Tagger by Sandy Triofana
The Red Line of the Boston T, between 8 9 p.m. Just pulling out of Harvard station. Tagger jumps quickly inside.
Two train cars-in the first car are three MTBA transit cops---one has his hands firmly clutching the collars of the other two. They all have on drab blue gabardine jackets with MTBA embroidered on their backs, one collared, rough looking cop has a Chinese symbol for haste on the back. The same guy firmly clutches a now opened purse.
Along the floor of the train car are the following: a business card, with Professor Wordsmith engraved on it; and three sheets of paper, each with quotes from ancient Greek literature.
In the second car is Tagger, comforting Professor Wordsmith, who is angrily shaking her fist at the two transit cops (the collared ones) in the next car. The lady who called out to the pursuing cop is now standing, angry that she, once again, missed yet another stop on the T and is still heading outbound.
In the back, sleeps on Charlie---bearded, addled and peaceful---he's seen it all.
Tagger 2 by Sandy Triofana
This part is the fantasy of my story.
The setting: The Red Line of the Boston T, maybe 8 9 p.m.-outbound-Tagger got on at Kendall/MIT station, the train is now stopped at Harvard station Tagger's intent is to be the biggest-he's after a whole train on the Red Line and he's well on his way. The scene he paints on the side of the car is 10 minutes delayed; it "just took place" inside the car. It is painted along l/3 of the back of one train and the entire car of another train.
1/3 panel----two rough looking guys hurrying away, both have MBTA embroidered on the back of their drab blue gabardine jackets-one has a Chinese symbol for haste spray painted on the back (Tagger knows a lot of Chinese symbols for haste because that's his business, haste-you decide which symbol is painted there). The guy with the haste symbol on his back carries a woman's purse. Inside the purse, among the credit cards, licenses and female accoutrement are three sheets of scrap paper. They contain the following:
Go while the going's good,
Is my advice
Courage is a thing
All men admire. Think what it will mean
For your good name and mine, if you do this.
Whom the gods love
(tr. Lord Byron)
Whole train car----There are five people depicted within the whole train car. The first is another MBTA transit authority man; same jacket as the other two. This is the gentleman that the woman called to, pointing out the thieves. He just glimpses the two men he's chasing as he goes through the door to the car before him. There is a surprised and somewhat shocked expression on his face.
The second person is the woman who called to the transit cop. She is sitting on the seats reserved for people with disabilities. She does not realize this. She is angry because she fell asleep and missed the connection to the Orange Line, which would have taken her to Chinatown and an auction featuring rare books with translations of the poetry of Li Po.
The third and fourth people are, respectively, Professor Wordsmith, a visiting professor of ancient Greek literature and philosophy. She is on loan to Harvard from Oxford University, and, Tagger, our hero. Tagger and Professor Wordsmith met last week at a Noam Chomsky lecture at MIT. Tagger was there by accident. He was deep into Wild Style by now, one the of the best young graffiti artists to come along since the mid- 1970's. His motto was: "If you're not the best, then find your purpose and be the best at that." His purpose was color combos and words-together. Last week, he had been chased into MIT by two MBTA transit cops---they took his cans, one of which was the most vivid turquoise he'd ever seen. Professor Wordsmith, being rather conservative with her political views and rather bored with Noam Chomsky's liberalism, readily hid the likeable young man from the pursuing authorities. They became friends. She was now helping him with his words. Painted on the side of the car, was Tagger's hand, holding a scrap of paper, with the following:
But if I don't get out from under pretty damned soon, there'll
Be a disaster in the rear.
Aristophanes: The Frogs
The fifth person was Charlie, fast asleep. Long beard, long hair. He'd been on that god-damned train for upwards of 40 years now. In his hand was a half eaten balogna sandwich, thrown to him by his ever-faithful wife, now from Kendall station, since Sculley Square Station long ago disappeared from any T map I've ever seen.
Now, you citizens of Boston, don't you think it's a scandal how the people have to pay and pay? Fight the fare increase! Vote for [long dead] George O'Brien [better than Nobody-he's even dead!!!] Get poor Charlie of the M. T. A.
Tagger 3 by Sandy Triofana
Tagger jumps back on the train at Harvard Station, red line--outbound. There are six Chilean pan pipe players onboard, singing, in Spanish, of course, "The People United Will Never be Defeated"---songs from their wonderfully communist young adulthood in Chile, just prior to Allende's assasination.
Also on board are two tourists from Nebraska---spitting images of the two farmers in that Grant Wood painting, American Gothic. They edge away from the scene of Tagger and the Chilean pan pipe players throughout the ride.
Also onboard is a medium sized cocker spaniel puppy, who is lost and wandered onboard.
Tagger whips out his cans and, with permission, of course, paints the larger pan pipes of the Chilean pipe players.
If this were my story--there would ALWAYS be Charlie in the back, full beard, with the half eaten balogna sandwich---come on--it REALLY goes with the theme song!!!!