2,745 words – approx. 9 minutes
It starts, as so many things do, with a joke. It’s not a good joke; it’s a wizened raisin of a thing, shrivelled and drained of any insight or wit by overuse. It’s not even a joke that’s spoken aloud, but one spotted on the t-shirt of a man with a takeaway coffee as he leaves the Sunshine café on an autumn lunchtime.
Nevertheless, it starts with this, and weeks later another man, who had not in fact seen the joke himself, is in an almost empty carriage of early morning subway in New York.