When you aren’t doing what others are doing, you begin to feel like a stranger, and that’s when you can really begin to watch. The bus stop is between the city and suburbia. A collection of office workers, bums, and the disabled. I watched it from my two-story apartment window, wondering if it would inspire me to write the next line. It did. A young man, maybe 30, came limping up the street. He noticed me at the window and waved. I was between jobs at the moment, and when this happened, I always wrote more. It was the fantasy of doing what I loved for a living until my money ran out. The suits were ironed and stiff, staring at their smart phones, while the kid appeared to be looking for something. A limousine pealed around the corner and stopped.
“Hey Christopher, get in.”
“I love your car Joe, the black leather seats, the chrome, and the tinted windows. What kinda radio do you have?”
“I don’t know, but it plays all the channels. Where to?”
“The graveyard. I wanna visit my grandma.”
Some of the suits smiled at the kid. I know I did. And when he was gone, the hustle was as dull as a dying daisy. Several hours later of staring out the window into the sunshine, the limo pulled up again, and the kid got out. He was carrying a pizza and a bottle of soda.
He had a big smile on his face and he offered it to the bus stop, which promptly declined. Then he sat on a park bench and started to eat his pizza. A Jaguar rolled up to the restaurant and Christopher stopped chewing mid-bite. He left his pizza on the bench and walked over to the car.
“She’s a beauty sir,” he said.
“Thanks son,” the man smiled.
“How fast will it go?”
“Do you wanna ride?” He asked.
“Haaa, haaa,” Christopher laughed with glee. The man smiled bigger, even though he was a suit. “Honey, I’m just going to take this kid around the block and I’ll be back before lunch.” She gave him some disapproval, but consented.
Christopher got in and put his hand on the roof. The engine roared, like it was seeking his approval, and they tore out of the parking lot like the Dukes of Hazzard. When they got back, Christopher was still laughing.
“You can make her go Tom. Thanks for the ride!”
“Anytime Chris,” he said.
The suit walked into the restaurant and Christopher walked back to his pizza. A bum snatched it before he got there. “Hey! That’s mine!” Christopher shouted.
“Shut up kid, or I’ll cut you!” The bum said. He drew a knife and Christopher started to cry. He backed away, like he was lost. Then he collapsed on the sidewalk.
A suit ran across the street from the bus stop. “Christopher, are you okay?”
“Ah, my heart…I can’t breathe.”
“Let me call 911.”
When the firefighters and medics got there, they checked Christopher’s blood pressure. Slowly, he began to talk to them and his smile returned. Soon, everybody was smiling.
“You just had a panic attack, that’s all. Come by the firehouse anytime and we’ll check your blood pressure.”
“Really?” Christopher asked.
“Sure. We’ll even let you pet the dalmatians.”
Maybe I was seeing something that wasn’t there, but oh well…I couldn’t stop writing. Christopher traded in the currency of joy and people gave to him because he noticed things nobody else did. He was the prince of the city; without title, without power, without a suit, without the things that make most men the same. He was an original, and the suits loved him for it.