Karma – Fiction


by Martin Rex
illustration by John Tescher

Right, right, right. I know all about Karma, you don’t have to tell me. I don’t know if I fucking believe in it or anything, but I’ll tell you what, my mind sure as hell functions that way, believe me.

Like I’m on the subway today, rush hour, it sucks, you know? I mean, I’ve got it down so that I know exactly where to stand to line myself up with the train doors so I’m the first one on the car, so that I definitely get a seat. I’m usually pretty fucking plum pleased with myself.

Because it really sucks to stand on the subway. I know, I know, it’s no big deal, but it really fucking sucks. At rush hour, you end up pressed against at least four or five people, and there’re all these divergent smells floating around, good ones, but bad ones, too, you know? So, if you have a sensitive nose like mine, it’s really fucking strange, because you’re smelling like ladies’ perfume, leather, putrid breath, deodorant, Nyquil, shampoo, body odor, coffee, cough drops, grapefruit juice, stale cigarettes, curry, chewing gum, pepperoni, after shave, eggs, stinky feet, ketchup, doughnuts, french fries, flowers, Listerine, hair spray, masking tape, unwashed clothing, etc., etc., all at once and your mind – well, my mind – is in like a million places at once. I look at a hot chick and I’m smelling bad breath, you know? Or someone’s eating a chili dog in the morning on the fucking subway, you know? Weird shit like that. It fucks me up.

And the worst is if someone farts. Sometimes people actually fucking fart! Can you believe that? It’s the worst possible thing you could add to all of the other smells. Oh, it is horrible. Everytime it happens, I can’t believe it. I can’t fathom that someone actually fucking farted in this enclosed space with hundreds of people all crammed together. I have to wonder what personality type it takes to fucking fart on the subway during rush hour. I mean, Jesus.

God, does it suck. When I’m standing there sometimes, I feel like I’m on the verge of a fucking nervous breakdown. I swear to God, my fucking heart starts pounding against my chest, my teeth are all clenched, my face feels tense, like my skin is being pulled taught and I can’t get it to sit down on my face naturally. And I’m gripping the bar so tightly, it’s ridiculous. My hands are all sweaty, and I’m soaking up all the nasty germs left there by all the other hands that have touched the bar. I keep reminding myself that I don’t have to grip the bar so damn hard, but then five seconds later my hand is clenching this fucking bar again.

I couldn’t get out even if I wanted to. Sometimes I think I’m going to puke, or pass out. Puking on the subway would be amazing, though, I have to admit it. Everyone would be forced to endure the putrid stink of your fucking throw-up until the next stop. There’s nothing they could do. I mean, the puke would be sitting there and I’m sure people would try to get away, but the thing is, in a packed car you can’t really move. I’d be interested to see that go down sometime. Wow.

So don’t tell me about fucking Karma. I don’t know if I buy into it or not. But I’ll tell you what, it’s just not worth giving up your seat to some old bag when this shit is going on. If Karma tries to take a seat away from me the next time I get on the subway to punish me for not giving mine up to an old lady, fuck it. I’ll be better than Karma. I’ll beat it. I’ll start telling people that I’m going to puke on them if they don’t give me their fucking seat. It’s definitely worth it.

Hell, I’m not saying I won’t do a good deed outside of the subway car. I’m not turning to the fucking dark side or anything. I’m actually a really nice guy, you know? But when the subway is packed, I can’t do it, man. I just can’t. I can’t fucking do it. Fuck Karma in relation to that, you know?