The Treasure


I ride this through this to get to this…


It’s late but not too late so I sit and wait for my train, the WTC from Grove St.

It’s a 10 minute wait.

An older gentleman sits down close to me on the next row of seats to my left.

I’m staring at the flat-screen-of-fluff above my head experimenting with rudimentary mental time relativity, failing.

The Weather Forecast, Local Headlines, Horoscope, Hollywood News…

“Hello,” He says.

He’s got 4 minutes to make the pitch, I smile.

“I am an artist.” He tares off the sketch of me that he had just made and hands it to me… It’s not bad.

“Do you know Pablo Picasso?”

I know of him, of course.

“Chagal, I studied with Chagal! ”


“Today is my birthday and I want to give you this treasure.”


I smile and begin to dash his efforts with a slow, gentle negative shake of my head handing the treasure back.

“No this is for you on my 77th birthday, it is very valuable and you must keep it!”

I take the drawing back. He then pulls out his 5×7 pocket portfolio and shows me his work. It’s good, ok, it’s great and he has 3 minutes before my train gets here.

I’m guessing he’s from the Czech Republic… The work is impressionistic invoking images of starry nights and lonely bridges.

The train is slightly early, I can hear it pulling into the station as the people around me begin to gravitate to the track. I roll the treasure up in a tight cone and shake his hand. He has a firm handshake and I tower over him as I get up.

Happy birthday, I say

“You are a big strong young man,” he says.

I am 50 in two weeks.

“I have a son who is 50 also, happy birthday to you!”

I step onto my train.



  1. It is a treasure.
    I think you had a visitation with the Angel of Godless People. Or Ganesha in a human form, putting a benevolent obstacle in your morning.
    Maybe not divine, but that 4 minutes was definitely magical. What’s the difference, in the end?

  2. Hee – I just noticed that your blog doesn’t recognize daylight savings time in it’s time stamp. I also noticed that spelling isn’t my strong suit.

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES!!! Wishing you sweetness for Your Day, warm sunshine and azure skies, sensory pleasures and joy deep in your being. May you live your 50s as a bold decade, glowing with humor and art, in the serene ecstasy of being adored for exactly who you are.

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