I decided to enroll in the humor-writing course that I spoke about last time. So you can all stop holding your (collective) breath. Or maybe you should start holding it, in order to prepare yourselves for the tsunami of hilarity that is coming your way! If the cost of this course is any indication, you should expect tidal waves of funny to be crashing over you just as soon as my instructor starts disclosing all those super-secret humor-writing facts that I am paying big bucks to learn about. In the future you should avoid drinking any beverages while you’re reading this blog—or at least keep some Windex and paper towels nearby—to clean up after the spit-takes caused by reading my hilarious posts. No really!
But I had to make a compromise, of sorts, with this class. I decided to take it as an online course because the class’s location in the Village was not going to be an easy commute for me. I did a test run—I attended the open house last week—which ended at 9:00 p.m. The real class would end at 10:00, and would involve a short but terrifying walk to the nearest PATH station, taking one train a couple of stops to Journal Square, changing trains for the line that would eventually bring me to the hub known as Zombie Penn Station, where I would wait for the NJ Transit train that would take me home. Here is the problem: due to the late hour the class lets out, I would wind up in this terrifying hellscape pretty nigh on 11:00 p.m. If I missed my NJ Transit train, the next one wouldn’t come for another hour. I’m not adverse to late hours—I’m up past midnight every night keeping tabs on my neighbors who apparently enjoy running in circles around their car while slamming the doors repeatedly—but being at the above-mentioned station at that hour was out of the question. Because, like the sample writing class I attended the other night, my short time at Hell’s Waiting Room afforded me a glimpse of what I could expect every Wednesday night.
On that particular night it didn’t take long before the first zombie wandered up to me. She seemed harmless at first, almost sympathetic. She didn’t try to eat my brains right away. She uttered these well-rehearsed lines to me in a rapid-fire delivery:
“Hi. I saw you here last night didn’t I? I saw you looked like a nice lady. I am 50 years old. I am/was a nurse. I have four babies. It’s raining hard out and my four babies and me will have to walk in the rain. Can you help me out so I can get on the train to Trenton? I don’t use drugs. Here, look at my arms.”
She began to roll up her sleeves to prove her point, although we both knew that wouldn’t necessarily prove anything. Perhaps she thought it would make me feel better about her eating my brains. I raised my hands indicating that wouldn’t be necessary. I didn’t want to see her arms.
Although I didn’t respond to any of her statements (she really didn’t give me time to) here was what I was thinking about each of her statements, starting with “Hi”:
“Oh no, zombie lady, please don’t come over to me. You are mistaken, I’m really not that nice. And why, 50-year-old zombie lady, do you have four babies out with you on a rainy night at Zombie Penn Station? And where are these aforementioned children? Did you leave them with another zombie so you could come over and try to eat my brains? Why are you going to Trenton with your four babies this late at night? If I don’t let you eat my brains are you planning to walk to Trenton? Can you clarify for me–are you really or notreally a nurse? You kind of mumbled over that. Please do not embarrass me or debase yourself further by offering to show me your arms. I’m not here to judge you. We both know you’re going to eat my brains, so let’s just get it over with.”
So she ate my brains, and shuffled away, looking for her next victim. I never saw any of her babies. As I looked around for them in concern, not really believing I would see them, I noticed the station was full of zombies like her, shambling around, trying to eat other people’s brains. I sighed with relief when my train came rolling up.
I didn’t care about the brains, seeing as I still had some left over. The one thing that keeps bothering me was her offer to show me her arms. I felt uncomfortable that she felt it necessary to prove her point that way. It embarrassed me and I still don’t know why.
Helpful Reading Key: In order to have a fuller understanding of this story, go back through it again and make the following substitutions:
“zombie” = “unfortunate person afflicted with a debilitating drug dependence.” Or, if you wish, “crackhead.”
“eat my brains” = “get me to give you five dollars”
Also, Zombie Penn Station is located in Newark, not to be confused with Crazypants Penn Station, which is located in New York City. Just wanted to be clear on that.