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‘The Developing Situation’
Penn Station, Baltimore: 11:45 A.M., 7/1/20
Penn Station normally has so many cabs and cars on the lot that cops are directing traffic.
No cars are parked.
Only 3 cars and 2 cabs wait.
All doors are closed except for one, with signs saying, “Due to the developing situation, enter at the far right door.”
Masks must be worn.
No one has to be told.
The ebony beauty and West Indian man are masked and staying apart.
The African security guard is masked up and standing 50 yards away in the center park where the giant modern art statue is, looking at me with some dread as I exit the car without a mask.
I tie the bandana on my face and enter.
There is only one clerk at the counter.
She asks how I can help her and when I approach the plexiglass window she yells for me to stand back on the yellow feet, 12-feet from the counter and yell my desire.
This done, she asks me to drop the ticket on the counter and return to the 12-feet away mark. She, behind her black mask, is utterly terrified of me, so I adopt the kindest body language I can.
Her security man is outside and away. The two cops normally stationed at the central hub are not present. I can’t smile, past the bandana.
She calls out by ticket adjustments and I nod in agreement.
She inserts a voucher for my refund as cash is apparently all diseased now, leaving me to wonder as to how I might buy my next tickets.
I then said, “Ma’am, thank you so much for your help in these trying times.”
She then beckoned for me to take both ticket pouches and returned, “Thank you, Sir and have a blessed day,” like Mary Harker bidding Count Dracula ado within these ornate and marbled environs, a train station once designed to awe the teeming passengers with sense of civic pride, now reduced to an empty hall where one entombed human being casts blessing and good will out to the lone damned ghost momentarily haunting her empty day.
My new ticket folder, does not have a color cover advertising hotel accommodations like the one issued earlier in the year, features a woman of my hated race coddling with an Ebon Kang as she worshipfully casts eyes of adoration upward into his divine countenance as they sit in a train car speeding through an American city.
I for my part, as I write this, and note the rain is thundering hard on the metal awnings, and that it has rained again today, as it does every one of these unseasonably cool days in normally sweltering summer Maryland, I feel the dawning of an age better suited for my wretched ilk then for the glittering, perfumed and brightly-attired deities who demand and receive the worship of my debased fellows. I sense an age of rags rather than riches ahead—an age I wish I was young enough to embrace, but do suspect that before I’m done I might be able to partake of at least a harsh taste.
Grey God, return.
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Add Comment
Zach ChadwellOctober 1, 2020 9:08 PM UTC

Damn dude you are one excellent writer. Love the prose!
responds:October 2, 2020 12:15 AM UTC

Thanks for the compliment, Zach.

It's always nice to be contacted by a human who reads.
Don QuotaysAugust 30, 2020 9:42 PM UTC

Enjoy the winter James.
responds:August 31, 2020 12:01 AM UTC

Thank you!