Just as he turned the corner, he thought he heard the train. Shit, he thought, then reached
In his right pocket for his phone. It wasn't there. Double shit. He started running, still searching for the phone. By the time he reached the station, he was sure he heard the train pulling in above. He reached for his fare card, happy at least it was there. He tapped the card. It made that noise he hated. He tapped again. No go. When he looked up at the new sign that showed the train schedule it said, "DownTown - ARRIVED. He glanced over at the attendant booth. She was asleep.
So he did something he hadn't done since high school - he took three steps back and ran and jumped the turnstile.
But by the time he got half way up the stairs, he heard the dreaded two words in that friendly robot voice he hated, "doors closing". Without thinking he shouted, "HOLD IT. HOLD THAT BLEEPIN TRAIN" and doubled his speed. At the top of the stair he saw the back of the last person push into the car and the door begin to close. Then he saw an arm come out of nowhere and the door hit it and bounced back. He ran to the closest car and jumped on.
He made it. He made it! And even though it was 12 degrees, he was sweating like Stock Yards pig. He looked down toward the other end of the car and he saw an old black guy smiling.
As Boyd walked toward him, looking for a seat... the car was unusually full for so early in the morning. And everyone seemed to be reading the paper. The headline "WHITES A U.S. MINORITY SOONER THAN THOUGHT" was visible everywhere. When he got close to the old man, he finally saw a open seat...right across from him. He'd seen him many times before, sometimes balled up sleeping or reading a book or a paper.
"Thank you sir", Boyd said, tipping his invisible hat. Then he opened his wallet, pulled out a $20 bill and offered it. But the old guy just smiled and shook his head from side to side.
Boyd noticed that the old man had a copy of the paper. He had a whole stack. But when he went to look for his own, it was gone, lost in the rush to catch the train. The old man seemed to sense his thoughts and looked at his stack and looked at Boyd. "Want one? They're free."
He handed the paper to Boyd without waiting for his answer.
This was a rare thing for him. He couldn't remember the last time he'd actually read a newspaper. Only old folks - old poor folk, no, old, stupid, poor folks read newspapers..and magazines. But he wanted to find out just how long whitefolks had. And judging by the pale stares on the faces of his fellow caucasian passengers, not long.
But he noticed something else (or was it just his imagination) all the "colored" faces on the train seemed to be smiling....especially the old man's.