The following story is one in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read a couple of other stories in the series here.

When the squeaky doors to the B Train shuddered open at Hall Street just after 10 a.m., David got his first daily glimpse of his nemesis.

David never learned the man’s name, because the two never spoke, but in David’s head, the man was Chuletita, or “little pork chop.” …

The following story is one in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read a couple of other stories in the series here.

It had been months since Stacey had spoken with Dad. And Mom? Probably trying on different perfumes for the next time Brendan visited.

And now Brendan’s doppelgänger had just stepped into this train car and grabbed the hand strap opposite her. He was wearing the same stupid bomber jacket and similarly stupid high-top All-Star sneakers.

Her gut said it wasn’t…

Where do you go to read a good story? Try these on for size if you’re looking for something to read from the last year.

The following story is one in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read a couple of other stories in the series here.

It’s hard not to eavesdrop when someone on the subway is talking about death.

Certain phrases are easy for Grace to tune out, but “last rites” is an especially difficult one to ignore. Last rites were on her mind a few months ago, when her Nana died. It came up during the service, when the priest was joking about Nana’s…

The following story is one in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read a couple of other stories in the series here.

Willpower is a hell of a thing. …

The following story is one in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read a couple of other stories in the series here.

Cate had been unlucky as long as she could remember. Usually the mistakes were low-stakes, high-embarassment kinds of things. She had bite-sized bad fortune, the kind that came in short spurts on the tennis court or at the bar or on the train; she just had a penchant for mishaps, apparently.

If she arrived at a train station early, the…

The following story is one in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read a couple of other stories in the series here.

Alex just wanted to be an artist. And despite painting 8 hours a day for 5 — sometimes 6 — days a week, she hadn’t felt this far removed from art since she spent the summer working at a Wendy’s. She was around paint and brushes and canvas all day but none of it was beautiful. …

The following story is one in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read the first essay in the series here.

He was a sober veteran, home from the Middle East, a land of martyrs and hate and blood and sand, where his soldiers died and he lost his mind. All he wanted was a few dollars and he wasn’t wearing glasses because he was on drugs — the subway’s fluorescent lights just hurt his eyes.

Or so he said.

Loudly.

Several times…

The following story is first in a series of occasional fictional tales about people on public transportation, roughly based on actual encounters with actual folks on a public transit system. Read a couple of other stories in the series here.

How dare they. How dare the subway doors open slowly, and inconvenience Him, the man carrying the iPhone and briefcase custom-stitched with the Gage Bradford seal. How dare those rubber-bound plates of metal and plexiglass hamper His forward momentum from the platform into the train.

How dare they.

The insolence, or impotence — he could never remember which was which…

This isn’t related to any of the stories on this, but it is related to the thing I wrote in 2017 that I’m the most proud of, which you can find here.

If you’re sitting around during this holiday week with some time on your hands, here are 21 stories that I liked reading this year. It begins with the tragedy of Brazilian soccer team Chapocoense, and sadness is a common thread for stories on this list (multiple are essentially obituaries) — so don’t dig too deep into this list if you don’t want to right now. It’s interesting to track your favorite pieces during the course of the year, though, and although you may have read some of these, I hope you haven’t read them all and you find one that…

Peter Bailey-Wells

Reader and writer of words, both for professional and personal purposes. Boston Globe/Sunday Long Read.

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