Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Not Aloud

There’s security this time around — Monday afternoon seems a strange time to suspect a beheading; maybe they’re just waiting for the invitation. (I only think this — I do not say it aloud, for that is not allowed here.) I pass through the security unscathed, psychically shaken like a poorly prepared martini, even though I wasn’t bringing my bag of tricks with me this time around. I remind myself that they were looking for tools of destruction, and not ones of self-destruction; as such, I would have been fine even if I did, but the distrust smells like bad will and and it’s a matter of will, just trying to act like I haven’t just been given a scarlet letter or stack of syllables.

Waiting in line, auspiciously early in the queue and thus better equipped to a preferable siège for the besieged ride across crumbling concrete. A long, stringy-haired guy behind me is carrying far more than his wilting frame ought to permit; he’s got a bland polyester hiking backpack choking him from behind, something framed and prophylatically sheathed in his right hand, a deflated pillow in his left, and at any given time, something falling from stitchless pockets or unguarded and unsecured bag orifices. His ticket tumbles to the burnished, bleach-coloured slabs composing the floor; I gently pick it up between my index and middle finger, and hand it to him, his hands somehow more full than they were moments ago, and he smiles his thanks, which seems nice, but his appearance is unpleasant and so I am simply disconcerted by seeing a shade of humanity and something sentient in the sallow stare of a stranger in the bus station.

If nothing else, I figure the gesture will ultimately save me from suffering an inaugural decapitation.