21st century America.”
At number 4 was professional trombonist, something about the increasing lack of interest in the arts and the invention of Trombonotron®, a robot capable of replicating every nuance of the trombone.
Vance Afro was seething in silence. He was a trombonist, and damn proud of it! This would not stand. Just as he was about to rip his shirt open and cause some reckless shit, a tiny version of himself suddenly appeared on his shoulder with a puff of smoke. It was almost six inches tall.
“You clumsy ballerina. Sit the fuck down and listen to me. You had a good run.” He paused a little too long for dramatic effect, instead the extra seconds made it sound overly rehearsed. “It’s time to move on.”
It was overwhelming how deep his voice was, considering our association with high-pitched voices from little humans, excluding the height-challenged woman on the corner of 75th and Halsted.
Vance shrieked, “No!” and grabbed his figment of conscience and hurled it down to the floor. He lifted his foot about to crush it. The diminutive doppelgänger of Vance, laying on his back in excruciating pain, double-flipped him off and added, “Fuck you loser.”
Vance abruptly woke up in his bed. He was relieved it was all just a dream, but equally rattled by what he currently saw. At the foot of his bed, a dead rat, belly up, mouth wide open, as if in a petrified scream. Scattered on the floor, at least twenty more, in the same lifeless position.
An eight-foot tall creature filled the doorway, a being like nothing Vance had ever seen before. It was wielding a Ginsu® knife like it knew how to use it.