He couldn't help but to sometimes smile at the contradictions he encountered. His was a world moving too quickly fleeting to which he could only grasp at in passive acknowledgment. Any real concern for the things which amused him, any real concentration exerted made him fill up with madness madness at a scene or a truth which nobody else seemed to see, let alone acknowledge in full. It made him wonder sometimes that maybe most didn't have the time the time or the energy to be there, to be fully present in front of him or in their particular mode of business. And although he could usually make sense of it this way, it was nevertheless disconcerting. And there was time. He had understood that time made everything better progress, growth and healing of old wounds and new opportunities. But this he decided was a myth, that this was somehow the exception to the rule. That somehow his world was evolving backward. And when it came down to it, who in their right mind could deny it? Everyone could everyone did. That without progress, with the actual reversal in good fortune that he was sure he observed since his earliest recollection, people still couldn't seem to understand that they were fighting a loosing battle. A loosing battle against what? He was never quite certain. For quite sometime all he could do was to smile indignantly at the things which didn't seem to make sense to him. He could certainly describe certain aspects of what he saw and understood to be true, but he still lacked the complete foresight to get past the outer edges of it all. But he tried. And although it drained him to recognize and analyze these contradictions, he would soon come to understand it as a skill and gift to be somehow extended outwards.
His smile faded slightly as he made his was down a crumbling concrete stairway into the stagnant smell of urine and bleach. The walls of the tunnel were cobwebs of cracked and wet concrete, layered with faded graffiti. The lighting was dim with only one or two bulbs in fluorescent fixtures illuminating the way. There was no need for money or tickets or gates because the tunnels were deserted. And except for the obligatory officer at each station to check for the appropriate transportation permit, the stations and platforms would remain practically empty. Broken glass littered the ground which was incessantly moist with dirty water and grime. The sound of dripping water and the constant wind currents which whirled through the train tunnels made up the air.
He thought that it couldn't have been more than the week before that he had seen orange cones and construction tape and the name of a demolition company who's posters postured something about renovation and revitalization of the tunnels of the entire sprawling station. He was sure of it. And he was sure that throughout the few weeks during that time he hadn't seen more than one or two demolition workers at one time down in those depths. And that when he did see them, they smoked hand rolled cigarettes and had their heads in thin orange binders. He was sure during this time he would encounter the obligatory independent audit inspector but the whole affair seemed a bit of a ruse, a bit fuck-all. And he smiled besides. He smiled because he wasn't quite sure who had gotten off worse, the politicians that provided the money or the contracted company who took on the responsibility and risk only to be bitten themselves. The scam was a common one. With jobs like this one contracted out, companies who's sole purpose it was to fulfill the contracted obligation flourished. For a few years they seemed to accomplish what was intended lower costs with better quality and a growing market to which politicians sought to outsource more goods and services. But it wasn't long, maybe simply because of the backwards progress of things, that the trend was interrupted. Interrupted because corruption soon took a tighter grip in the capital and on the boards of the committees. Interrupted because of a war and national emergency that brought economic forces into play that made it continually harder for anybody to make a solid profit. Soon, most companies couldn't take a job without running into red ink and the ones that remained grew bulky and corrupt and inefficient. The whole scene became one of politicians and blue suits and orange hard hats and money. It was plain to see but was only one issue in a litany of others that needed to be addressed by the congress in the capital.
Still a fact remained. The fact that he could have easily himself made note of his observations. Made note of what he saw and brought it to the attention of a supervisor, or someone a little higher up in the company. But he thought it too burdensome. Too burdensome because it would probably do more harm than good. His company was as corrupt as any of the others. That although they fulfilled their obligation par minimum, he couldn't be sure if his observations were meant to go unobserved.
As he made his way to his way to his train platform he couldn't help but wince as he passed a lone safety officer who acknowledged him with the piercing smile of an unspoken and blasphemous joke. He had tried to oblige but only felt himself fading backwards, his mind pulling away from his eyelids.
Fucking prick, he though to himself.
What did he have to be smiling about? This fool was worse than those who's eyes he didn't recognize. His eyes weren't vacant but full of something which revolted him to his core. He immediately felt himself flush with adrenaline and felt his legs tremble as he sat down on the bench at the end of the train platform.
The city's safety officers like most in positions of authority were notoriously corrupt. Common knowledge, the worst stories the most devastating examples were like dark and decrepit myths that refused to be hung up. Safety, like most things, was another contracted service which the conglomerates were obligated to provide. Unfortunately because of the unrest and chaos that characterized most of the city, there was little accountability to be had. The politicians in the capital were content to allow the most extreme cases of abuse to serve as examples while ceding all aspects of accountability to a silent corporate committee.