I was on the subway, midday, so it wasn’t that crowded. Which I thought was good because I could be anti social and interact with my foldable phone. I did hear the steps that walked up and sat heavily across from me. Between us was a window which was no good in the underground except at the stations.
On reflection, I think this bothered him and thus he let out a loud, “Ahem!” as if he wanted to speak.
Briefly I looked up to check the nearby positions of everyone. There was no one else in easy speaking range so he must have meant that ahem for me. I decided not to get involved and deliberately bent my head to my machine.
“What do you do for a living?” the man asked and I knew that my prized time on my machine was over. “I bet your in charge of people and only approach others with orders never to approach you. Am I right?”
“I’m a doctor.” My eyes darted back to my machine with his pause.
“Specialist? Family Doctor? Surgeon? Philosophy?
I smiled at that last one. “I’m a plastic surgeon.” Noting an in with his mixed up nose I gave him a card. “That is, in case you know anybody.”
He smiled. “I’m the opposite. You fix people’s faces and I ruin them. I know what rhinoplasty is.” He must have read that off my card.
“I give up then. What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a professional boxer.”
“That’s how the opposite thing works, then. I could have guessed it was something like that by the way you carry yourself.”
He smiled and I thought the conversation might end there.
“Of course I don’t dare get my nose fixed until I’m sure of retirement.”
“That is also under the condition it isn’t too hard to fix. I do improvements not miracles. Break that thing too many times or too badly from one punch and there’s nothing I can do.”
“Opposites attract,” he said and got right to the point. “Maybe you and I could work together. For a commission I could ruin faces that you then fix.”
“None of your boxing buddies would go for that.”
“I’m talking the general public. In a one-plastic-surgeon town you would get all the business.”
“But surely you would be arrested each fight you started.”
“Not if I donned a mask, got a police scanner and only punched out criminals.”
“Crime fighting for profit. Why you are in the same territory as the police themselves.”
“And the judges and the jailers and everybody else. Why shouldn’t we have the same lucrative business? And, really ,would you have the obvious criminals profit from what they do? There would be one more layer of responsibility on their backs.”
“What would you do about guns?”
“Can’t a guy just roll around ideas in their head?”
“Good. Because there is no way I’m leaving for a one-plastic-surgeon town.