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Black Bart

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I got off the bus at MacArthur BART. I crossed the street, passed the incense man and panhandlers, and up the escalator. The Bay Point train was due in three minutes. Perfect.

"Platform is closed!"

A BART agent walked around. "Everyone get off this platform NOW! Medical emergency!" We looked at each other. I knew what many were thinking. About Oscar Grant, and wounds that hadn't healed.

Downstairs I dug out my phone and put it in my pocket. If something was about to happen, I would take notes. A woman took out a notebook. Others called home. We stood around like kids after a fire drill, waiting to hear what to do next.

Whatever was up, I prayed it was minor. I know! A woman in labor! Let it be something joyous, something beautiful.


We were ordered to the other platform. People still looked concerned. Fire fighters and paramedics ran up the stairs behind us as BART cops talked on walkie talkies. "That poor driver," I heard a woman say. Now I knew. Someone jumped in front of the train.

As a kid I was scared someone would push me off the platform. I dreamt about it, and told my Dad. "Black Bart dreams?" he said. "Here's the thing baby. You can't let Black Bart get to you."

God knows I've dealt with Black Bart. I would tell him no, sorry pal. I've got nieces and nephews to help raise and books to write. Yet I understand Black Bart's allure. Sometimes living is a challenge. You must keep going. Easier said than done, but you can't let Black Bart get to you.

My train came. I looked back at the platform. The train was still there. On the gurney, there was a body bag. I turned around. Put my phone away. Said a prayer. I resumed reading. 

With a Perspective, I'm Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons.

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