A young man was pacing on the train, shouting, banging on the seats.
“Do you know what I’m doin’ when I get home? I’m gonna read the Bible.”
Passengers flooded out into neighboring cars.
“You gotta read it front to back, not back to front.”
Other passengers quietly continued their conversations and avoided eye contact. The train was stopped at the station, and the doors were still open.
“You might be a Muslim or believe in Buddha, but you still pronounce the Lord’s name when you stub your toe. Why?”
A blonde woman in a pink baseball cap stood up and peered out of the car.
“Hey! This fuckin’ asshole keeps hittin’ things and scarin’ people.”
The young man turned to her.
“Watch your language, lady!”
“I thought you stood for free speech.”
“You’re calling the cops on me.”
Two police officers stepped into the subway car on either side and grabbed the young man by his scrawny biceps.
A man in a suit stood up and faced them.
“I am a preacher too!”
The cops said they were just going to speak with the young man. He’d be able to take the next train.
The man in the suit sat down and the doors closed. I think he was Kenyan.
“God may not shout, but he’s still taking note of everything you do.”
He tapped the briefcase in his lap and sighed. The train started moving, and the passengers nervously studied each other.
An African-American man in blue shorts walked over.
“Look, brother, I get it, but you have to understand that in America you can’t force people to talk about God outside of church. People here believe in all sorts of things.”
A Salvadoran woman, who had been quietly listening, jumped in.
“But they didn’t do anything about the lady who was cursing.”
The train had reached maximum velocity, and the doors were rattling.
“Well… that’s true.”