As I rode home on the R train last night, I settled in for the half-hour voyage next to a pair of chatty twenty-something women and dove into the chapter on the birth of the "roughie" exploitation genre in SLEAZOID EXPRESS, a loving chronicle of the days before Times Square was forever ruined by the Giuliani administration. As I thrilled to the sleazy filmmaking efforts of the Amero-Findlay collaborators, one of the girls rocketed out of her seat as though someone had just schlamped a four-million volt dildo straight up her framma-zamma, and nearly bashed her head into the metal straphanger's railing. "GET OUT OF YOUR SEAT! RIGHT NOW!!!" she shrieked at her startled friend, and before her still-seated pal could process the order, freakout girl had grabbed her by the arm and yanked her upright, dragging her several seats away to the other side of the subway car, nearly pulling the confused woman's arm from its socket.
Needless to say, this sudden outburst of panic shocked the living hell out of those of us who were either asleep or reading, and as the two crash landed onto their new seating area all eyes tried to determine just what was so terrible about the seats that they had flung from like chunks of masonry hurled by a trebuchet. A willowy young queer kid with ginger hair shrieked "What the fuck! You scared the shit out of me you crazy bitch!!!" to which the panicked rider pointed to the vacated seat and uttered "Look! There it is! Don't you see it? It's a cockroach!!!" At that, all eyes turned and beheld a minuscule example of one of NYC's most common vermin, maybe about three-quarters of an inch in length, a far cry from the Megalon-sized horror one would have expected to elicit such a primal, knee-jerk reaction.
All who saw it let out disappointed moans or cries of "Gimme a fuckin' break!" and "Aw, man! Lady, you're a fuckin' pussy!" and such before returning to their usual state of ingrained MTA-rider detachment. Little short of a foaming-at-the-mouth, wild-eyed naked man, covered in dried blood and sporting a fifteen-inch hard-on while violating a life-size cardboard standee of Seven of Nine can attract the attention of the daily subway traveler — believe me, we've seen and gotten used to some seriously fucked-up shit — so having our various reveries disturbed over a teensy-weensy bug was a bit of a buzzkill.
About two stops after the excitement had calmed down, the doors opened and in walked a three-hundred-plus pound Puerto Rican dude with a greasy, Jim-Kelly-sized Afro. The guy sat down and closed his eyes for a few minutes, but then he bolted upright and looked at the floor. Across it crawled the little roach, already forgotten by all the other riders, and the huge guy jumped from his chair screaming a heavily accented "Die, you motherfucker!!!" while displaying a shocking level of agility for one of his sheer mass, landing with all of his gargantuan poundage atop the chitinous stowaway, flattening it utterly and splattering its innards in an impressive pattern about the size of a smashed grape (seedless variety). As silence returned and the gigantic slayer of the wee once more took his seat and closed his eyes, all I could think of was the classic sequence from INFRA MAN (1976) where the hero, grown to titanic proportions, pulled the exact same move (minus the accusation of incestuous conduct) on a hyperactive arachnid-man, resulting in a sickening blast of green goo and a sort of fart noise.
Too bad the big Puerto Rican wasn't decked out in a cool red and silver superhero outfit when he defended us from the horrid, crawly bastard. Now THAT would have been cool.