Cookie's New Tune

Those of you who ride the train daily probably recognize the usual suspects who ask for money. On any train, they fall into three categories: the performers, the salesmen, and those who just want your money.

Performers usually get the most change, as they should. Always popular are the Mariachi bands or the South American pan flute player. Following closely behind are the doo-wop trios who sing a-cappella. Sadly, the poets, which number few, get little for their efforts.

Subway salesmen come in a few varieties: the battery man, who quietly announces his merchandise, the young teen who lugs wholesale boxes of candy around and has a basketball uniform to buy, and the trinket-hawker, who I imagine are enslaved by human-traffickers and forced to peddle noisemaking toys which, unfortunately, found their way into the country a lot easier than the people selling them. The latter are mainly Asian and are usually on the Queens trains.

Finally, we have those souls who just want your money. Among them, Cookie is a regular on my train. She is a middle-aged woman who typically announces her name and kindly asks for a nickel, dime, or quarter.

Today, however, Cookie has raised the bar. The other night she announced that the days of the nickel, dime, or quarter are over. She continued, asking the leery passengers if they knew what she was after. A man who was beside her pulled out his wallet and gave her a dollar bill. Bingo, she rejoiced. I shared a smile with those around me.