Robustness (part 9)

The glass sign that said “Emergency Use Only” wasn’t necessary pointing to the emergency lever underneath. Without more clarification, Ezekiel couldn’t be sure it wasn’t referring to the bench beneath it, or to the train itself. Not to mention, whatever constituted an emergency was unclear. If one of these passengers passed out, one should probably not pull the lever. Better to let the train run its course. The only emergency worth stopping the train that Ezekiel could think of, was if the train would not stop.

He looked out again, to make certain. If it flew past a station, he would feel better, but he saw nothing but the flashing lights, evenly spaced along the insides of the tunnel. No one else seemed upset, but nothing assured him that this trip would ever end. He examined the glass again.

To reach the lever, one had to break through the panel, but no tool was provided. Ezekiel flipped his backpack over his shoulder, and grasped for any hard object inside. The Rubik’s cube would shatter, and almost everything else was soft, except the automatic. He had forgotten it was in there, because it shouldn’t exist. He forgot about racism, misogyny, classism, jealousy, Coca-cola. He held the backpack in front of him, his hand inside, clutching the pistol. With the bag against the glass, he tried jostling the gun forward, and it made a hard tink that might have echoed around the cabin, might have commanded attention. He didn’t look to see. As far as he knew, no one could see or hear him, and that was for the best. He shouldn’t exist. He should have been gone a long time now.

Tightening his grip, he held the muzzle against the glass. Oh well.

#cognitive-dissonance, #fiction-in-parts, #guns, #isolated, #robustness, #train

Robustness (part 4)

Ezekiel was waiting in the subterrain for a subway train. He fudded the phrase as he said it, and repeated it several times until all the syllables were clear. Someone saw him muttering and made a face. He nodded in her direction until she turned her head and ran away. Had he won?

Though he wasn’t sure what he was waiting for or where he was going, he was confident he would find out. He wasn’t aimless and he wasn’t a vagrant, so he had a reason for being here. In his backpack, he had a notebook, most of which was blank, but a few pages in the beginning had some phone numbers and comments. Leslie was circled, whatever that meant.

Perhaps he should call her, but he didn’t want to talk. The thought of hearing his own voice was too much to bear. Besides, the fact that she was circled meant that he had probably called her already. Maybe she was waiting for him somewhere.

He picked up a discarded matchbook. It had one match left. He put it in his backpack.

Among the odds and ends he had collected included a glow-in-the-dark rubber ball, a Nintendo DS Lite with a brain training game, a self-published book of poetry he would never read by an acquaintance he hated, and a 0.22 automatic pistol, a gun that could shoot things, automatically.

He closed his backpack quickly. Wherever the gun had come from, it was in his possession, and there had to be a reason for it. He felt vaguely threatened. The underground air was stifling, and he couldn’t bear it. He went up the broken escalator to the street.

Leslie was waiting in a nearby square, next to a cube. He was glad he didn’t shoot her.

#automatic-life, #backwards-life, #guns, #idiot, #inventory, #misogyny, #not-misogyny, #uncertainty