My names Isaiah, I'm an aspiring actor, and practicing narcissist.Questions, anyone?
An old drunk hobo, a drug dealer, and a scrawny black gay kid sit on an empty train station platform at 2 AM… I feel like I’m setting up a joke. Actually I don’t know if the 20 something sitting next to me was a drug dealer, but he looked the part and the old drunk hobo defiantly smelled the part.
So there I am sitting on the platform with the two guys waiting for the train to take me on the next leg of my journey. The old drunkard sits mumbling to himself, and the drug dealer looking guy sits with his headphones playing so loud I can hear them from a few feet away. “Can you turn that down”? I ask hoping the dude doesn’t get pissed, he just turns, nods and the music remains on blast… oh well, worth a try. "This- is- the- train- to- Penn- Station" the announcer robo-voice repeats every so often, and that’s where I’m headed, at least I knew that much I knew my destination was in the same direction as Penn Station in NYC. If I really wanted, if I had some cash, I would go to NYC, I knew my way around due to the fact that Ive spent most of my summer there, taking subways back and forth from audition to audition. But I had neither the money or the time to take a trip to the big apple I had to get home!
Sitting there, I had time to really take everything in, you know? The sound of the crickets chirping in the shadows of the bushes behind the railroad tracks, the smell of the crisp night air. (Its a miracle I could smell anything sitting next to that old guy, seriously is it like an unspoken rule that hobos have to smell extremely bad, maybe if they used the cash they mugged offa people on subways and bought a can of AXE instead of meth or something everyone would be better off, but I digress) so I’m really taking the time to absorb everything. At this point I’m just now starting to come down from the high of using my natural con-artist skills with the taxi driver, he was a really chill guy, but I still enjoyed manipulating him (mwahaha).
Then, the sound of a train in the distance breaks the tranquility of the 2 AM silence. Showtime, I think aloud getting up from the cold, albeit diseased covered platform and dust myself off. I swing my trusty satchel around my shoulder. This is the part I was secretly ruing, the part where I have to figure out a way to sneak onto the train without getting caught.
A ticket to ride the Long Island express is $19.99, I didn’t even have 99 cents. The train pulls up and the conductor pokes his head out of the window to see how many passengers he has to take tickets from, just two, me and the “drug dealer”, the hobo was just chillin there cause he had nowhere else to go.
And for my next trick, I will sneak aboard a train headed for New York City, can’t say this is how I pictured my night panning out. So, quickly I hop aboard the Double-Decker train. Inside was a story in-and-of itself. Drunk college students coming back from some wild party, what looked like a 60 year old hooker in platform shoes and of course another hobo, littered the cabin of the train.
I thought of my older brother Dave when I saw them. If we were together we would have been going on and on with a slew of mean jokes. But there was no time for that, I had to figure out how I was gonna dodge this conductor!
I was having second thoughts about my plan to sneak aboard, but it was two late. The automatic metal doors of the train closed and the train jerked forward, taking off down the narrow train tracks.
I took a seat, and wished I were invisible. I sat for a while watching the borrows of Long Island whiz past me. Maybe the conductor wont come by to check for tickets, I thought to myself, and just as that thought left my mind, I heard the dreaded clicking sound of his ticket hole puncher. I know what happens to you if you don’t have your ticket, train conductors aren’t merciful taxi drivers they’ll kick your ass out, son! I got up from my seat and ran to the top floor of the train, slightly crouched like I was 007 or something ( yeah I was overly exaggerating a bit but hey, heat of the moment ya know?)
I reach my temporary sanctuary at the top floor of the train. I’m good for the moment. “This-is-the-train-to-Penn Station-the-next-station-is- Bethpage” says the generic robot announcer guy on the loud speaker. Bethpage, that sounded kinda familiar I think to myself, its not the town I need to get to, but I’m pretty sure its close. I get up from the dirty train seat and get ready to hop off. I run downstairs and as soon as the doors open I’m out, I made it, made it without getting kicked off in God knows where by the conductor.
I get off the train, oh shit, Ive heard of Bethpage but Ive never actually been to Bethpage, and if that wasn’t the sketchiest lookin town Ive ever been to, aside from Brooklyn and the Bronx of course, but for the first time in my journey home, I was scared.
TO BE CONCLUDED…