The Day I Was Asked to Join

It was just another long and stressful day at work. I packed up my things to leave around 7:30 PM, and began making my way downstairs. As I walk outside, I realize it’s already dark out. And when this happens, the subway becomes a little less safe/more fun.

I started walking down Flower to the 7th/Metro Station. I pull out my phone, put my headphones in, and hit shuffle on one of my Spotify country playlists.

“Beers After Work”.

At this very moment I noticed I was right next to Rock N’ Reilly’s Pub.

Is this what destiny looks like? I quickly contemplated walking in for a quick beer, but realized I was over 2 hours late to Happy Hour, and wanted to avoid looking like Steven Glansberg.

So, I decided to continue walking.

After passing by the usual homeless man sleeping in front of “Big Mama and Papa’s”, I crossed the street and made my way downstairs into the underground abyss commonly referred to as the Subway. As I approach the turnstile, I see a middle-aged man in the corner facing the far corner of the wall. He wasn’t really doing anything and was about an inch from the cement wall. It honestly looked like he was in timeout.

Not wanting to interrupt his self-reflection, I turned left and begin walking further downstairs to the subway platform. As I get to the platform, I notice I am one of MAYBE 6 people down there. This literally never happens, it’s usually still pretty crowded around 8 PM.

I waited about 10 minutes for my train, and found my way to one of many open seats. As the door begins to close, I see the man from timeout jumping off the last stair to try and catch the train. He barely makes it. A few moments later when he catches his breath he begins to look around the train-car.

After collecting himself, he (of course) finds a seat directly across from me. He was wearing a brown long-sleeve shirt and a pretty beat-up pair of jeans. I notice he’s a bit shaky and can’t stop moving his arms and legs.

What the inside of the train car looked like, a plethora of options

As the train leaves the 7th/Metro station, I do my best to ignore him and continue listening to the Toby Keith’s greatest hits album. Similar to most, I usually try to avoid making eye contact with anyone who looks like they might pull out a homemade weapon on me, but I could see through the corner of my eye that he hasn’t stopped staring at me for the last few songs.

After another 5 minutes, I finally grant him the satisfaction of looking over. Almost surprised and overwhelmed by this quick change of events, he quickly asks, “Hey, can I ask you something?!”.

Oh man, here we go.

Being the curious fellow I am, I say “Yeah, go for it buddy”.

“Ummm, do you want to join the Illuminati?”.

Talk about getting straight to the point. Intrigued by a once in a lifetime offer, I pretend to consider it. Before I could politely decline such an enticing request, he rolls up his sleeve and tries to further recruit me into the brotherhood. He turns over his forearm and shows me his creation.

This guy carved the Illuminati symbol into his left forearm. But it wasn’t a scar, it was an extremely fresh wound. He looks me in the eye, and anxiously awaits for me to join this elite society.

I respond, “Ya know, I’m actually good man, but thanks for the offer.”

He responds, “Alright, well let me know if you change your mind”.

The remaining 4 stops were the longest 15 minutes of my life.

“You are only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it”
-Robin Williams