Mr. Pindar Takes the Train

Mr. Pindar Takes the Train

Peter Pindar, silver-grey hair, notched-lapel, two-button, double-vented, indigo blue Armani, white flare collar and a four-in-hand green tie, takes his usual seat on the 7:28 Metro North train at Croton-Harmon.

A wave hello to the two gentlemen across the aisle. The men nod back. He places his monthly ticket under the clip on the seat back.

At Ossining, the conductor taps his shoulder. “Expired.”

“Beg pardon?”

“Your ticket. It’s a new month.”

“Goodness,” says Pindar. “Doesn’t that beat all?”

“That’ll be $14 one way to Grand Central, or, I’m sorry Mr. P but I’ll have to put you off at Phillips Manor.”

“What an embarrassment. You know me, Glenn,” Pindar whispers, reading the man’s name tag. “Would a personal note suffice, I‘m a tad short today and I will certainly show you my new card on Monday?”

The train pulls even with the platform at Phillips Manor, the last stop before it goes express to 125th Street.

“Look,” the conductor says, snapping off a fresh receipt. “This could be my job.”

Pindar hands him his business card: Peter Pindar, Manager, Tourneau Corner, Fine Watches, 200 W 34th Street. “Thank you,” he says. “Your kindness knows no bounds.”

From Grand Central, Pindar walks south, breathing in the fresh city air. His heels click on the glittering pavement along Madison.

At the corner of 34th and Broadway, the familiar fading sign reads: ‘Tourneau is permanently closed. Please visit our new Bryant Park location.’ No surprise. Swarovsky will be moving in.

He buys a coffee, light and sweet. “Good day, Mr. P,” the vendor smiles.

He walks uptown to 42nd St, finds a chair in the Library reading room and unfolds the discarded copy of the Journal he picked up as he left the train.

At noon, Pindar folds the paper under his arm and takes the rear entrance into Bryant Park.

On the well-trimmed lawn, a small crowd encircles a mime: Whiteface, top hat, striped shirt, bell-bottoms. Pindar joins the circle and claps joyfully at mime’s every move.

When the mime gestures for him to come join him in the center, Pindar waves him off, embarrassed by the attention. The mime insists.

Pindar hands the folded Journal to one of the onlookers and stands stiffly beside the mime. There is warm but unsure applause.

Pindar and the mime look out to the audience, share a hesitant sideways glance and begin to turn slowly, in tandem. Their eyes close and open as if they see their own reflection in a mirror. They lean toward one another. The mime touches his left cheek and Pindar touches his right. For seven solid minutes they move in flawless manikin-like unison.

When they are done, they bow low. The crowd roars. Children rush to drop coins and dollar bills in the mime’s top hat.

Pindar, flushed and famished retrieves the Journal, buys a hot dog, and sits at a table in the shade to read.

At 3:15, a thin gentleman with a smudge of greasepaint on his chin gestures if he may sit at the table. They do not speak. The man slips an envelope into the folded paper and leaves.

At a pay phone, Pindar leaves a message for his wife. “Margurite, I left Eduardo to close up the store and I’ll be taking the 4:53 home.

On time, Pindar salutes to Coutan’s sculpture of Mercury, the god of travel and commerce above the entrance to Grand Central Terminal and makes his way to Gate 37, the silver city express to Croton-Harmon.



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