Candy's Corner - Escaping Sardines


Hello boys, another gem to share with you from a talented Easton Brother.  The poor love had a terrible time in that awful, dirty NY subway, (this is why I never do public transport dears!).  Thank goodness for his unlikely "savior" Rev Yolanda Mapes.   I bring you the deliciously descriptive "Escaping Sardines" by Beijing Charlie.


"Escaping Sardines"


Accosted. The intercom crackles and bites As the conductor repeats his incomprehensible heinous announcement over and over, like Chinese torture. I translate: Subway service is stopping At 36th Street.  All must switch to another Line or the shuttle.

Holy Hell, I'm from out of town, exhausted. Why oh, why oh, did I ever leave Ohio? I don't know from the shuttle. What line am I on now? I'm in Brooklyn caring for a friends two cats. This is god's Manhattan gratitude? I usually live my life On the back of a used envelop. According to my confused new app understanding My ride is supposed to end at 79th Street or Bay Ridge. My plan is simple: take whichever comes first.

I don't believe in math or god or smart phone apps. Still I'm praying this conductor's proclamation Means nothing to me getting home tonight to cats. A glance at the clouded sky From the subway cave, I see the full orange October orb rising. Thank god I don't believe In signs, superstitions or calamitis coincidences. A handsome Afro American father holds his three year old son, As the child twists his baseball cap Backward and then does the same To his father's cap. Matching. Laughing. Isn't this a touch of life? Of reality? No. Not for me. My bad karma rages on. My prayers go unanswered, As this convoy comes to a grinding tired Screeching jerking halt. My car empties like Canned sardines set free in the ocean's flow, The  conductor gives a final benediction. His final garbled plea comes over the intercom. Shocking, These Brooklynites, these natives understand and respond. The shut down starts at 10 PM. In the town that never sleeps. I'm lost at 10:05, In this rush of battered humanity.

Then another Simple idea comes to This out of towner. I will appeal to the person in the subway Booth. She will answer my prayers. The urge to kneel And confess my sins sweeps over me. I explain my predicament. She says, "You are mistaken, Honey. There ain't no shuttle. The subway is runnin' fine. Go back downstairs and get on the R train line.  Who told you it wasn't Working?" She frowns, as I repeat My conductors confusing story. She calls a higher source On the phone. She frowns again and puts The phone down. She's not going to be Tripped up by that answer either. She's not to be questioned.  This priestess repeats Her direction for me to return downstairs. She even buzzes the electric gate, so I get a free ride. (To hell? ) She's right, till I get to the stair well And see all those New Yorkers adjusting, cramming, complaining. Crawling Over each other like bleary awakened snakes.

I slowly descend, cautiously with a dumb founded look On my face. At the bottom of the stairs I see two men.  One wearing a blousie Top of polyester silk and leopard skin print. Has he attempted to wipe makeup off his face?

His partner is wearing a purple bandanna Around his neck.  Does that mean code? Would a straight guy ever make this choice? I'm ashamed of my up tight - out of town thoughts. They give me a cursory glance From the corner of their eyes. Simple enough to know I need help. Without further introduction They ask where I'm going? And oh, yes, Mr. Against Coincidences, they are headed in the Same direction. They will look after me, "Follow us."

The first stage is to crowd Onto this waiting subway. They warn Me, we will also have to deal with a jam packed Shuttle.  They have been on this ride before. It ain't pretty. As  we climb aboard the first train. I notice Mr. Leopard Print is dragging Along a guitar case. I say, "You must be A performer." "Oh, I'm more than that." He reaches into his back pocket and gives me A postcard with his drag photo and a date of A coming show.  They have just come from Doing their weekly spiritual course of miracles. I glance at the card. I know less about drag queens Than I know about the NY subway system. There is no App for my ignorance. But these guys, These strangers who have saved me from the hell Of the subway are two that I sorta know. We were at the same Men's retreat a year or so ago. I didn't recognize them out Of costume and makeup. Reverend Yolanda performed at Easton Mountain! So now, now I'm feeling very rescued. And oddly grateful That there has come to be This, this Subway-R-Train Goddess looking out for me

CommunityScott Harris