December 8, 2014: The Hand of Glory

He unwraps it in front of me.
Wax paper sticking to flesh, releasing a horrible smell.

I’m about to get a tour of one of the busiest hubs in New York City – Penn Station.
But, this is a special tour.

He holds out his most prized possession: a hand of glory.
When the fingers are lit, it puts everyone (except the bearer) to sleep.
The perfect tool for thieves. Or, the bored.

We both hold onto the hand and he lights the wick.
The florescents flicker above us.
All goes black.

When the lights come up, all the commuters are standing still.

This is really the only way to travel. Especially here. Look at all of these people…all those suits, all that perfume just hanging in the air, leaving trails behind them. With the hand lit, I’m giving them a rest they would never be able to take in their busy lives.

We wound our way through the maze of frozen people.
He took sips of their coffees, bites of their bagels.
We wandered around, looked into the stores and down at the tracks, people mid-step, door mid-close.

I don’t really do much when I stop time…I just like the sudden quiet. That rush in your ears when the noise just cuts off.

We walk down onto one of the platforms, a train standing still halfway through a tunnel.
we hop onto the tracks and he cups the flames, protecting them from the breeze.

There are secrets in these tunnels. People never see them because they are so focused, so distracted by the idea of where they are going, where they think they need to be.

I saw carvings on the walls. Maps and battles and directions. Hulking beasts and little warriors.
I saw food scraps and silverware on the ground. I saw a palace shimmer in the darkness.
I heard the tires of a bike in front of us, a glowing girl rode on by, giving me a little wave.

A breeze caught the flames and blew them out.

The train shot to life and we pressed up against the wall, eyes closed, praying.

He grinned at me and wrapped the hand back up in the wax paper and cloth.

That happens all the time. Always adds a little excitement.

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