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Tale of the Pit Rats - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
Tale of the Pit Rats
Two young men got onto my train today somewhere around Harvard. I’d say it was definitely Harvard, but I was sleepy, and they probably wouldn’t have registered at all if it weren’t for what happened later. The one was stocky, bearded, and sporting multiple facial piercings but no shoes, evidenced by pudgy toes poking out from beneath his floppy pants; the other, less descript though notable for his heroic attempt at a goatee and his classic hoodie and camo fatigue ensemble. Each had a couple of blankets tucked under an arm and as we bumped along, they discussed current and future plans.

"So, we're headed to Southie?"
"Yeah, but don’t worry... I know someone. Someplace we can crash."
"That Matt kid? Wasn't he heading out west?"
"Yeah, but he was probably too stoned."
"Seriously. Do we need to get money for a train to New York?"
"Nah. We'll just walk it."

Boy Pierce seemed unamused at this suggestion. This was the first time I noticed that he had no shoes.
"Seriously. It's not that hard."
"Ok. I'll just steal some beef jerky from CVS for food."
"Yeah, or some Snickers bars or something."
"Candy or whatever! But beef jerky is a must. I'll hit CVS and get bags and bags of the stuff."

There was a lull in the conversation as the train surfaced and they tried to get their bearings. Boy Pierce pointed off to the west and asked, "Isn't that Cambridge over there?"
"Yeah, so Southie must be over in that direction." Captain Hoodie was pointing over in the direction of the Museum of Science.
"So where's the rich part of Boston?"
"I dunno."

I thought to answer, but I wasn't sure that wouldn’t qualify as aiding and abetting. At that moment, a Very Old Man Indeed rumbled onto the train with his scooter and didn't come to a stop until it looked like the boys were nearly pinned to the far door. Scooter spoke, unintroduced, uninvited, and a touch too loud. "Camouflage! We didn't have camouflage when I was in the army! We had a single color, and it was olive drab."

The boys shifted and laughed uncomfortably, but he just went on. "We didn't need camouflage. We needed to give people something to shoot at."

And then, just as I had begun to be convinced that I was witnessing a 'kids these days' rant, he switched gears. "Of course, they called me a drunk."

Both laughed, and Boy Pierce offered, "Well, a drunk ain't a bad thing to be."
"That's what I told them! Bastards didn't listen, though."

The conversation continued, as did the nervous laughter. Passing strange, the boys seemed to grow more uncomfortable as they found more common ground with Scooter. I want to believe that they had enough self awareness to recognize that they were looking at their possible fate. Scooter seemed to have come across the years to give them a glimpse of their own mortality, and suddenly, jacking jerky didn't have the same immediacy or appeal. On the other hand, they may just have been thrown by being pinned against the door and having their conversation hijacked.

As the train came to a stop, Captain Hoodie nearly lost his balance and lurched forward. Scooter kept smiling and said, "Whoa! Watch that first step. It's a killer."
11 comments or Leave a comment
cook_ting From: cook_ting Date: September 17th, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
One day, I will be that Very Old Man. Indeed.
komos From: komos Date: September 17th, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's a little Scooter in all of us.
faux_eonix From: faux_eonix Date: September 17th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have stories.
komos From: komos Date: September 17th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's all happenstance. Yours involve the crazy, mixed-up things you do.
faux_eonix From: faux_eonix Date: September 17th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most of my stories are just happenstance. It just HAPPENS that crazy things happen in my presence.

iterum From: iterum Date: September 18th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I was worried they were going to steal the scooter so they wouldn't have to walk from Southie to New York, or whatever.
komos From: komos Date: September 18th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I might pay to see the two of them mounted on a HoverRound and running for the border, leaving a trail of beef jerky in their wake.
riverbank From: riverbank Date: September 18th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
a fly on the wall of a harvard train
komos From: komos Date: September 18th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Red Line isn't near as colorful as the Orange now that Davis Square has gentrified, but it does have its moments.
From: lastcallforcorn Date: September 18th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
i love this story. and that you wrote it down.
komos From: komos Date: September 18th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, I've missed journaling. I've just felt like I've had precious little to write about, or have had too much and haven't felt like I could do it justice. This was just right, and I hope there's more coming.
11 comments or Leave a comment