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  • Matthew Martinez

Alice’s Adventures at the Myrtle Broadway J/M/Z Station

He said that he would be “exceedingly late” for our date. That’s the phrase he used. The train pulled in hard, screaming. I was a universe away from my East Village townhouse, where potential suitors would often ramble on about themselves and then have the audacity to send a Venmo request the next day if things didn’t turn out how they imagined. We struck up a conversation on a dating app. He was different, with a Clark Gable mustache, and interesting ideas about how many people should be in a committed relationship with each other (hint: it was more than 2). I was curious. 

I shared his photo in the group chat along with everything else I knew about him in case I ended up in the morgue, or worse: on a true crime podcast. I was sipping a spritz at the cleanest place I could find after descending the metal stairs down to the street level. The elevated train tracks above converged and rattled periodically at the intersection of Myrtle and Broadway. And gazing out the window of the bar, the area looked like tetanus, destitute, someone’s Ambien dream gone terribly wrong. And he texted: “I can’t make it; my main partner is having a meltdown because one of her partner’s lost their rent money in a card game.”

Figures. I asked the bartender where I could get something to eat in the area.

“Well if you’re feeling adventurous, they call it “the holy trinity” on Tik Tok.” He said, leaning forward as if he were about to reveal state secrets.“Go get a chicken sandwich from Popeyes, fries from Checkers, and the maple snackin’ bacon from Dunkin and put it all together. They’re all right next to each other near the stairs you just came down,” he said as his eyes widened suggestively. “Eat it.”

It sounded disgusting, but when in Rome. I assembled the thing right there on the corner–there was a five-way intersection, trash everywhere, and a very liberal sense about what constituted a bathroom, but I wasn’t going to let some Super-Mario-lookin-mf ruin my evening. 

I started feeling woozy as I took the last bite and everything was moving upwards. I stood there slowed down, smaller somehow, unable to move for a moment and then regained my composure. I watched the traffic lights gleam in gorgeous greens and radiant reds; even the blowing garbage seemed now to adhere to a quiet and ancient rhythm. I crossed each intersection under the tracks cataloging every astonishment. I’m telling you: the furry faces on the flowers in front of the fruit stand even sang along with the thumping reggaeton symphony around me.

I said to myself: “Alice, God is speaking directly to you from that Dunkin Donuts.” Then in an instant, I was scooped up, absorbed in the dusty feathers of some heroic pigeon, gliding, flying, a perfect unification. It dropped me back on the subway platform. 

On the ride home, I was starting to come out of it. The J moved over the Williamsburg Bridge and off to the south, the more iconic one, the one that people fall in love at. I was glad he had canceled on me. What further wonders had I been missing out on?


Art by Kaitlyn McVeigh


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