The people standing at the crowded subway station stood looking about dumbfounded. The curious sound could be heard above the cacophanous roar of their otiose chatter. Some could be seen glancing nervously around them. Others could be seen shifting their weight from one foot to the other. Still others raised their tabloids to shield their faces from inspection. A few were whistling off-key. A few more stood ashen, the countenance of their faces almost lifeless. Several others had turned up the volume of their iPods to avoid hearing the monotone drone that was assaulting the commuters' ears.
There was a chasm, a parting in the sea of humanity near the center of the station. One individual, suddenly a persona non gratis, stood in the center of a growing clearing. Had it not been for the tintinnabulary, an onlooker may have thought the person had been guilty of some olfactory offense or was hygienically challenged. Aware of, but not reacting to his sudden exile, the man calmly produced a cell phone, pushed a button and placed the device to his ear.
A chorus of shrugged shoulders and bewildered faces slowly returned to their zombie-like posture, that of emotionless commuters. Some could be seen raising talismanic idols to their lips; perhaps they were offering thanks for their salvation from the demonic cries they'd experienced. Upon these idols were brandished the names of their respective dieties. The faithful were seeking audience with Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme and a host of lesser known Gods.
Still they gave the man wide berth even as he returned his phone to its holster at his belt. Decried as a leper, it was now he who felt discomfort. A lone tree in a clearing, the fleeting glimpses might have come from the eyes of a pack of canines looking to mark their territory, he realized seclusion even in a crowd. Nowhere can a man feel loneliness as in a mob. It was then that the very earth seem to tremble. The distant rumbling was drawing nearer, the decibles expotentially increasing to intolerable levels. There was an onrush of wind which carried aloft debris before it. He shuddered at the sacrilege that befell his eyes, for in that debris were desecrated remnants of the very idols he'd seen being worshipped in the crowd.
He stood fast, allowing the masses to surge forward, lest he be swept away in that sea of humanity. For what seemed an eternity he watched in awe as the multitude disappeared into the gaping jaws of the subway cars. With uneasy relief he watched the train disappear and slowly shrink under the magical effects of perspective into the tunnel.
Some will brush it off as an urban legend, but still others will long talk about the strange man they encountered that day on the subway. Of those who were not there, some will gasp in astonishment, while others will scoff in disbelief. Some will point to the spot in the station where the man was purported to have stood. The number of people who were actually there, will in the end exceed the capacity of the station.
A legend will have been born, books will have been written, and movies will have been produced about the day a man's telephone actually began to ring. Someday, who knows because stranger things have happened, someone else will have the unwavering nerve to install an ancient ringing telephone sound as their ring tone.