A huge, cut bald guy is standing across from me against the door. I’m in the short bench next to the emergency exit. A Dominican kid in an Ecko shirt and a flat-brimmed ball cap on the bench next to HCBG is doodling a surprisingly accomplished picture of a pig-dog with its mouth open in front of a mutant appendage, either a penis or something half-bitten-off (see fig. 1). HCBG whips out his phone and appears to take a picture of me, flash and all.
Me [annoyed]: Please don’t take a picture of me without my permission.
HCBG: Nah, wasn’t you.
Unhurriedly, HCBG takes out a badge that clips on to his belt loop and a pair of very serious-looking handcuffs. I get really interested in my crossword puzzle.
HCBG to Dominican Kid, tapping him on the shoulder: You’re under arrest.
DK: What was I doing?
HCBG gestures to the doodle as he convinces DK to present one wrist, then the other, which are cuffed together behind his back. I take out my headphones and waver over whether or not to put them in and attempt to ignore the unpleasantly predictable proceedings, or eavesdrop. I opt to eavesdrop.
DK: So many people doing other things and you don’t arrest them.
DK: [Argues unpersuasively in Spanish.]
HCBG: [Responds authoritatively in Spanish while taking consecutive pictures of DK’s supplicant, uncomprehending face and his person, both juxtaposed with his handiwork]
I try very hard not to look like I’m listening as I totally violate my own stated values and take a picture of HCBG, DK, my umbrella handle with my hand gripping it tight, part of a plastic bag, and a single headphone (see fig. 2).
HCBG [leading DK to the door, speaking to me]: I just needed to get him.
I nod silently, looking down, trying to compose my face in such a way that it says NO VALUE JUDGMENT ASSIGNED very clearly. Mentally, I try to assign value judgments to each person’s actions, and fail.