Here is all the stuff that Barbara helped me cut from my short story, preserved for posterity.
Every day Hal rode the e line home from work. He would walk the two blocks down Main Street past the bustling bistros and boutiques, down into the damp underbelly of the city. He rode the rickety. He swayed along, crossing the town line into FUCKTOWN, he always sat by a window, except when he couldn’t, when the trains. When he had to sl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
He got off at Jersey St. and walked the six blocks to his house.
One night, he turned down a n alley or side street and there was a manhole cover missing mysteriously. He got curious and went into the manhole to see what was there. He went down the rusted moss covered ladder, descending into the pitch of the tunnel. He quickly realized his expedition wouldn’t amount to much without any light, so he thought very hard and then there was light. He saw an unexciting array of pipes, spotted with knobs and draped in darkness. The tunnel itself was fairly unremarkable as far as tunnels go. It was a giant concrete pipe, but was flat at the bottom to allow for walking and wheeling and such; The floor was littered with mysterious objects. Floss, toothpicks, electric guitar picks, and mostly Russian newspapers. He didn’t know what to make of the place. So he looked around further, intent on trying to find something, what— what he didn’t know. Then he saw it, curiously XXXXXX hanging by a spider’s thread from a smaller pipe t, one that branched out of the larger maze- it was a small dangly silver earring, clearly one usually worn by a woman. Hal’s stomach did a somersault, or maybe a cartwheel, and he reached out — but paused abruptly before disrupting the delicate display. Who’s was it? Why was it here? But none of it mattered. Hal simply knew had had to have it. So it was, that he reached out and plucked the earring from its perch”“ and placed it in his breast pocket. Having found something, it. — He exited the way he had come, and walked quickly home.
She had lost it in a midnight poker game, o—on her way home from work she had been accosted and then convinced rather absurdly to play a game of poker with several small rough-looking, but oddly adorable little men in the vicinity of Edgarsville, only a couple blocks from her office.
Hal always enjoys the walk from the train-stop down Lincoln St. to his humble apartment. He tells his customers it’s the night that makes it so special. The way the streetlights ignite the air around them makes him happy. So does eating raw sheep hearts.
Hal walked down Main Street, passing by the various shuttered shops and bustling cafés. He kept his hands stuffed loosely in his jean pockets, and walked matter-of-factly.
He slid his train pass through the reader, and pushed through the turnstile. A train was just pulling in, but he was in no hurry. He stepped into the car just as the doors began to close, but didn’t seem to notice. He sat next to an old sunken black woman wearing a polka-dotted dress.
He exited the car and was about to leave the platform when something on the tracks caught his eye. It was a shiny object, caught in the glare of the overhead lights, and at first Hal couldn’t understand what it was, or why it was where it was. Then he saw that it was a woman’s earring: simple, but not unsophisticated; of the dangling variety. Hal had seen many women wearing such earrings; they always ordered double lo-fat tall mochaspressoccinos. But for some reason this particular piece transfixed him. No matter what enormous efforts he applied in his head to turning around and walking home, Hal was unable to make his body cooperate.