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N, R, W or Q to the L

April 13, 2007

No that isn’t the alphabet as sung by a two year old, and it isn’t some rap code. New Yorkers will know this is the route one can take from Herald Square (34th, or Macy’s) to the East Village. It happens to be the directions from my gym to my house.

The N/R/W/Q comes pretty quickly and I rarely wait for that train. It helps that I can take any one of the four, but the L train is a different story. I often have to wait for a while and a few days ago was no exception.

I was tired from the gym, and anxious to get home and out of my gym clothes, when a man came up from behind me with a giant leather bag in his hand. The bag drew my eyes because it was so worn. It was black leather, but the black had worn off in spots and brown was showing through. It was large enough to be considered a weekend bag, but it had the strange look of being a salesman bag from the early 1900’s or so. But the oddest thing was that thread under the two leather handles was a pristine chrome golf club. Just one. The bag itself was closed, so I had no way of knowing if other golf equipment might be hiding in the antiquated satchel.

I chuckled to myself at such an odd combination, and looked up at the owner of the bag only to be further tickled by his appearance. He had big bushy hair, and a long mustache with wings, that always makes me think of British coloniasts in India. Both the bushy hair and mustache were black. The mustache was immaculately groomed, but the hair was wild. He was wearing tweed pants, and a pink button up shirt. He noticed me looking at him, and I’m almost certain he was pleased with my curiousity.

After noticing my stare, he started pacing the waiting area. The train was taking quite a long time, and most everyone was impatient, but his pacing seemed choreographed and oddly suited his look. My eyes went back to the bag. There was a tear on the side, near where one of the handles was sewn in. It had been used a lot. It’s worn look was not a fashion trick some designer had done in order to label it “distressed” and charge another $100 for it. This bag was the real deal. Likewise, so was the golf club. The clean shiny, silver club, with the Nike label prominently displayed, stuck out a foot and a half on either side and must have been terribly annoying to carry around during rush hour traffic on a crowded train.

Who was this guy? Where did he come from? How long had it taken him to perfect his mustache? And most important for me to know: Why did he have only one golf club and what was he going to do with it? I began to imagine all sorts of scenarios that might have led to this odd man with his odd bag.

I decided he was a time traveler, who had picked up the golf club, because it seemed modern to him, and he hoped it would let him blend in better. He probably had his old shirt and jacket in the beat up bag, and he was desperately trying to get home. There was probably a time warp at the end of the L line. I mean, the end of the L line is so far into Brooklyn only time travelers would want to go there anyway… right?

Or maybe he was a street performer and one of tricks was swallowing an entire golf club. Nike, of course, would be the best brand for that type of thing, I would imagine.

He might have been a quack doctor, with his quack antidotes hidden in his beat up bag, and the golf club used in emergencies when he needed to knock out a patient to do a quack procedure.

Gosh, there are just so many options here… Any suggestions?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2007 4:34 pm

    Nope…I think you about covered all of the possibilities!(Have you considered participating in Adam’s contest?)

  2. April 17, 2007 5:22 pm

    Great story! I love it. This post is much more worthy of a contest than my lousy post. But you should join my contest anyway.

  3. April 17, 2007 11:52 pm

    There could always be two contests…but I personally would be hard pressed to come up with another scenario for the mustached man.

  4. April 18, 2007 8:58 am

    Yeah, I think it best to just leave Adam’s contest as the only contest for now. But sending you weird characters I see on the subway to develop short stories around isn’t such a bad idea.

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