Author: Alex P. Grover

Alley Cats

Alley Cats

Tracy heard cats mewling out her apartment window. The radiator was broken, so Tracy had bundled under a thick comforter to keep from freezing at 1AM, when the cold stung strongest. Wrapped to the neck in the blanket, Tracy squirmed to get back in the right position. Going to work was no longer an early-morning commitment. Tracy had unwittingly made sure of that.

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The Misser

The Misser

Chad sat at the bench in the 72nd Street station with a box he’d gotten delivered to work. Supposedly it had the new MopBot wipes he was waiting for all week. It was a light package, but he’d been holding it since 42nd, so he was relieved to keep it on his lap.

A 2 train came along. Chad saw how all the people were stuffed inside, so he waited for the 3, which would soon dump its contents and crowd the platform further. When the 2’s patrons partially pushed out, the cars filled with even more. As the doors closed again, a fellow with an orange shirt and corduroy pants ran to try and slip in. Chad watched with a little grin. He called these poor, time-unlucky folks the Missers, and though he always hoped they’d make their train, the light schadenfreude of the moment was a treat.

When the Misser realized he couldn’t make the train, he looked up, shook his head, and started laughing. Chad thought the man had a Bluetooth headset, but when the Misser turned around and made eye contact with Chad, it was clear there was no headset at all. The Misser had a pencil-thin mustache and a beakish nose. He gave Chad a gentle smile as if he knew him.

The Misser walked over, pausing to listen again, his attention diverted. Chad thought about moving, but this was New York: you hold your ground to the strange fellows that invade your private space.

“Know the time?” the Misser asked.

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