THE VOYEUR

It's a bad day on the upper east side. First the popsicle vendor tries to cheat me of my twenty-five cents change, then there's the old man with the finger deep deep way too deep up his nose, standing right in the middle of the crosswalk. All the rest is facejobs and strollers.
           On the train, a young black girl standing next to me is breathing from a tube in her throat. From behind my glasses, I can watch her at my leisure, which I should not do, as I start to notice the jagged edges of the wound around the tube which is held in place by a thin, pale blue ribbon circling her neck. The whistle of her breath from the hole makes me severely claustrophobic, and the panic grows with each weaze. It's so loud, and I can hear the rhythm of her breathing slow down and speed up. Soon, I can hear nothing but the hissing tide of her breath. The train driver breaks hard coming into the station, she bumps into me, and I nearly piss myself. I run to my transfer.
           In my neighborhood, half a dozen Brooklyn-Americans play an abbreviated baseball game under the rusty catwalks of the abandoned rope factory. Do they have wives and kids? At least a couple must. The man at bat, his back against a wall and using a broomstick wrapped in black tape, solidly hits a low pitch, sending the tennis ball against the wall of the building across the street. "Bases loaded," he says, and walks to the beers.
           The next man at bat can't get a break. The pitcher doesn't get anywhere near the strike zone, an S in a square shape spray-painted on the wall behind the plate. "Christ, Mike, give me something I can fucking see," requests the batter. The pitcher doesn't. I get bored, and I finish walking home.
           I'm trying to control my nervous ticks better. The one people seem to really hate involves me clenching a tight tight fist, then flipping out one finger at a time, nail first, into a hard surface. This produces a staccato machine gun riff that syncs so perfectly with the ticking of my internal head-clock that I actually cannot hear the sound, in the same way I can't see the flash when the shutter clicks when taking a picture. I'll find myself in a meeting or on the train, lost in thought, coming around to the intense scrutiny of a hostile crowd, all staring at me, and I look down at my hand to find that i'm doing it again.
           I hope the other twitches aren't as noticable.

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