If there’s anything your labored, clumsy, slip-filled mile-long haul to the train station has taught you it’s this: if you’d lived in a different era, you’d have been Darwinian chaff.

But you’ve finally made it to the train station, it’s blessedly warm inside, and…you’re entirely alone. There is literally no one on the platform but you. Part of you feels perversely proud, but the rest of you–with your hangover pounded down by physical exertion and the cold–is annoyed. No, more than annoyed. Distinctly peeved.

You head to the in-station donut shop for a coffee, but it’s closed, so you wait in melty, uncaffeinated silence.

Finally a train pulls in. You get onto a car that’s entirely…no, there’s one other person here, laying across four seats at the far end. You pull your gloves off and unwind your scarf, and the smell hits you.

Just you and the homeless commuting today. Charming. You’ll have to switch cars at the next stop.

The train lurches forward at an agonizing pace. Just a couple minutes and you’ll be able to escape the stench. It’s reactivating your hangover, but it’ll only be a couple more…

The train grinds to a halt. A tinny voice blares through the car.

An announcement to metro transit riders. Due to inclement weather conditions, we are experiencing severe service delays and interruptions. We will resume service as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Minutes pass. Then an hour. You’re coming up on the time when you’d usually be leaving the house now, and you’re still stuck in this car with this ludicrously smelly bundle of coats.

You feel your phone vibrate in your pocket.

Hey guys–

Looks like I was being too optimistic! Please stay where you are and work from home if possible. Be safe and warm!

You’ve never hated your boss as much as you do at this moment.

A snuffle sounds overhead. You look up into a leathery, toothless wreck of a face.

“Why are you here?” the man croaks.

“I had to go to work.”

He sniffs loudly. Something lands on your coat sleeve. Don’t look, it’ll just disgust you.

“There but for the grace of god,” he mutters, ambling back to his section of the car.

 

THE END.


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