Conor slumped down in his seat on the DART train. He had just transferred from the Fort Worth line and was going to ride this one to the central junction… maybe catch a nap. The rest of the car was fairly empty, just a couple other individuals. All signs pointed to a peaceful ride in. He closed his eys.
At the next stop, his brain barely registered some additional individuals boarding his car and taking a seat. That was, until they started talking in Spanish.
<So what are you reading?> said a young male voice, Conor filed it away as a teenager’s.
<Please leave me alone, I just want to read my book.> replied a female voice, seemingly in her twenties.
<Hey come on now!> said another male voice, undoubtedly a friend of the first.
<Why you gotta be like that?> said the first voice.
A third voice just starts laughing, another male. Conor is beginning to be irritated.
<Come on girl!> voice two again.
<We just want to talk to you> back to voice one again.
Conor hears that “Chuckles” is still laughing, joined in now by number 2.
At this point he sits up and looks around. Three hispanic youths in gang colors are sitting directly behind a pretty young hispanic girl in glasses. The car is empty except for her, him, and those three boys… plenty of empty chairs. He sets aside his trusty guitar, getting ready to stand up and walk over there. Suddenly the girl stands up.
<LEAVE ME ALONE!> She gets up and goes to the front of the car, as far from the teens as possible. He nods, thinking ‘Good for her’ and continues to watch the teens.
They stay seated. They continue the verbal harrasment, saying things loud enough for her to hear like, “I bet she’s reading Twilight or some $#!+!”
The girl’s body language is clearly trying to block the teens out. They fire a last volley, “You reading Twilight or some $#!+?” in English and then go back to laughing amongst themselves. They stay in their chair until the next stop and then get off, still laughing, throwing a look in the girl’s direction.
When the train is again underway Conor speaks up, <Sorry they were bothering you.>
The girl at the front of the train hesitantly looks back, <Happens all the time.> She then goes back to her book.
Conor nods, more to himself, <Enjoy your book, if they come back I’ll deal with them.>
The next stop is normal, then another male boards the car, goes all they way to the front, and sits in the seat next to the girl.
In English, “So, what are you reading?” Conor is struck by the similarities between the teens and this new person.
“Please leave me alone, I’m reading.” She says, no Spanish accent, and goes back to her book.
The guy gets up and moves to the middle of the car, I hear him mutter something like “It’s not my fault you’re pretty, jeez.”
A few minutes pass, then suddenly in an angry “baby talk” voice “Please-leave-me-alone-I’m-reading, please-leave-me-aloooooone.” Then he gets up and starts pacing.
At this point Conor begins to feel his blood boiling, light begins to escape from his fist… what with the security cameras on the train, he closes his eyes to get control. So far the nutter isn’t making any moves towards the young lady.
Nutjob says stuff like “My mother is dead and they’re all like this. Sluts, &!=@#$&, Hoes!”
Conor’s eyes snap open, the world goes silvery, just as nutjob stops and begins screaming at the young lady … the fine details of the sentences are lost on Conor, the last part comes in loud and clear “IF I had a gun I’d shoot you! I’d #*@#&%^ kill you &!+@#!”
And with that Conor is out of his seat and has nutjob slammed up against the side of the train car. Nutjob struggles once, landing a kick in Conor’s midsection. The “reply” is a bodyblow directly to nutjob’s solar plexus… He stops moving.
Conor drops him to the ground and grabs his wallet from his back pocket, tearing the bluejean fabric in the process.
Nutjob is groaning… well at least he’s not dead then. After removing the Nutjob’s driver’s license, he drops the wallet back on the guy on the ground. “James Robert Johnson… Irving.” Conor then takes a picture of the driver’s license with his cell phone camera.
He bends down, shoves the driver’s license in Nutjob’s shirt pocket, and picks him up again.
“I’ve got yer number James Robert Johnson of Irvin’.” He reaches up and yanks out a few locks of hair. “Next stop, yer getting off dis train. If I ever hear about women gettin’ assaulted on de DART line… I’ll find you.”
“Who the $*(%…”
Conor gets inches from the man’s face and allows a minor Glamour to alter his eye color and voice to something a bit unnatural, that only Nutjob can hear; “Yer worst nightmare #$%&($@.”
The train comes to a stop and Conor hurls him bodily out of the train. He comes to a rest underneath an advertisement for wristwatches right next to the garbage and the bench seats. He can see a dark wet stain on the guy’s bluejeans running down one leg.
When the train gets underway again, Conor goes back to his seat. He grabs a piece of sheet music from his guitar case and writes his cell number and email upon it. He walks back to the front where the young lady is sobbing slightly, head in hands, with her elbows on her book which is resting on her knees.
Conor kneels down in the aisle, as far away from her as obstructions will allow, then in his horrible Spanish, <I’m sorry about all that. This is my number. You ever see him again you call me. You want the picture of his drivers license to give to police later, you text me and I’ll send it your way. Are you okay?>
She nods, stiffling a sob, and takes the piece of paper. <I just wanted to read my book.>
Conor gets off at Union Station to change to the rail line that takes him to his part of Dallas. The young lady gets on hers. He has no words, and on nights like this, is forced to wonder if he’s just as bad as the rest of his gender.