Even this early in the morning and it’s already hot and humid. The Queens NY rush hour commute is kicking into gear and he is just lying on the filthy underground subway platform. Dead? Sick? The white guy standing over him is wearing a transit uniform, so assured that he
is in the right hands the growing crowd in this immigrant neighbourhood tries to avoid getting close to the scene.
“Is he Guyanese or Mexican?” I ask my wife. She says she is unsure.
Two young white guys with paramedic equipment are rushing along the length of the platform, sweat dripping down their faces, eager to render assistance. “We just found him here,” the MTA employee says to the panting paramedics on arrival. They gently turn him over; a look of utter disgust and revulsion cross their faces.
The paramedics step away from him. “Hey, Shyam, get up,” one says. “So you know him?” the MTA employee asks. The young man nods, still grimacing, “Yeah, at least three times a week. “Hey, Shyam, get the hell up.” Still lying on the grimy concrete Shyam tries opening his eyes, “who the s—- callin’ meh?” he queries, his voice slurring.
“Guyanese,” I report to my wife. She turns her face away.
“How old are you man, 29? Too young for this s—-,” one paramedic says to Shyam. “C’mon let’s get moving.”
“He’s OK?” the MTA guy seems concerned. “Yeah, just wasted as usual,” the paramedic assures. “Get going, Shyam.”
“Ker yo mother-s——,” replies the drunkard, staggering to his feet. The paramedics help him up the stairs.
What, I wonder will these young professionals think of the next Guyanese they encounter? What a shameful disgrace.
Justin de Freitas