Danger Pay

She looks anguished and in pain. She thrashes across several subway seats, sobbing and cursing.

The other commuters give her a wide berth. Most scroll their phones, her discomfort a minor disruption. One man stares at her from across the aisle, studious, fist under chin. We arrive at 14th St., more commuter flesh presses against the outside doors. As the doors open, the anguished woman jumps up and tears through those pushing to get on.

“That took me back to my twenties,” I say to a friend later at lunch. “That kind of shit went on all the time in the ’80s.”

“Make New York City dangerous again!” she replied.

I saw this and more during a visit to my old haunts last week. Increasingly more homeless amid endless construction of redundant glass towers. More anger, more frenzied behavior. And happily, more street art and political graffiti.

We were headed this way regardless, though with Trump the horror is much more clarified. Had Hillary won, the horror would have been justified when not simply explained away — horror with a Walmart face. Trump makes it easier for people to feel terrified.

Naturally, I’ve chosen this terrifying moment to resume my steady commentary. At least, that’s the plan. Things have gotten coarser since my old blog days, and I’m not quite sure how deep the present insanity runs. Perhaps I’m a man out of time. Wouldn’t be the first time.

As you may have noticed, I’m starting fresh with a new site. BEAUTIFUL LIES was the title of a comic novel I wrote in the early-90s. Its rather graphic content elicited various reactions, mostly negative, including one from a seasoned journalist who claimed it made him throw up. Nan Talese at Doubleday nearly published it, but chose another young writer who pushed “a different edge.” Nan mailed a lovely rejection letter full of praise, which was nice.

I sent a chunk of the manuscript to Michael O’Donoghue, who responded on the cassette tape seen above. Michael said he preferred to talk instead of writing his critique. It may come to that here.