PATERSON, NJ—On his commute to work Monday, Patrick Highsmith met a stranger who did not entangle him in a torrid affair, cross-country intrigue, or an elaborate murder plot. "The man made conversation, but it was just boring stuff: work, kids, sports, TV shows," Highsmith said of the bald, heavily jowled man seated next to him on the 8:17 a.m. train. "No suspicious redcaps, no faintly menacing blonde femme fatale, no rack zooms out the window, nothing." Highsmith said he was also unimpressed after spending several weeks spying on his neighbors while confined to a wheelchair.


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