Scum of New York


“This how you wanna DIE, shitheel?” – Steve Dixon, lumber camp owner

I’m trying to concern myself with thoughts other than the fact that there’s a German man’s crotch a couple inches from my face. Meg and I are riding the subway back to Queens after an awesome yet exhausting day in Manhattan. It’s stuffy and crowded. I think I might pass out on this bench we’re seated on. The tan German guy with slick blonde hair grasps a pole in front of us. Why can’t he just turn his pelvis a little bit? He speaks to the equally tanned blonde lady sharing the pole with him and it sounds like, “Ja! Mein bulge es en fruunt of zat girl. I weel keel her with my vienerschnitzel.” Sweat beads trickle down my forehead.

Since Halloween is approaching I think about my favorite Tales from the Crypt episode (Split Second). It’s about a demented lumber camp owner who marries this sexy waitress. She gets the hots for one of the younger lumberjacks in the camp and her hubby turns into a psycho. I’m about to turn into a psycho myself with all this undesirable penis business.

The subway begins to slow and screeches to a halt. The doors whir open and hot air rushes into the car. The German couple exits and I thank my lucky stars.  A few more people shuffle in but the car is much less full now. I’m feeling downright awful, though. “Am I the only one sweating?” I ask Meg, pulling my shirt collar away from my burning body.

“I think it’s that medicine you’re taking,” she says. “I can feel the A/C in here.” Yes, it must be the steroids I have to take for the poison ivy rash I’d developed recently. If I hadn’t brought them along I might very well be itching all over the place like a flea-infested monkey. I try to relax and distract myself with people-watching. The guy in front of me has fallen asleep. He’s got his headphones on and he’s slumped in such a way that it appears he has no neck. Soon I’m thinking about Jabba the Hutt and that big blubbery body. Damn it’s really hot in here. I grab my hair and pull it off my neck. There’s a faint ringing in my ears and my vision blurs temporarily.

“I gotta get off this thing and get some fresh air,” I say. “Next stop.” I glance at the corner of the car by the door. An old lady in a headscarf is eyeing me with disapproval. Her face looks like a piece of volcanic rock. With that hunch in her back, large torso, tiny arms, and sharp yellowy eyes, she might be related to Godzilla. I blink hard. I am relieved to say the car slowed at this time and I practically hurled myself at the doors and sprinted up the steps and outside.

Fresh air never tasted so good. We sat on a bench near the station while I recovered. But we weren’t alone. Oh, what fuckery is this? I watched with interest as an impressively plump rat scuttled toward us. I gasped as it made a beeline for Meg’s feet. “Eee! Eeeeee!” I cried with moronic excitement. She looked all around and totally missed it. Our very first rat sighting in New York City.

Later once we reached the apartment I collapsed on the bed. I felt dirty. The collective grime of the city settled on my skin and I desperately needed to scrub it off. Smog, germs, grit, sticky subway floors, vermin…all that filth. The scum of New York.

But I sure don’t mind getting dirty if it’s worth it – and despite my bitching about the heat and threatening genitalia, it really is a spectacular city.


21 thoughts on “Scum of New York

    • Any time, now! *stares daggers at wristwatch*

      They probably would have already if I’d added a few more “Eeeee! Eee!” sounds.

  1. Frau Lauren, warum Sie so schwitzen? Ha,ha, loved this L – always best to get the attention on the subway 🙂

    The old lady in the headscarf had me picturing the one from the film “Drag me to Hell”

    And a rat! That tops it all – bloody horrible little devils!!

    • I swear it was the meds! I have eyes for someone else. 😀

      I know of that nasty gypsy lady. That movie was pretty good, I thought. Her teeth! *shudder* “You…SHAME…meee!!!” *hacckkkk*

      I hope you enjoy the episode. I have to be in the right mood for those since they’re full of cheese. The Steve Dixon character really gets me, though. His facial expressions are priceless.

      This won’t be the last you’ll hear on New York.

  2. Wow! We were in New York at the same time! The Subway was an experience, huh? Perfect for people watching. So much crazy stuff. And I got sick. I don’t know if it was because of how fucking cold and rainy it was on Friday, or the germs of scummy hands grabbing subway poles to balance. lol still, really is a spectacular city. I loved it.

    • Sweet! Yes, and just as you mentioned on your recap, I found myself asking how so many people can sleep on it and still make their stops! But yeah, so many characters on the subway. It’s a writer’s paradise. You got sick, huh? You probably licked the subway poles, didn’t you?! You dirty bird!

    • Haha, oh dear, I KNEW you would have something to say about that. 😉 I was exaggerating JUST a wee bit. I’ve seen your videos and you sound great! Don’t be scared. I actually wish I had taken German in high school instead of Spanish.

  3. ROFLMAO! Lauren! There is nothing worse than a public transport purposely placed poking penis proximity trigger to stir up the ole fight or flight mode unless it’s a large rat attracted to your socks. I prefer standing to risking a forced gustatory appetance assay of gentalia and Zeus only knows where that bum has been. Remind me to tell you about my experience with elevators in Asia someday. I love their feelings of closeness especially when they cram 25 people in a 8 person elevator. I met so many close friends on elevators. 😀

    • There you go with the alliteration! Peter Piper couldn’t have said it better. Next time I WILL take a stand! And you’ve definitely piqued my interest about the elevators. Sounds terribly awkward but you came out with some new friends so it couldn’t have been so bad. Hopefully everyone was wearing deodorant.

      • LOL! Alliteration is my literary stutter. 😀 Yes, Asian women believe in wearing only the best perfume. It was like a flower garden with 25 different scents. The elevators require strategic planning before entering or you have to ride up and down a few times to work your way to the door for your floor. A large group of very short ladies packed into the elevator and they didn’t seem to be as upset as I was about our very intimate contact. There seemed to be a pecking order with the older women shoving the younger women into me to sacrifice them so the older ones could save their dignity. I wasn’t sure this was the place to bestow any blessings so I decided to open a conversation with the top of their heads. This was a very big blunder on my part because the girl in front felt obligated to turn around to face me. I became an American hotdog between two sesame seed buns with one pressed into my back and the other to my front. I talked to the top of her head and she talked into my chest. This all was very nice until the door opened and a stampede to get in and depart occurred. Apparently, there is a way to shove politely. I met several nice people this way. I was just glad nobody farted.

    • Surely a fart would have been lost amongst the intense floral essence? Even your comments are so well-written, haha. No blessings on that day, hmm? That would have been one happy elevator! Hot diggity dog.

      • Ha ha ha ha..! A bouquet of…WTF! I was glad that they recognized I was a barbarian from the west and not held to the special protocols of which I knew nothing about. I had no idea what to do, but thought some polite conversation would take the edge off of primal urges to yodel or make Tarzan elephant calls as we western barbarian male bi-pedal hominids are want to do. But, I must admit, your NY experience blows my little elevator escapades out the window. You are a very good sport.

    • Thanks for reading! Happy to provide entertainment. There’s so many good Tales from the Crypt episodes…I mean they’re so bad they’re good.

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