A Brown Line train heads toward the Loop on a Thursday morning. It’s too crowded to move.

“Is this man trying to pinch your butt?” a husky woman in a brown print dress asks a woman near her.

“Excuse me?” says the man, who is between the two.

“This jerk is grabbing her butt!” says the woman. I look up and see the man’s hands hanging loosely, perhaps deliberately so.

“He grabbed my butt too,” says a second woman.

“Creep!” says a third, a blond sitting next to me. I notice that all the men are looking at books or out the window.

“Want to trade places with me?” the second woman asks the man’s alleged target, who’s remained silent.

“No thank you,” she says. “This is my stop.”

All four women exit the train, the one in brown print saying “jerk” as she pushes by the man. He finds an empty seat, sits down, and looks at nothing in particular. –Mark Lawton

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