The Bomb on the 4 Train

by

10/30/2001

union sq e ny 10003

Neighborhood: All Over, Brooklyn

I’m on a jam-packed rush hour 4 train headed to Brooklyn and am lucky enough to get a seat. I’m reading my book and the guy next to me says, “Is that your bag?” and points under the seats. I look down and see a large, square-shaped canvas bag. “No,” I say. So he asks the lady next to him, and she says, “No,” too. Everyone looks at one another for a moment. My heart starts beating slightly quicker, and I say, “Open it.” And the man next to me says “Uh-uh,” and gets up and walks over toward the door. Now everybody is looking at the bag. I gingerly pull it toward me, and slowly flip open the top. Inside the bag are two steel cans. And I think, gasoline, but then I think, nitroglycerine. The lady across from me says, “It’s a bomb,” and that1s when panic sets in and everyone heads for the rear door. We are in the first car and have just left Bowling Green and are dipping into the tunnel under the East River at full speed, and I’m thinking, Okay, this is it. It’s going to happen. I’m very nervous and scared, but I open the bag further and see a roll of blue tape and a can of wax, but I don’t see any wires or anything else I remember from the movies. I gently tip one of the cans in the bag and see the word “turpentine” on the side. “I think these are painter supplies,” I say, but nobody sits back down or comes any closer to me or the bag. The train arrives at Burough Hall and I announce that I will take the bag and give it to a policeman and explain that it’s something for lost and found. As I get off the train I hear a woman say, “Thank you.”

There is no longer a policeman on the platform like there was a few weeks ago, so I take it upstairs to the token booth where I find two female cops talking to one another. I say, “These are two cans of turpentine or gasoline that someone left on the train. I think they’re painter supplies, but everyone on the train thought it was a bomb and they were real scared, so I brought them up here. I think this should go to lost and found.” I say it real fast because, to be honest, my heart is still going a thousand miles an hour. And the cop is talking to another cop and looks at me and says, “Just set it over there. We’ll take care of it,” and goes on with her conversation. I set two cans of potentially explosive materials beside the token booth and walk out of the station. The cop does not look in the bag or take down my name. As I go up the stairs, I look back and see the bag sitting there and the cops still talking to one another.

I think that tells you how safe we all are.

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