Banter of NYC cops.  A really short girl in line at the deli is talking to a really tall police officer.  She’s a bit animated and probably slightly intoxicated.  When she gets her food and leaves, everyone just shakes their heads.  Someone says to the cop, “You know, she could blow you without kneeling down.” To which the cop replies, “That’s what I was thinking.”


  And I’m just standing there in line waiting patiently to buy a couple beers that I plan to consume on my train ride back to Trenton.  Might as well try to catch a buzz on the train.  Jersey Transit is a gas but Septa is no fun at all.


  I’m holding a bottle of Dragon Stout and a bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Stock Ale.  Guess, I could make myself a black and tan.  That always seems to be my lazy motivation.  But it is a little after five in the morning and I need to get home to sleep.  Probably won’t get too creative tonight.


  There’s not a ghost of a chance that I’ll stay awake on the train.  I’ll have one beer consumed by Newark and hopefully then I’ll fall asleep.  It’s good to crash out and wake up in Trenton.  Which is a scary thought.  Being happy to wake up in Trenton doesn’t sound too good when you think about it.


  It’s late enough to be early.  The sun is threatening to rise as I am on the journey homeward bound.  I sit on the train and sip my Dragon Stout.  The sun will rise slowly as I ride home.  Watching the sun rise from a Jersey Transit train is nothing new to me.  This is familiar turf for me.


  I am bleary eyed as I crack open the bottle of Dragon Stout.  Nothing like a Jamaican stout at 5:14am when you’re going home and everybody else is going to work.  And it’s really that kind of night.  I hand the train conductor my train ticket.  He comments on my beer, “Dragon Stout is a pretty good beer.  I like stouts.” He’s not at all dazed or surprised by me drinking a beer.


  That is how NJT earned its cool reputation.  It’s the party train on the East Coast.  Almost every partier on the Northeast Corridor has a couple good Jersey Transit tales in their archives.  (The Pigpen days had their charm or so I am told.)  “Yeah,” I tell him, “It’s a good breakfast beer, you know.”


  At least my humor doesn’t fail me after an all nighter in Manhattan.  I think of a John Coltrane composition called “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise.” I tug gently on my beer.  I look out the window facing East.  The predawn moments are taking effect.  The sky is turning a deep, dark blue.  Soon an orange ball will be on its way but the orange I’m seeing is the shade used on Coltrane Impulse releases.  And the music is recurring inside my head.


  This Dragon Stout is mystical stuff at 5:00am.  That’s what I tell myself as I take a gander at the label.  Maybe there should be a reggae lilt to this prose.  I look out the window determined to catch the sunrise.  I’m figuring it will pop up somewhere around Metro Park. . .









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