Subway Scene

Every few hours or so, Tank Leftridge took to picking at his beard. He didn't much care for the recent curling trend of the hairs around where his glasses met his ears, but the length of the hair along the sideburns region wasn't necessarily overgrown at this point. But, how long was too long? Would that threshold be crossed in this afternoon hour? How about later on this evening?

Ten stops from home on the subway, Tank went from straightening his beard to fiddling with his moustache. Nine stops from home, Tank thought about giving up his seat to the tired looking elderly woman who appeared to be used to getting a specifically vacated spot to sit in. Eight stops from home, Tank resigned himself to the fact that the old bitch would be standing; stares from those men standing around him be damned. Seven stops from home, Tank's guilt started to escalate as beads of sweat dripped from the old woman's brow; her knees wobbled ever-so-slightly. Six stops from home, and the car's now packed; unfortunately, there's no air conditioning relief forthcoming. Five stops from home, Tank tried his best not to look around him as his peripheral vision betrayed him to the knowledge that he was the only being with a penis sitting at this point. Four stops from home, and the old bag's wavering quite noticably; Tank closed his eyes, making believe slumber's the reason for his insensitivity. Three stops from home: a cigarette-ravaged wail as the old woman collapsed against four people around her. Two stops from home: pandemonium, numerous arms reaching for the old woman; Tank hummed quietly to himself, eyes still closed, aware of nothing. One stop from home: the old woman's OK, another healthier-looking elderly woman stood to give the fallen one relief; a tall, muscular bald man tapped Tank on the shoulder, saying, "Hey, where's your manners?" Tank feigned interruption of sleep, shaking his eyes open, saying, "Wha? What are you talking about?" in a confused manner.

"That woman! That woman just fainted! And there you sit!" the bald man said.

"Yeah, what's wrong with you?" a shrill woman with a Boston accent (named Doris, according to her diner's name tag) nagged from two poles away.

"I ... I didn't see ... " Tank said, blushing uncontrollably as the train came to a premature halt. Stuck, maybe a couple dozen yards from freedom, with nary enough space between car and wall on either side to wriggle through. They had him now; let the dogs feast.

But suddenly, the old woman's well-being fell by the wayside as people bemoaned the delay of reaching their destinations. Cries of "Holy Hell!" "Christ Almighty!" and "Jesus H. Fucking on Lucifer's Rotting ..." billowed towards the already-boiling ceiling above. In darkness, Tank resumed feeling his beard, comforted by the fact that, even if those still cross with him continued to stare, he'd never know. When he clumped a section of beard with his index and middle fingers like a barber, he could just barely touch tips of the hair from the other side. No, not too long yet. But close.

Perspiration tumbled from pores all across his thick dome, every few seconds clinging to the entire underside of Tank's left hand as he transferred it to the thigh of his pants. Fifteen minutes of that led to the resumption of the train's forward momentum toward Tank's stop. Now, finally, freedom.


Scooter, always the stickler for subway protocol, stood in the corner near the front as the old woman walked on. His eyes immediately darted around the car, seeking out the candidate who'd surely relinquish his seat. Having stood from the first moment he knew the car'd fill to capacity, Scooter didn't dwell on his own self-satisfaction; he saw himself as a defender of righteousness, or at least decency. When he happened upon the bearded gentleman in his mid-twenties, Scooter knew exactly what was going to go down. The bearded gentleman spied the elderly woman, then quickly averted his attention to other matters. Obviously, this man would not comply to the proper standards and practices.

Motherfucker! He knows she's there! He knows she's suffering! Look at her; look at the struggle! I should do something. I should go over there and say something. Motherfucker. You can't fool me, dickless. You can't fuck with ... shit! She collapsed! Motherfucker that's it! Motherfucker it's on now! Motherfucker ... whoa. Crap shit fuck! God damned train.

Scooter stewed in the corner, forcing his gaze through the blackness towards his mark. The entire time. Waiting for his chance. Sure, the old lady found her redemption, but this fiend, he didn't receive his comeuppance!

Once the train resumed its course, Scooter knew that the asshole wedged between the fat woman and the Asian teen would run for the hills at the next stop, whether it was his or not. He readied himself near the door, jostling through the crowded muck. Sure enough, the asshole made his move, writhing around the standing mass to the spot right next to Scooter. When the doors opened, Scooter led his right hand out in front of him in invitation.

Having studied from the Online greats throughout the years, Scooter knew all the tailing tricks. Leave just enough space to give your pursuit camouflage, but not so much as to lose your target. Vary the distance between you in random intervals to ensure you're not obvious. When prompted by an unforeseen stop, keep walking, lest the target discover your suspicious activities; draw no attention to yourself as you pass, then focus your attention on something nonsuspect in front of him until he continues on his way or changes his direction. A successful tail will eventually lead you to the target's home.

This asshole didn't stand a chance.


Beverly'd been a professional pickpocket for nearly 50 years; hadn't been caught for nearly 28 of those. Who'd go and suspect the elderly of pilfering someone's wallet in the middle of broad daylight?

Still, it was getting harder and harder to make a pension-padding buck when everyone went around steering clear, making room, and offering their seats in the name of chivalry. That's why she had to pick her spots cleverly ... [ohhh, Beverly cleverly ... say it ain't so]. Packed subway car, dead of rush hour, all available slots taken from people unwilling to stand. Sometimes she got lucky. Sometimes, even the haggard played the part of insufferable trump card. This didn't stop Beverly from tickling the inner-lining of an unsuspecting mark sitting beside her. But, she'd always done so much better standing.

This time no one took notice, except one man sitting. He noticed. She sent him the vibe. The Sit Down & Shut Up vibe. The Stay Your Ass In Your Seat vibe. Thankfully, he complied; it was time to go to work.

Everything seemed to be going Beverly's way this time. With the air conditioning on the fritz, the idiots around her couldn't help but believe it was the heat that brought about her collapse. And the sweat? Oh, that's real baby. Mussn't rush anything, though. We have time here. Time to operate. Deep breaths, not too pronounced. Shake, slightly at first. Don't draw too much attention, not yet. Wait for it, wait for them to crowd around you, closer, that's it, almost.

In a wail and a fall, Beverly was down. On the way to the ground, colliding against the walls of people, Beverly managed a wallet and a fancy, digital phone-like thingy. She couldn't tell at the moment, but it felt expensive. Then, while on the ground, with two others wrapping their arms around her upper extremities, she snuck a quick hand and plucked another wallet. That's all she figured on catching until fate decided to grant her further successes.

In the darkness, she was quickly forgotten. As swiftly and with as much cunning as her withered body would allow, Beverly strolled through the mass, taking at will. No one was safe, no one suspected a thing. When the lights returned and the car resumed, Beverly was at the other end of the car. She left at the next stop.