I am joined by the rats. They have relay races over rails, creating music with their teeth against candy wrappers. I watch them. I watch others watch them. We take secret bets as to which rats will make it past this day, this week. Which are the strong ones. The smart ones. One tears open a bag of chips that fell to its death from human’s hands and sharp teeth make a percussion sound as it nibbles and attacks.
When they scurry over our countertops or across rooms in apartments, we scream. Here, we accept them as long as they stay below where the tracks are. We are the voyeurs above. Feeling brave as their presence does not shake us. I give each one a name. Wonder about its family. Is it happy. Does it wonder about me.
A woman with black-and-grey newspaper skin, crumpled and delicate, spits out pieces of candy bar toward the rats. One bite for them one bite for her. Her spits are angry– less about sharing and more about target practice. She spills coffee toward the tracks– a determined splash. And I wonder if she wants to clean them with her caffeine or get them addicted like her. She takes a sip then spills again. As B train approaches at Dekalb station in Brooklyn, she throws the rest of her coffee toward the rats to drown them before the electric shocked subway arrives.