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10

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The Tourists

Look at them, taking up all the space on the sidewalk, fucking assholes, don't they know we've got places to go? 

The buildings are magic in that they haven't always been there but will probably always be there, you should still look up every now and then, kid. 

I'm trying but the further I lean my neck back the more it seems like it's going to break. 

At least you're looking. Do you think the people working up there ever stop in front and think, "Gee whiz! What a country where I can sit in a glass building hundreds of feet into the air and make hundreds of dollars a day!"

Probably not, they're too busy trying to make that money. 

How many of them have friends that died that day, do you think? 

Don't talk about that, man. It feels violent and violating. 

Fine, come on. Let's get the train here.  

Look at them, on the subway, still taking up all the space. But, this time they're on the seats with their maps and their bags and their big, bright eyes. They're always leaning on poles like there isn't anyone else around. Sometimes I want to stick my face in theirs and go BOO! Give 'em something to talk about when they're back home, no? 

They're new, they're not used to being in a cage like you are --

A cage where you're subject to everyone else's emotions and they're subject to yours? The city of bright lights where you can hear your neighbors fighting upstairs while inhaling the smoke of your neighbor next door. Where you can't walk to the train without being harassed? And then once you're on the train there's all these assholes sizing you up and cutting you down... The worst is when you accidentally touch someone else's hand or they touch yours. Doesn't matter if it's a beautiful woman. Think I've grown indifferent to human touch. 

You sound bitter... don't give me that face, kid. Oh, alright, misanthropic is that what you want to hear?Look, all I'm saying is no one arrives at a new place knowing all the rules. Don't you remember? 

Remember what? 

That was once you, kid. 

I guess you're right. 

They're new or just passing through town. Throw people a bone now and then. 

It must be nice to be new. I guess most of us were new here, once. We had the wrong shoes and the wrong clothes and the wrong attitude. But this place will figure out ways to tear you down. I remember when I first got here and I was opening a goddamn bank account that's what the teller told me. What a welcome, huh? "Be careful, this city has ways of ripping you to shreds." He was right. What? What's with the look? 

Nothing, this is my stop. See you at the next meeting. 

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