The Horror on the Skytrain

Panic as I feel it coming
By, Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief

Maybe I can stumble off before Metrotown, eyes watering and face a strange color with as few eyes to witness my inevitable loss.

I could feel it creeping up on me. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this at all. Suddenly, my mask felt tight, and my eyes began to bulge. If I had been talking, I would have stuttered, had I been walking I would have stumbled, but sitting here on the Skytrain, all I could do was shake.

I didn’t know if it was safe. Suddenly it felt crowded, like half of Vancouver was pressing in.

Would they judge me? They would, wouldn’t they. Afterall THAT’s a terrible thing. It’s like announcing to the world that you’re a disease-ridden mongrel fit for exclusions and banishment. Worse still, they might think I’m one of those crazies who calls everyone else a sheeple. How do I tell them I’m really a good guy?

I wasn’t ready to be judged. I wasn’t sure I wanted to feel those eyes and bare that scrutiny. I imagined the old arthritic lady beside me jumping up in shock and horror before scurrying off at the next stop. A young mother would snatch up her child as all of natures hardwired motherly instincts kicked in at once. Some meathead jock or other such bozo would puff out his chest and stand between me and some cute girl, asserting his dominance and good health.

I’d probably be ashamed too; given my skinny frame, narrow chest and hollow cheeks who wouldn’t be? Maybe if I act tough, I’ll feel tough, and this feeling will go away. Even if its never worked before, it should work this time, right?

I felt that feeling creep a little higher in my chest. Prodding my esophagus with a touch more gusto, grinning mischievously at my windpipe, leering at the outside world from somewhere near my collarbone. It thought it was winning.

In fact, it knew it was winning.

My breath hitched once. It was a fight now. If my face doesn’t betray me and I don’t turn red, I’ll consider this a success. Maybe I can stumble off before Metrotown, eyes watering and face a strange color with as few eyes to witness my inevitable loss.

Who would have thought that a cough could bring such trouble?

I could just picture me, spewing germs like some biological warfare geyser, much to the chagrin of my loving family. Mouth agape (luckily covered by the mask), eyes watering (I think the cough got bigger while I was trying to hold it down), stupid look on my face (luckily obscured by the mask).

I had to make my escape; time was running out and I was about to lose this battle. The cough was not satisfied with tickling anymore, it had begun to kick. Would make it out the gate in time? Would succeed in ripping the mask of my face or would I be stuck with that weird, warm mist coating the inside of my face mask again? I was about to find out.