You are passing through a field of junk with tall dead grass, and you cannot see the vermin underneath it all.

A huge barrel shaped goon with a tiny head hoists a large safe on the arch of his back. The combination has been lost. He puts it down as he tries to organize the derelict lot. You walk past pretending not to notice an old bass violin with no strings leaning against a wall. You are positive there is a rat under the grass at your feet.

You hear another man speaking to the goon while he picks up more junk, “We should have gotten into this business, we’d be rich by now.”

You walk out of the lot.

The express train doors close and the thieves are in the corner of the car. The two drunk men stand in large unkempt suits laughing hysterically. They stumble with the unsteady train as it starts up, and the sound that comes through the broken door is as loud as hell.

The taller one with the mustache violently pulls out a large roll of money. He tries to count it and divide it up. The other small drunker thief in sunglasses waves a dozen thick gold chains in his stubby hand. The lights dim and flash out for a moment as the train hurtles past stations. The thief in the glasses begins laughing again as if he is splitting. The tall thin one loses his grin, as he is mesmerized by the bills.

After a moment of counting, he looks at his friend with alarm. He shoots a paranoid expression over the rest of the train. He becomes serious and begins shouting only it is too loud to hear. It all sounds like nonsense.

You remember a story about a young kid who comes to the big city to be a singer. He sacrifices it all in a number of years and never gets a return. His nights wash into alcoholic angst. His act becomes loud, annoying and disgraceful. He falls into a group of similar people who feed off of fake compliments. They are a party crowd and they keep each other alive until one of them gets in an unmitigated accident, causing the whole group to be offset. The particular young man whose descent we have so wickedly had the honor of tracing finally returns to a trailer home in Florida where he grew up. His only keepsake is a bright red scarf which was worn by one of the ladies of the group.

A young man hands out leaflets about his jewelry business at the foot of an escalator in a busy train station. The fliers have line drawings of the perfect diamonds which he spent days rendering. Everyone thinks collectively of diamonds on their long commute home.

X. F. Pine