It was reported in the news last month that a man, upon dropping his cell phone into the depths of the L train’s tracks at the East 105th stop in Canarsie, leapt after his digital appendage into the vermin-filled darkness. I’ll insert an editorialized if not fictionalized gasp from the crowd here: (though really, if we New Yorkers have become so jaded that a free-jump into the MTA canyon doesn’t elicit some sort of audible horror then we really are all fucked), because what came next was a series of subway cars barreling through the station on their routinely scheduled stop. Miraculously — witnesses, are you un-jaded yet? Or are you tourists? — the man emerged with his cell phone in hand.
But had our hero not been slightly insane, the communication device would have been left at the mercy of NYC’s mysterious underground life, perhaps carried along by sewage water or maybe picked up at the hand of a rather enterprising rat. All of which is the world’s longest wind up to ask the very question I’ve wondered each time I have watched a cab drive away with my phone, battery languishing quietly in the back seat, presumably to never meet my cheek or ear again: where on earth did it actually go?
One can only imagine. And that — no thanks to Apple’s “Find My iPhone” App — is precisely what we did in the storybook above.
Illustrations by Charlotte Fassler