Two guys, probably in high school, stand near the door. Each has an arm bent as he holds the rail above. There is an animation to their conversation. You can't hear the words, but you can see it in the deep laughs, the back and forth rhythm, the spark in their eyes. You get the sense that they have been riding the subway together for years.
Yet one of them, wearing a heavy winter coat, says something and the rhythm misses a beat. The other stiffens. Heavy Winter Coat slouches awkwardly. He tries to make a save, maybe a joke, and his friend laughs a little. Crammed together on the subway, the comment reveals a distance between them.
Then Heavy Winter Coat sees something over his friend's shoulder. His eyes briefly widen. He pulls out his phone. He points to the phone and then jerks his thumb back over his shoulder. Confusion washes over his friend's face. They exchange an elaborate three or four step handshake/hug. And just before Heavy Winter Coat darts into another car, you notice that he slips a plastic bag into the pocket of his friend's red jacket.
A minute later, a police officer enters the car and heads straight for the abandoned friend. He speaks to the young man. Fear, anger, and bewilderment all pour out from his face. He tersely shakes his head. The officer says something else, bringing himself to his full height so that he towers over the teenager. The young man vigorously shakes his head again and you can read the word "Never" come out of his mouth.
The officer returns volley. The teenager stares back for what seems like ten minutes before he finally answers. This time you can hear what he says from across the car.
The tone of his voice speaks loudly that this is anything but fine to him. The officer looks through the boy's backpack. The teenager stands there with his arms crossed defiantly. Finding nothing in the pack, the officer points to the jacket. The young man lets out an exasperated sigh as the policeman searches one pocket. Nothing. Then the other. His eyes light up as he pulls out the plastic bag.
The young man's eyes flood with horror. The train begins to hiss and squeal as it pulls into the station. The crowded car stirs to life as people prepare to exit the car. The scene near the door barely registers for most. From across the car you hear snippets of the young man's plea.
I swear...never...it's not mine!
He's agitated. Scared. The officer doesn't believe a word. The train pulls into the station. The kid says something that fills the officer with rage. He slams the young man against the subway door, turns him around, and presses his face against the glass. The doors open. Humanity pours out. Humanity pours in.
The train begins to pull away and there on the platform you see this innocent kid in handcuffs. His eyes red and puffy. Tears streaming down his face. He grows smaller and smaller. Then there's tiles. The blur. The darkness.