The dancers on the subway didn't bother me, placing their boombox right at my feet while they made their speech announcing themselves as the “Breakin’ Brothers”, it was the two thirty-something women across from me who actively ignored the dancers and started talking louder about how they both thought the homeless problem would be improved if there were less public bathrooms.
As the two main boys, announcing their names as Derek and Tony, started doing back-flips down the car, other boys popped out of their seats, using the bars like gymnastic equipment. In total there must have been 7 other people hidden in the crowd who were secret dancers. It was very well done.
"They are doing a great job," the boy next to me with his hoodie pulled over his head said.
"I know," I said "with talent like that they could really go somewhere."
The subway was headed to South Station, where I was going to catch a train that went from Boston to Chicago and then to Boulder Colorado. I had a quick picture in my head of a street in Boulder that I must have seen on an album or in a book and it seemed like where I wanted to be. I was sick of people like the two women across from me, and sick of the the failed relationships that I constantly ran into in the city. My exes and I all loved all the same things and places (that’s how we found each other and why we started dating), and I had begun to avoid a good deal of the city just to keep from seeing them. There were other, vaguer reasons for leaving Boston too, but the former were the ones on my mind, and the ones moving my body at the time.
"Is your wallet worth more than your life?" Derek the dancer yelled at one of the women I was sick of. She didn't seem to know how to respond to his question and so he pulled out a gun from behind his belt buckle and yelled the same question even louder. Babies started to cry as the woman turned over her wallet and let Derek look through her purse.
"What about you bitch, whatchu got?" Tony asked a man at the other end of the car.
"These guys are so stupid," the hooded kid next to me said. "How are they going to get out of South Station without one of these people tackling them and yelling ‘cop’. I'm keeping my head low and not getting into any trouble tonight. I'm gonna try and pan for enough change to get a ticket to my parents house."
I agreed with him that it was a bad idea, but it was actually pretty smart to rob people between these two stops. It took at least 7 minutes to get to the next stop, and when we did get there it would be so busy, especially that week with the dog show going on, that if they can duck and maneuver for the first couple seconds they'll be able to blend right in.
"OK let me tell you how this is gonna go down," Derek started yelling with his gun as conductor’s stick. "I'm gonna come by with my shirt pulled out like this and Derek is gonna do the same, and you are all gonna drop your wallets in, and if you got a nice looking watch, your watch too. Does everyone understand?" And with that last part he pointed the gun back at the annoying lady's face.
"Tony I cant believe you’re doing this shit," a girl said who was sitting near me. "You’re a fucking idiot and your gonna go to jail."
Derek looked at Tony to make sure he wasn't slowing down on his wallet collecting and when Tony felt his gaze he looked at the girl and then back at Derek nervously. "Shut up bitch, me and Derek are getting this money and we're getting the fuck out of Boston. You don't have to come with us if you don't approve ‘a how we're doing this."
The hooded boy next to me giggled.
"Shut the fuck up Gabe. Your such a baby you were too scared to even dance," Tony's girl said to him.
"Yeah Gabe," Derek said, "get the hell up here and start collecting wallets."
As Gabe got up he knocked into the baby that was sleeping in it’s mother’s arms next to him and the baby started screaming. this got all the babies in the car to start crying again. In the distance I could hear another sound starting, like they were doing construction on the station, or a lot of people were playing bongo drums.
Gabe started with the woman with the screaming baby, but she only glared at him and he didn't persist. He came to me next and asked in a way that was more "please" than "now!" I pulled out my wallet but them motioned that I was going to take all the money out, and Gabe nodded very slightly. Then I also motioned that I was going to take my credit cards too and he nodded again. I went to go put it in his shirt when I remembered my ID and I reached back to grabbed it out. "It’s so much trouble to get a new one" I said, and Gabe didn't even look at me.
The banging noise got louder as we pulled closer to the station, we couldn't have been more than 30 seconds from it now. It sounded more like bells of all sizes being rung. I sat there and decided what I was going to do. I would wait until all the mayhem of them running out and maybe getting caught was over, and wait until people with kids and babies got off slowly, and then I’d go last because I had two big bags under my seat. Also, I decided, I would get a new wallet when I was in Boulder to celebrate my arrival.
The train started to break and the boys tucked their shirts-full-of-wallets close to their bodies and stood by the door ready to make a run for it. The ringing noise started to become clearer and it was now obvious that it was dogs. There must have been hundreds of dogs on the platform, because of the dog show. As we flew into the station we could see that almost every person had a dog and they all seemed riled up by the noises and the echoes and all the other dogs.
The doors opened and the three boys were about to make a run for it but in their way came 5 giant dogs who got loose from their owner. They knocked all three boys to the floor and started running up and down the car barking, getting the babies crying again. More dogs piled into the car, little ones and big ones, all jumping up and down on peoples laps and barking out the windows, not knowing why they wanted to be in the car, but now thinking they wanted out. In the mayhem two large guys jumped on all three of the boys and held them to the ground while the doors began to close and all the dogs starting wining to get out.
It took about ten minutes, with the conductor yelling to get out of the way of the door, the information passing through the crowd of what was going on, and finally the cops showing up and arrested two of the boys, Derek and Gabe, Tony must have slipped away from the big guys and booked it when I wasn’t paying attention. When everything slowed down and all the mom’s with their babies got off the train, I grabbed my bags and made my way off the subway and towards the Amtrak terminals.
As I got close I saw the Dunkin’ Donuts and decided to get a coffee before boarding. From behind a pillar Tony jumped out and punched me in the face. I fell onto my bags and hit my head so hard that I blacked out for what I hoped was only a second or two. Tony was ripping through my pockets when I came to, and grabbed a wad of ones and fives I had for the snack car on the train. I batted him away before he could grab at my ATM card, and when he fought back I kicked him in the balls, and then frantically in the stomach enough to get him off me.
While he was still reeling on the ground, grabbing at my bags without success, I pulled myself up, pulled my bags behind me, and made it to the food court, where there were cops and people, and no one could hurt me. In the bathroom I cleaned the blood off from around my nose where he punched me, and splashed water on the back of my head where there was a little blood too.
I went back out to the food court and thought about still getting a coffee. There was a Au Bon Pain close by, but as I got closer I could see that Julie, and ex, was there, waiting for a bagel or muffin or something, so I decided to find my train’s departure track, go to it 30 minutes early, and sit there on my bags until the train came.