Sunday, October 29, 2006

BUS STORY # 8, Part 2 (Second Verse/Same As The First)


I don’t always take the bus to work. When my wife works, we carpool. This turns out to be mostly once a week. We alternate cars, but the routine is always the same: I drop her at her work place, go to mine, work until she calls me at the end of her 12-hour shift, and go pick her up. I get a lot of extra work done on those evenings.

The day after the young woman claiming to be from Stanley hit me up for gas money, we carpooled. Somewhere around 7:30 p.m. my wife called to come pick her up. I was walking along the street that runs parallel to Yale and takes me to the employee parking lot, when at the end of the block I saw an old silver car come puttering around the corner and head my way. Gosh, I thought to myself, that sure looks and sounds like the car that woman was driving yesterday. And as it got closer, I saw the turquoise T-shirt, then the blonde hair. She slowed down and coasted to a stop, leaned over the passenger seat, and called out “Excuse me, I’m wondering if you could help me out.” She gave the same spiel – except this time there was nothing about my looking like her husband. Yesterday afternoon, but not this evening, I was wearing a hat and sunglasses. (Note to self: hat + sunglasses = you look 40 years younger.) I listened to her story from the sidewalk, hands on knees and leaning toward the open passenger window.

When she finished, I said, “You know, you told me the same story yesterday afternoon up at the bus stop.” After a long pause, she replied, “I thought you looked familiar.” She started to explain, then paused, then said, “It’s complicated.” Then she said, “I’m sorry,” and just drove off.

My wife agreed this didn’t sound like some hardened con artist. Our imaginations ran the gamut, including that she was good enough to have suckered me again, this time into thinking maybe she wasn’t really what she was doing.

I still keep an occasional eye out for the old Toyota, but it’s been lying low. Sometimes I see it in my mind’s eye, pulled off on the side of I-40 East, just a few miles short of the Stanley exit. She’s out there by the left fender, with her thumb out . . .

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