The platform was crowded, people on their way home for work, a woman with her two girls, one holding a half-eaten apple, a man slouched forward over his phone, three young women talking excitedly to each other, a man walking through, all of them waiting with her, on the platform across the tracks, the local and express, some glancing up into the tunnel, others barely aware they were there, the electronic board stuck at three minutes and then flashing orange. Ashe closed her eyes. The sound was distant, moving away, echoing out of the tunnel, and then it was above, heavy over the joists, coming through the cement block ceiling and walls. The train was here. It was odd, standing there, as if in a dream, going nowhere, dark and crowded, not scared, not anything, just there. They pushed past one another, some patient, and filled the train. She pressed back against the door to the next car, the cool of metal against her hip, and the train doors closed. It was slow at first, starting, only to lose momentum, starting again, slowing, and then began to gain speed, moving alongside the local train, pulling even, looking back at the people looking at them, and them moving ahead fast, swaying back and forth, clacking over the switches and breaks, flashing past the cement pillars, yellow lights and local stations, until it was almost too fast, and then braking, the woman’s mechanized voice announcing Grand Central, clicking into the station, slowing hard, stopping and the door’s opening for the swell to go out and in. She stayed as she was and watched, the little man dash of the one empty seat, the older woman pause and stand over him, the young women, still there, rotating around their pole, still talking, the young man moving his head side to side with his music, the hand reach in to stop the doors, waiting him and then another, before moving again, deep into the tunnel.
Part two of another potential Apollo film: Dee stays at her sister Crystal’s apartment where Crystal’s boyfriend, Derek, is over for dinner. DEE goes into the bedroom after APOLLO.
CRYSTAL: Don’t let him back out! Don’t.
DEE: We’ll go for a walk in a minute.
CRYSTAL: I couldn’t hear you. Too much cackling.
DEREK: What about not getting totally fucked up?
DEE: (To CRYSTAL): Walk Apollo with me.
CRYSTAL: I can get as fucked up as I want, baby, because I know you and your friends are here to make the save.
DEE: (Standing): Come on. Let’s go.CRYSTAL: (Refilling her glass, looking into it and then drinking everything): Acting like you’re at the center of the universe when you’re just a fat old woman watching it on TV.
DEREK: Ease up, will you?
CRYSTAL: My mother, that’s who you remind me of, my fucking mother, staring at the fucking TV, not shutting up, blah, blah, fucking blah.
DEE (Letting APOLLO out): Thanks..
CRYSTAL: You working out?
DEE: Where are your shoes?
CRYSTAL: (Not looking up):Super duper.
DEE: You’re sure you’re all right with me being in your place?
CRYSTAL: I don’t like it when you get passive on me. It’s not cool.
DEE: I don’t want to get in your space.
CRYSTAL: You were born in my space. I have to live with that. (Looking up, snapping her phone closed) You have to live with that too.
DEE: I know Apollo can be a pain.
CRYSTAL: I don’t give a shit about the dog. Why would I give a shit about the dog, except that it smells and pisses on the floor?
DEE: I’ll move as soon as I can find a place.
CRYSTAL gets her phone out again and struggles to focus on the screen. She laughs to herself and sends a reply.
DEE: What was that about mom?
CRYSTAL (Yelling back to DEREK): You passed out, baby?
DEE: What did you mean?
CRYSTAL (Looking back blankly): What?
DEE: You think about her like that?
CRYSTAL (Pushing DEE out and closing the door).: Try not to get raped, okay?
Another potential Apollo film: Dee stays at her sister Crystal’s apartment where Crystal’s boyfriend, Derek, is over for dinner.
DEREK: Want to hear my cop down story? (Puts down his hamburger): I mean, just seeing a cop on his little bicycle is enough, isn’t it? Anyway, he’s going along, Dum de dum, right? And he sees something up ahead, and this car door opens up right in front of him. Bam! Cop goes flying, head over heels, and lands right on his ass. (Laughs, food coming out of his mouth) He’s just lying there and the guy in the car is looking down at him like he’s committed assault, right? He’s thinking he’s going to jail, and the cop pulls the radio off his shoulder and yells, ‘Officer down! Officer down!’ The driver jumps back like this, right? He looks like he’s going to take off now. Holy shit, I couldn’t stop laughing. Those guys are fucking babies.
CRYSTAL: You’re such a pig. (She suddenly gets up, goes through the piles of papers and garbage on the table and television, and opens a fresh packet of cigarettes.) DEREK He had his little ticket book out before he was even off the ground. That’s fucking New York.
CRYSTAL: New Yorkers are so full of shit. If you tell them to beat somebody, they’d do it. Everyone will. They’ll say they do it because they’re afraid. That’s bullshit. They do it because they have the permission. They want to. They want to do it before it’s done to them.
DEREK: Be good, babe. (He picks at a scar on the back of his bicep and shrugs at DEE when he catches her looking) It’s just an old burn.
DEE: I couldn’t do that.
DEE: Be a fireman.
DEREK: Fire fighter. We fight them. We don’t make them.
DEE: Fire fighter then.
DEREK (Answers his phone) Yeah? (Pause) Who? (Pause) No. (Pause) Where? Where you at? (Pause) Call Ricky. He’ll get you. (Nodding anxiously) Yeah, call Ricky. He’ll be there.
CRYSTAL: Missing a party?
DEREK: A couple of the boys got off the wagon. (Scrolls through his messages) They’re good.
CRYSTAL: My fire fighter hero.
DEREK: Let me tell you something…there is nothing like making a save. Nothing in this life, there is nothing like that.
CRYSTAL: So you’ve said.
DEREK: You go into a place where people die. You bring them out of that. It’s the best thing a man can do.
APOLLO jumps back and darts into the bedroom.
CRYSTAL: That thing belongs in the zoo.
DEE: He was just playing.
DEREK: You know who the boys ran into? Fucking Stevie Wright.
CRYSTAL: Who’s fucking Stevie Wright?
DEREK: From Woodside. Spring Match.
CRYSTAL: The guy you beat up?
DEREK: It’s boxing, babe. I didn’t beat anyone up.
CRYSTAL (Pulls her sweater sleeves over her palms, spreading them out): But you love making the saves, right, baby?
DEREK: Don’t get all pissy because of a fucking dog.
The New York City Fire Department came to put out a fire on Fulton Street just behind us on Sunday, March 17, a four-alarm fire…and then they were back less than 24 hours later to put out another. “It’s doubtful that there was a hotspot from yesterday,” said FDNY Chief John Esposito. “The fire was in a different area and we had people on the scene last night until six o’clock.”
We watched as firefighters hosed it down the second time for hours and then threw bits of concrete on the smoldering mess (click on the image for your viewing pleasure) while we made our NCAA basketball picks. I’ve got New Mexico all the way.