The Holi subway system doesn’t accept tokens.
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1. Overheard between the 16th and 17th stops of a westbound R train:

First: Like I was saying, before Malleus Maleficarum, no one really cared. Naked forest parties, incantations and herbal remedies for flying, everyone put up with it, or had a bit to drink and came and partied. But after Kramer, pure hysteria. Torture and false confessions and suddenly everyone’s consorting with Satan? It’s madness.

Second: But wasn’t that well and truly after you?

First: Yes, my persecution was way ahead of its time. But surely if you’d been there you could’ve put a stop to it?

Second: I don’t know, I’ve never been terribly popular in Ireland.

First: Come on, you’re the most powerful person I know. Look what you did to that Spanish fleet. And your cousin Mary.

Second:  . . .

First: I’m sorry, that wasn’t right of me to say, I’m just going to walk that one back. Can we pretend that never happened?

2. Overheard between the 5th and 6th stops of an eastbound A train:

First: So he says to me, he says, “It’s great and all, but does there have to be so much blood? I mean, it’s really spurting all over the place.” So I respond, “It’s a beheading. What the hell do you think is going to happen?” Ugh. They’d never say that sort of thing to Caravaggio, would they?

Second: Probably because they’re scared he’ll actually murder them.

First: True. Sorry, I interrupted, I just think it’s so funny we’d both feature a heroine of the same name. Small world, right?

Second: Mine’s a little less prone to exsanguination. More of a pen than a sword gal, you know?

First: But seriously, like you were saying, maybe he actually did have a sister? None of this Francis Bacon bullshit, let’s get into some high quality conspiracy theories. I really think you’re onto something.

Second: It’s more of a thought experiment than a conspiracy per se . . . but thank you.

3. Overheard between the 14th and 15th stops of a westbound R train:

First: I really think you’d enjoy our Bible study group.

Second: I don’t know, I’m not really big on the whole Bible thing.

First: That’s even better, we’re a little subversive.

Second: What was that?

First: We’re a little subversive.

Second: I’m really sorry, I can’t hear you.

First: Look, this is all kind of hush hush because the last time people found out I kind of got banished from Massachusetts.

Second: I didn’t even know that was a possibility.

First: A bit puritanical, those guys.

Second: Aren’t you . . .

First: What?

Second: Nevermind. Anyhow, it’s just, the Bible kind of slighted me. Millions of years of work nurturing life into existence reduced down to a week and a couple of sentences spoken by some guy.

First: I reaaaally think you’d enjoy our Bible study group.

4. Overheard between the 2nd and 3rd stops of an eastbound S train:

First: I don’t care what anyone says, Pluto should still be a planet.

Second: Pourquoi pensez-vous cela?

First: Well first because I love it.

Second: Wer nicht?

First: And it behaves so much like everything else we call a planet. It has five moons, for goodness sake.

Second: Misschien zijn het maanmensen.

First: No, they can’t be moonmoons because Pluto isn’t the moon of anything.

Second: Error mihi.

First: And some of their reasons for the demotion are just nonsense.

Second: כמו?

First: They say that if Pluto is a planet, all of these other Kuiper Belt Objects would also have to be considered planets.

Second: Hanno un punto.

First: Yes, but the part where it becomes nonsense is where they then wring their hands and worry about children having to memorize the names of dozens of planets.

Second: خوب این فقط پوچ است

First: Should we keep new elements off the periodic table because—think of the poor children?

Second: Οχι

First: Astronomy was so much more straightforward in my day. Find something new in the sky, name it, and move on.

5. Overheard between the 5th and 6th stops of an eastbound M train:

First: Don’t I know you?

Second: I get that a lot. Let me guess, you read Plato, right?

First: All the time. Oh, you’re from Menexenus, right? I’m so sorry, I just thought you were someone I knew. This is so embarrassing.

Second: Don’t worry, it happens all the time.

First: Now that we’re talking, could I trouble you to sign my copy of the Funeral Oration?

Second: Sure . . . can I ask why you carry this around with you?

First: My people send a lot of men to early graves. And we have a great fondness for Greek literature; we’re all over ancient mythology!

Second: Isn’t that special. So . . . who should I make this out to?

6. Overheard between the 1st and 2nd stops of a westbound R train:

First: It really is an honor to spend time with a god.

Second: Hey, I’m no saint.

First: <laughs>

Second: Oh good, I was worried people would make that joke to you all the time.

First: They do, I just still find it funny.

Second: See? This is why you’re the best. Also for putting up with all of my crazy sex stories.

First: I may be celibate, but I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Plus I was married to an actual man before becoming a bride of Christ. We had a nice place overlooking the Forum.

Second: You and Christ?

First: No no, me and my ex.

Second: So then you married Christ?

First: Metaphorically, yes.

Second: All of these Mesopotamian Kings used to marry me.

First: Like actually marry? Ceremony and everything?

Second: Yeah, it was crazy. So much party planning.

7. Overheard between the 3rd and 4th stops of a westbound R train:

First: What’s that you’re reading?

Second: First edition Pythagoras. One of a kind. Want to see?

First: This is incredible. Hmm. According to the library card it’s over 1600 years overdue.

Second: That library mostly burned down before this fell into my hands, so I think I’m ok.

First: Unless you happened to run into a pharaoh who came around for collection.

Second:  . . . You wouldn’t.

First: Nah, I’m just messing with you. Enjoy the geometry, nerd!

8. Overheard between the 10th and 11th stops of an eastbound A train:

First: Ladies and gentlemen, may I kindly have your attention? It is now show time. Show time everyone. Ahem.

Because I could not stop this train –
It kindly stopped for me –
This Carriage holds but just ourselves –
And Immortality.

Second: Whoa, incredible backflip! Take my money, please. You must come visit my Fridays, I insist.

First: Thank you ever so much. I would happily visit you any day of the week.

Second: Oh you are so darling. But I’m referring to my weekly salons. Everyone’s there. Gertrude and Isadora are going to knock your lace socks right off your delicate feet.

9. Overheard between the 2nd and 3rd stops of an eastbound R train:

First: So you’re saying they went from worshipping you to some bro with the head of a cow?

Second: Yup. Basic bull bro.

First: Unbelievable.

Second: Anyhow, are they still carving those awesome curvy little statues of you?

First: No, it’s been thousands of years, maybe more.

Second: Whatever happened to sculpting? There used to be so many sculptors. Now what’s everyone so busy with?

First: <looks around> Candy Crush mostly.

10. Overheard between the 3rd and 4th stops of an eastbound A train:

First: <conspiratorial whisper> Do you see those three ladies across from us?

Second: The ones staring at you?

First: Yeah, them. I think they’re following me.

Second: What do they want?

First: They’re trying to pressure me into writing a sequel to my book. They follow me everywhere.

Second: Oh. Ok. If it gets really bad I can help you file a restraining order.

First: They’re the most virtuous people I know; I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to them. Also, they helped me with the first one.

Second: Maybe you should just write the book?

First: That’s why I’m here, I’m researching what the transit system in my fictional city would be like.

Second: Have you ever considered a stage adaptation?

First: No, why?

Second: I’m looking for a chance to get back to my roots.

First: You want to direct it?

Second: No, no, to act.

First: Sorry, I just thought you were more the type to be in charge.

Second: Empress is a fun role, but so is Antigone.

11. Overheard between the 4th and 5th stops of a westbound E train:

First: What an incredible coincidence! What’s your favorite part of Meetings?

Second: The silence. I find it so calm and meditative and heavy with everyone’s thoughts.

First: Me too. Have you ever been moved to speak?

Second: Once I was thinking of the first thirty years of my life and holding in the light everyone not yet free, and was moved to share my voice in song. And you?

First: I am frequently moved to speak on equality, in and out of Meetings.

Second: That is a point we agree on but . . . equality must be achieved for everyone. What good is one group’s elevation at the expense of another? Your opposition to the 15th amendment . . .

First: <interrupts> I hear you, and I do believe in universal suffrage . . . eventually. I have done what I feel I must for the greater goal. One battle at a time will get us there, attempt too much and we will achieve nothing.

Second: Alienate your own allies and the cause will crumble.

First: <pause> Perhaps we are at an impasse, and history will tell us who is right.

Second: I cannot wait for history when the fundamental rights and dignity of human beings are at stake. This is my stop; I hope we can discuss this further soon.

12. Overheard between the 3rd and 4th stops of a westbound S train:

First: Is there a doctor on this train?

Second: Yes, I’m a doctor, what’s happening?

First: A creature I created created a monster who created a creature and now everyone refers to that creature by the name of the monster except for a few pedants who call the creature a monster and the monster a doctor.

Second: I . . . don’t think I can help you.

First: You can’t be a very good doctor then.

Second: I graduated top of my class.

First: So you just came over here to brag? You’re a monster.

13. Overheard between the 1st and 2nd stops of a westbound M train:

First: Which house would you be in?

Second: Gryfferin.

First: That’s not a thing.

Second: It is, look it up on the internet, there are hybrids of all of the houses now.

First: What do you even get when you combine Gryffindor and Slytherin?

Second: Something that looks exactly like my son. And you? What house would you be sorted into?

First: Like you even have to ask. Slytherin of course. Oh wait, what house is Parvati Patil in?

Second: Gryffindor!

First: You’re kidding.

Second: Nope. Want to join Gryfferin?

First: <audible eye-roll>