I Was in the Subway When They Discovered a Severed Head on the L TrainS

At 12:30AM Sunday, I thought the reason I wasn't getting home as early as planned was that piece-of-shit L train. Seven hours later I found out it was because, among other things, of a severed head.

Before arriving at the First Ave, Brooklyn-bound L stop, I received and ignored a text message from a friend that said, "The woman next to me on the sidewalk just saw a decapitated head apparently and is crying into her cellphone about it."

I Was in the Subway When They Discovered a Severed Head on the L Train

A few minutes later, a Manhattan-bound L train arrived on the Brooklyn-bound platform. Those of us waiting to leave Manhattan watched with confusion as equally baffled passengers stepped off into the mirror image of their expected destination. After over half an hour of watching arrival times reset from 0 to 12, I decided to walk to Union Square and reroute to a longer journey home. I texted back my friend to complain—telling her the wait was making me want to "die."

After my alternative route proved impossible, I grudgingly stepped back down onto an L platform, this time at the Union Square stop. Typically vague announcements informed us of an "incident" at Sixth Ave, but I was too tired and irritated to connect my friend's message with that eight-letter word that could mean anything from "puking guy" to "fatality."

By this point it's almost midnight. I should be asleep. I hate the MTA. What happened? I don't even care. Get me home. Why is everyone around me either drunk or reading Just Kids?

Finally, a train going in the right direction arrived on the right track. Four stops, one transfer and two instances of awkward eye contact later, I was home, and all evidence that a man had been crushed and decapitated by that piece of shit train was being taken away. It's just too bad that I didn't know about the last part until waking up from too few hours of sleep. The Wall Street Journal reports:

…Police responded to the Sixth Avenue L train station where a man on the tracks was struck by a Manhattan-bound train…The train operator told police she immediately applied the brakes but couldn't stop in time.

Sunday morning's revelation added a nauseatingly insensitive layer to everything I (and presumably many others) thought and said the night before. We've now read about the train operator who screamed, "Oh my god," into the radio "before going speechless." About how the man was struck while trying to get back on the platform. But at least we can tell ourselves "you didn't know what was happening at the time." And at least we, like many witnesses, didn't have to see the man's "blood and intestines covering the platform."

It's awful that he struggled, it's awful that the operator was helpless, and it's awful that people had to witness it. Trains are such pieces of shit.

[Image by Jim Cooke]