The Most Dangerous Game
I returned to my crossword and I heard this:
Delightful childish giggles.
More giggling from the kid.
Silence. One of the women said, "John? Are you all right?"
I looked up. The younger man was standing there, holding his hand over his left eye and not moving.
"He's okay," said the elder. "His thumb just went and---" and he made a thumb-in-eye gesture.
As it happened, we were at 175th, which seemed to be their stop, and they all filed off, muted by concern, with the young man, hand still over his face, stumbling after the others.
And my first thought was, Wow. How is he ever going to explain his injury at work tomorrow?:
"John! Your eye's bandaged! What happened?"
"Well, I was playing peek-a-boo with my niece, you know---a lot of flailing and shrieking in a high-pitched silly voice---and you know how things get out of hand..."
"You mean you weren't wearing safety goggles? Christ. You're lucky to be alive." Pause. "I'm just kidding. You're an idiot. Excuse me while I announce this to the Internet."
How funny was it? When he got off the subway train, there were eight commuters left. We'd all seen it, and we all busted up. Instant communion. It was a beautiful thing. Well, maybe not a beautiful thing, but it's better than a sharp stick in your eye.