Action

Aldwin Li

You see them, don’t you? They’re dressed drab and sound slurred and loud. Screw this. Shit that. Fuck the other thing. A moment ago they were posing for selfies next to a trash can. Beer bottle clatters over shoulder. Someone spits.
You see: look what this country has created! Civilised people – courteous, cultured, civilised people. What people these are. What perfect people.
Something says just go. But you stand to a side and watch, and you see one of them getting to his knees at the turnstile. Is he looking for something? Trying to crawl through? It takes you about ten seconds to realise he isn’t. So you look where he’s gesturing and you see one of his friends—big-boned in a biker jacket, readying into a run; an athlete at a starting line.
It takes you about twelve seconds more to realise: biker jacket is going to jump on him and over.
Your camera is in your hands before you know it. You stare. Tourists, businessmen, the station guard stare. Disbelieving. Can’t blame them: can’t blame you. You look at the camera as to confirm reality. This looks half out of a cartoon. And through the lens, recording, blinking, biker jacket runs, runs, runs, slows down – maybe he won’t? Maybe he won’t do it after all? – then he gets on his friend’s back, somewhat gracelessly, and clambers clumsily onto the turnstile, looks hesitant for a second – lifts himself over like a miracle and dumps himself on the other side, and there are cheers and another friend is going through another turnstile and dragging his friend through and the station guard isn’t even moving, just sitting there, and roars of laughter and slaps on the back and they go through – gone

and only now does the intercom intone This is the transport police…; only now does the station guard, the businessmen, the tourists move; only now, you see, do you hastily slip camera into pocket, like contraband.
You see?
You knew. You all knew. It was wrong. But you didn’t stop them. You were all still. Transfixed. Terrified! Too terrified to deter the things you wouldn’t dare to dare to do.
Too excited to turn away.