Inhuman Swill : Dumb Stunts

Subway safety for dummies

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Speaking of which, I have a subway-tracks story of my own, though I was no hero, believe me.

I had lived in New York only about two years when I let someone do something stupid. It was late at night and I was waiting for the train on a thinly populated but by no means deserted D platform at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Near me, a girl who couldn't have been more than 20 was digging for something in the front pocket of her jeans. The jeans were so tight that she couldn't get her hand into the pocket very easily. When she finally latched onto whatever it was she was after and pulled it out, a few folded-up $20 bills popped out of her pocket along with her hand and went sailing out over the edge of the platform. They landed right in the rail bed.

The girl, who was slender and less than medium height, stared down at the bills in chagrin. "Shit," she said, "that's sixty bucks." She noticed me and came over. "Hey, mister, if I climb down there, will you help me up again?"

I should have said no way, but it was very late, the girl looked desperate, and who knows how long it would have taken to find an MTA employee and report the loss. (That's what you're supposed to do—there are signs on the trains telling you never to climb down onto the tracks if you lose something.)

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