Platform by Phebe Jewell

Citizen X rides the subway, armed with an eloquent, steady hand. Lost in their screens, the other commuters don’t notice the thin man swaying in the aisle, one hand clamped on the strap overhead, the other brandishing a black Sharpie. The train jerks, but Citizen X holds steady, eyes on a blank space between two ads. He leans in, writing “If you don’t know the ONE TRUTH, how can you ask a question?” with a calligrapher’s precise touch. As the train speeds up to round a curve, he takes in his handiwork and signs his name with a flourish. Looking up from her phone, a teen watches Citizen X cap the Sharpie. The train slows, pulling alongside the platform. The doors glide open, but he remains planted in the aisle as people push past him. Just as the door is about to close, Citizen X darts out of the train. The teen digs a pen out of her backpack and hesitates before scribbling “Where is the love?” under his signature. She tosses the pen in the pack and picks up her phone, leaning back against posters offering pregnancy counseling and suicide prevention.

Biography: Phebe Jewell is a Seattle teacher and writer. Her flash appears or is forthcoming in numerous journals, most recently Fiction Attic, Pithead Chapel, and Drunk Monkeys. Read her at