Back and Forth

by Timothy

I was running late for work. Still tucking in my shirt-tails, I ran down the stairs to the underground. And of course, there had to be delays with the subway today. What’s the expression: “When it rains it pours.”

While waiting with other crowds of impatient commuters, I was forced to listen to one of those street performers singing past hits and with every cord destroying the once favored songs. A group of six Gothic teens dressed in their black clothing and many pierced earrings appeared on the scene. One teen had a huge multi-colored Mohawk. He looked like a fish. A thin girl with tight black leather pants and short red hair hung on to the arm of the Mohawk guy.

A few minutes later, four younger teens who looked dressed for school pushed their way through the crowd; their backpacks swinging into the other people, to have a peek, I guess, at these Gothic; wanting to say something in strange dress teens.

The four students: two girls and two boys just stared at them. One boy with short blond hair turned in my direction. His blue eyes met mine. I felt uneasy by his eyes that struck me as being cold and void of feeling.

The subway car, thank God, pulled up and stopped with an ear piercing shriek. Like a herd of disgruntled cattle, we hurried into the car. Off to work I went.

When I arrived at my place of employment, my long time friend and co-worker George Kloss Gave me the thumbs up. This was something we had always done even as children. He told me the boss hadn’t arrived yet. Maybe the day wasn’t going to be such a bummer after all.

When I arrived at my place of employment, my long time friend and co-worker George Kloss Gave me the thumbs up. This was something we had always done even as children. He told me the boss hadn’t arrived yet. Maybe the day wasn’t going to be such a bummer after all.

The day dragged on as it always did, suggesting a day sixteen hours long, instead of eight. After the work day, George and I went to a bar nearby and had a few beers. George was married with two small children. I still single. He told me he and his wife Mary Grace were going into the city to do a little shopping and I was welcome to come along. Having nothing better to do over the weekend I took him up on his offer.

Feeling good after the beers, the subway ride home, even in the cramp, hot, body odor permeated car didn’t seem to bother me. I returned to my apartment.

The next day as countless others began the same rushing to the underground. Waiting for the car while the street entertainer sang a nauseating version of the Roy Orbison classic; Only The Lonely, that group of six Gothic teens appeared again. The guy with the bright multi-colored Mohawk was there with his thin girlfriend who was chewing a piece of gum like there was no tomorrow hanging on to his arm.

After a couple of minutes, I became aware of those younger teens. They were standing behind the Gothic teens. They looked at them intensely. It was kind of creepy.

The horn to the subway car tooted as it pulled into the station. Pushed together we shuffled ourselves in. Sweet surprise, I found a seat I could seat in for a change. Sitting down in front of me was that teen with blond hair who he and his pals had been studying the Gothic group. A taller girl, one who had been with the blond teen sat down next to him. Their two other pals had to stand up holding on to the finger smudged poles.

Pulling out of the station, the car jerked a bit and it was then I noticed something small hanging off the belts of the two standing teens moving back and forth. They were two figurines or action figures that were attached to their belt loops. They appeared highly crafted with fine detail and coloring.

I felt an uneasy stare from the blond hair teen who when I re-directed my gaze at him, gave me a cold antiseptic look. He too had a tiny action figure attached to his belt loop.

I almost gave out a start when the tall girl next to the blond haired teen was smiling at me. Not just smiling. I mean smiling! A full showing every tooth in her head smile. The blond haired boy continued his cold gaze at me.

I was relieved when my stop came. I told George about the four weird students. And the strange action figures they had hanging off their belts. “It’s the city what do you expect?”

“I guess,” I replied.

The next two days was pretty much the same. I saw the group of Gothic teens and those strange yuppie dressed weirdo’s. Thankfully, it was now Friday.

Being Friday and after work, I treated myself in picking up a cartoon of a rather expensive ice cream. The store specialized in ice-cream so they could charge the extra dollar or two or four!

Leaving the store, those group of students entered. The blond haired teen swung around quickly, his figurine swinging back and forth on his belt; watching me as I left. The tall girl giving me one of her demented smiles from inside the store.

I walked home feeling uneasy. Everything was creeping me out. The long shadows from trees and buildings. The street lights seem to cast a eerie light. “Forget about it,” I told myself.

Saturday morning was a happy one for me. I would be spending the day with George and his wife. It was a great day to be in the city. The sky was blue the temperature not too hot or cold just right for walking and chilling.

George, Mary Grace and I went into many stores. Around launch time we stopped at a sidewalk Café to eat. I was in the process of eating my tuna sandwich, when I saw those strange four teens. “George, there are those weird teens I was telling you about.!” George looked over, the four teens just slowly walked by. As George turned back to me, the tall girl gave me her huge sickening smile. I was going to tell George to look again but I didn’t want to spoil his or Mary Grace’s time. I was just glad when the four teens eventually left my vision. Putting aside that episode, it was a most enjoyable afternoon.

Monday came and it was back to work. Waiting for the subway, those six Gothic teens didn’t appear. And neither did the four yuppie looking weirdoes. Maybe that chapter in my life was over.

Several days later waiting to go to work, to my dismay, the four student arrived again. I tried not to look at them. Entering the car, the blond haired teen pushed in next to me. I just looked away feeling tense all over. I sat down. Damn! He sat across from me. Something bright and colorful caught my eye hanging off his belt loop. It was another tiny figurine. A figurine with a-a-a Mohawk hair cut. And the figure was dressed in black Gothic. Man, I wanted so much to get off the subway.

After that I decided to take the bus into work. It was a longer trip into the city, which meant I had to get up earlier. It was worth it.

A week later, I was walking back to my apartment when near a tree just outside my apartment building were those four teens. And attacked to their belts, the tiny Gothic dressed figurines.

Once inside my apartment, I kept the lights off. Peeking out of one of my windows, I saw they had left. Turning on the lights and closing the blinds I tried to live as usual.

I told my friend George about this. He didn’t have much to say, other than it was one of those strange things that mean nothing.

Perhaps he’s right.

Short time later, on a Friday after work, I was walking to my apartment when I felt a sting to the back of my neck. My neck-my neck. I think it was my neck. I went and opened the door to my apartment like I had done so many countless times. The wooden floor. The tan colored wooden floor seemed to rise up and slam me in the face. Or did I fall?

The blurred face of the blond haired teen swirled in my mind. GOD! In my mind.

I just looked out. Looked out at what I could see. Sometimes things I looked at seemed vague and out of proportion as I swung back and forth. The motion stopped. In front of me, I saw jetting out the top portion of his blue denim covered leg. Someone sat down across from me. All I could see was the lap. When motion returned and I was rising, for a brief second, I rocked forward, I saw the lap belonged to my friend George. I wanted to call out. I could not. I just rocked back and forth attached to a small chain on the blond teen’s belt.