I weave through the crowd on the slippery sidewalk like a man possessed, bumping against the Stuffed Shirts and Chatty Cathys on their cell phones as I try to put as much space between me and that girl back there. A few yell out as me in irritation.

“Hey! Watch it!”

“What the…?”


I ignore them. Why should I care? I don’t know them, don’t want to. Freakin’ robots, all of ‘em.

A full block later I pull out into a clear space and lean against a trash bin. What the hell was wrong with me? Why did that girl tweek me out so bad? She was probably just lost downtown, in from some suburb, slumming on Daddy’s money. No threat. No nothing…but something had hit a nerve. Maybe ‘cause she seemed a bit frantic…yeah, that had to be it. I just picked up on her negative energy…bad vibe. Whew! Okay, no problem then.

I take the last drag from the crappy cigarette and flick it in the street as a Metro bus swooshes by, spraying puddle and muck toward me, but it just misses me. I had my own places to be, better get going. Toby wouldn’t wait around long, that’s for sure. Toby hates it when I’m late.

I dash across the street mid-block, to the sound of at least two car horns, to catch the #16, thankful that the bike cop duo had just turned the corner…another jaywalking ticket I did not need!

“Hey, Bailey!” Who’s calling me? I look over my shoulder at the seats I’ve passed.

“Oh, hey, Brian.” I reply. “What up?” I backtrack to the seat across from him and flop into it.

“Same ol’, same ol’…you know,” He says with a grin. “Hey what happened to you at that party at Toby’s on Saturday? I saw you there, but never got to talk to ya. You just…disappeared, man!”

I think hard…Saturday, Saturday, what the hell is he talking about? Oh, yeah…he means Saturday before last…

“Dude, I was so fucked up at that party! I barely remember being there…that was, like, ages ago! You were there?”

“Shit yeah…I met these two girls, you know, I don’t remember their names but…”


I watch his mouth spew crap about god-knows-what…I’m not hearing the words.  I guess I do that a lot. For some reason the minute he says “two girls” I just tone him out and can’t think of anything but that girl back near the bus tunnel. What is up with me? Why won’t she get outta my head? It’s not like she was super-hot or anything…

“Oh, Dude!” I interrupt as we hit the next stop. “I think I totally got on the wrong bus! I’m sorry …I’ll call ya later, okay?” And I bolt off, leaving Brian to mumble sure, okay talk to ya later…a mildly perplexed look on his face.

I cut in front of an old guy in a wheel chair having trouble disconnecting the belt that that keeps him from rolling around while the bus is going and jump from the top step onto the sidewalk in front of Macy’s. Two wannabe gang-banger types yell at me, but I don’t pay any attention. I don’t know them, don’t want to. Another freakin’ type of robot…just different model…

© 2008 D. Kessler