Jack O’Lanterns Want Falafel

Jack O'Lanterns Want Falafel

It was 10 o’clock on Halloween night. The customers of Hank’s Gourmet Falafel were chowing down on some prime falafels. However, three poor souls were unable to enjoy the cuisine of the Middle East.

“This sucks,” said April, the middle-sized jack o’lantern. “All I wanted for Halloween was to eat a falafel before I rotted away. Is that so wrong?”

“I getcha, April,” said the largest of the trio, Mike. “But it’s not like Toy Story where we can just scare ’em into doing our bidding. It’s like the sequel Toy Story movies where we’re confined to keepin’ our mouths shut.”

Lester tried to frown, but couldn’t. His tiny grin was plastered forever on his face. “I’d settle for a scoop of a topping.” The other two agreed.

At 10:15, a customer was chatting to her friend and said,

“Hey, as a joke, what if I put my falafel in this jack o’lantern’s mouth?”

“Totally. That would be hilarious.”

She inched her falafel into the Lester the pumpkin’s carved mouth and…

CHOMP!

POOF!

He disappeared.

“I swear, I thought there was a pumpkin here. Did you take a picture?”

“N-noooo, I missed it, sorry not sorry but actually very sorry.”

April and Mike gaped at one another.

“He’s dead! He vanished!”

“Yeah, I getcha. But y’know, I’d rather die like that than rotting in a compost heap.”

April thought. “Yeah. Me too.”

10:45 came and a careless child dropped his falafel on the linoleum. “BAWWWW!” he wailed. He wailed and wailed until Hank came over.

“Don’t worry, wailing brat. Sir, I’ll make your son another falafel half-off. Is that okay?”

“He’s actually my nephew.”

“Don’t care.”

“What should we do with the one he dropped?”

“Dump it in the big pumpkin’s mouth for all I care.”

Mike grinned. “Guess this is goodbye, April.”

Once the falafel fell into his mouth, he dissolved into a puddle of orange goop.

“WHAT?!” freaked out April. “That didn’t happen to Lester!”

“Bob, clean up that mess. And we’re closing in thirteen minutes!”

April began to worry. If she ate a falafel, would she vanish like Lester or goop like Mike? Should she try a falafel if the time came? Well, she couldn’t very well prevent it from happening, could she? Was this the end for her? Would she try falafel tonight, or go into the compost heap?

“You, pumpkin, No falafel for you.”

What? Did Hank acknowledge her existence? She wasn’t alive per se, but she had thoughts and desires, emotions too. She didn’t want to die, but it was looking like no way out at that point. What if she did eat a falafel? Would something happen to her?

Hank locked up and took April into the back room.

“Anything you want to say to me, April?”

How did he know her name? Was he a pumpkin-whisperer?

“Your friends are fine, if that’s what you’re thinking.” It wasn’t. “Lester’s body and soul have gone to a better place, where falafel is bountiful all the time.” He paused. “Mike was a tainted pumpkin and went to Pumpkin Hell, which is nicer than Human Heaven.”

April was baffled.

Hank unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a jack o’lantern within. “That’s right, I’m a pumpkin, and my magic falafels have sent your chums to the afterlife. But I’m two years old and I need a successor. April, instead of ever eating falafel, will you stay here for two years to guide needy jack o’lanterns to paradise and damnation?”

April was baffled.

“No,” she thought. “Give me a falafel so I can go to my end in peace.”

He did so, and she dissolved into goop, which vanished immediately.

With April gone, Hank let a squash named Barry with no agenda run the falafel shop. It was a much calmer atmosphere in general, but the cucumbers always came out weak, so it closed every other season just to reevaluate the flavor of the cucumbers. Frankly, they were never great, but it was a good marketing strategy, usually.

Advertisements

To Bury Treasure

To Bury Treasure

“Heathcliff… it’s me, Cathy, I’ve come home, I’m so cold…” Burt wasn’t sure of the lyrics, but she got them mostly right.

She held a pair of large sandals in one hand and a treasure chest under her other arm.

She disapproved of the way the sand squished in between her toes. It was as if she had been walking on salted brains. She also disapproved of the way the seagulls were circling around her and Skipper.

Skipper. Dumb dog. He had the IQ of a dalmatian but lacked the inbreeding. He was a good boy, and Burt knew that, but damn, was he ever stupid. Once, she pretended to throw a ball, and he ran into the street, narrowly avoiding a Toyota Camry.

She named him that because of the way he jumped with each step. She tried it, but her heels were too large and she nearly tripped over herself. Burt looked around embarrassed. No one. She was relieved, but lonesome. Hoping to mooch a lunch off of others, she realized it was too cloudy and that she was no better than the seagulls surrounding her.

She sat against a wooden fence in the sand. The chest could wait.

Burt spotted Skipper playing with a seagull who appeared to be as dumb as the husky. They made a game of tilting their heads repeatedly and looking in a direction that led to nothing.

“Bow, wow!”

“Squawk!”

“Ha ha!” Burt laughed at the animal friends, and took a photo of the two getting along. In her entire life, it received three likes across all of her social platforms.

She found more energy surging through her long legs. “Here Skipper!” He circled around for a bit until he found “here.”

With a seagull on his back, Skipper pawed at the wooden box Burt kept locked. “No, Skipper! It’s for later, and you can’t have!”

Since her parents died… rather, they were dead to her, but yes, very much alive, she felt companionship in both nature and beasts. Like her, they were unpredictable (and as her former friends once said, full of beauty. She would heavily deny these remarks and individuals).

She had a brother, but he was in jail, while her other brother was in a coma. She was bereft of friends and family, but being alone suited Burt Campbell (no relation to the Richard Mulligan character).

Her real name was Alberta… as she thought about her name, she walked onto a shard of glass. She missed the salted brain sensation. As she took the bandage from her arm and put it on her sole, she continued thinking about her name. Alberta was not her favorite name. She was nicknamed “Bertie” for short, then “Bert,” but she spelled it with a U. Not the best name story, she thought.

The cold chill brushed against her skin. She rolled down the plaid sleeves of her shirt and buttoned it at the wrists. Her inner narration was yawning. Nothing of interest happened to her. She had heard about a woman who couldn’t see the color blue and wondered what that was like. She also recalled the news piece about the day seven pizza chefs and a delivery guy vanished. An unlikely story, she felt, but entertaining.

Burt dropped the treasure chest.

“Let’s look at him one more time.”

She opened the lock, lifted the lid of the box and saw that it was still filled to the brim with bones and a dog skull.

“Sorry, Skipper. I give you a lot of flak for being dumb, but Gil was even dumber. He was a dalmatian. Really dumb. He was my best friend after Tom went into the coma. Then he got hit by a Toyota Camry and… well, you’re here.”

“Bow.”

“I bow to no dog,” she joked. “Can you dig? I forgot my shovel.”

Burt closed the lid and locked it again. “Dig, Skipper. Dig for Gil.”

She motioned digging and eventually just dug the sand with her own hands. Skipper started digging two minutes before she finished.

“Good boy, Skipper.” She went silent for four minutes. “Goodbye, Gil.”

“Goodbye, friend. Thank you for taking such good care of me.”

She wheeled around and saw a fat bald man with a thin mustache and spectacles. She didn’t feel any anger. Actually, she felt relieved, like Gil had wanted to say that.

“Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Name’s Dean.”

“Bur–Alberta. Well, have a nice day at the beach, Dean.”

“I always do!” He chuckled at her, then sighed.

Burt wondered if it was illegal to keep a seagull. Before she could react, it flew away.

“Both of us lost a friend today, huh?”

“Wowowo.”

“Come on, I’ll make you some nice pork ch–” She checked her breast pocket. “I think I dropped my keys in the hole. Where was it again?”

The seagull came back with Burt’s keys in its beak. It sat on Skipper’s back again.

“Guess you guys aren’t so dumb, huh?”

Skipper howled and the seagull, later named Keys, squawked.

Paget Brewster Complains That I Wrote Her As A Hydra

Paget Brewster Complains That I Wrote Her As A Hydra

This story is a follow-up to Sourswirls. It is recommended you read that story first to make sense of this one, though “sense” is very loose here.

I was surprised that a B-list celebrity such as Paget Brewster wanted to discuss my stupid blog story with her. It was silly to think she would have read it, but she did. I had sort of a crush on her, after abandoning my old one on Kristen “Buzzcut” Stewart. Then I thought she’d be mad about it. Her? Mad? It was mad to think that way.

I knocked on the door, accidentally opening it.

Paget: “It’s open, come on in!”

Me: “Ah yes, Ms. Brewster. I brought a gift.”

Paget: “Wine! You shouldn’t have. Drink with me.”

Me: “I don’t drink alcohol, Ms. Brewster.”

Paget: “Enough of the ‘Ms. Brewster’ crap! Call me ‘The Hydra.'”

(long pause)

Me: “Okay, The Hydra.”

Paget: “Because you like hydras, dontcha? All those heads and bad tempers. What is wrong with you?”

Me: (sweating) “Excuse me?”

Paget: “You think because I’m a celebrity I don’t have feelings? How do you think all those stock models feel being turned into weird art for your stories, Mr. Raccoon-Turd? How do you think Uma Thurman feels?”

Me: “Uma Thurman doesn’t have feelings.”

Paget: (laughs viciously) “You’re alright, kiddo. Wanna ask me only one question about my career? Maybe Criminal Minds?”

Me: “No, Community.”

Paget: “Gotta be honest, I don’t want to recall that show.”

Me: “Then forget my question.”

(awkward pause)

Me: “Wait, okay. Do you prefer voice acting or acting?”

Paget: (takes a sip) “Work is work.”

(longer awkward pause)

Paget: “So why choose me? And why a hydra?”

Me: “You’re my new Kristen Stewart, my muse, so to speak. You seem like a lot of fun, and I never meant to insult you.”

Paget: (indignant) “I’m fun? So I’m easy, is that it? Hmph!”

Me: “You see? You’re not easy. You’re horribly complex. It scares me.”

Paget: “Know what scares me? Some creep on the internet writing a story about you as a hydra. Hydras are way overpowered!”

Me: “And that doesn’t resonate with you?”

Paget: “Oh, shut up. Your wine isn’t even good. It shows that you don’t drink, Rack-On-Tour.”

Me: “I’m sorry. For the record, that insult wasn’t even good.”

Paget: “Why not just stick to dragons? They can be elegant!”

Me: “Name one elegant dragon.”

Paget: “…Probably a Pokemon. You’d know, ‘Mr. I Write Two Pokemon Stories!'”

Me: “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Paget: “Sadly, your better stuff uses real people and Japanese stuff! What is that?”

Me: (crying) “I want to leave now.”

Paget: “Look at this hydra photo! I’m a freak to you! A toy! I’m a damn woman, not a source of humor for your pleasure! Mr. Rock-On-Turn!”

Me: (sobbing) “That’s the worst one yet!”

Paget: “And so are you! Get out of my house! And take your wine with you! It’s not fit to wax my shoes with!”

As I left the Brewster estate, I wondered if Kristen Stewart would have been so mean. Probably. She hates everything.

But it made me think about celebrity worship and how we idolize those we don’t even really know. Does Uma Thurman have feelings? Was it worth dismissing someone over a haircut? One thing was certain: Paget’s cruelty made me want her more.

She was right. I am a creep.

I Do Not Want To Be Best Man At This Cat Wedding

I Do Not Want To Be Best Man At This Cat Wedding

Why did my mistress dress me up in a bow tie and take me outside? That is, I believe, animal abuse. Her and her nutty friends just HAD to marry off some cats today. Mews flash: Cats don’t get married! We prefer hiding in the dark and being nude. Oh well. At least it’s not a sweater. Mr. Meowpants didn’t get off so easily.

The worst part is that they chose me to be Best Man. Why not “Best Cat?” I’d wear that title with utter pride, mistress! But no, Julia gets to be “Cat of Honor.” Where’s the sense in that? She pooped outside the litter box last week! Where’s my honor, huh?

Best Man. Yeah, right. This Best Cat hates other cats, especially Julia. Like I’d lick her fur for that cat blog. That thing is a train wreck, mistress. I can’t believe you cried that you weren’t getting enough subscribers. Humans have weird problems.

I’ve met Tim and Missy. Their owner is my mistress’s best friend. Tim and Missy are okay. But here’s the thing: Like all cats, I hate all cats. Okay, that’s a generalization, but name a cat who immediately liked a new cat you’d brought into its domain. Is it zero? Cats can’t count, you know.

I really hated Julia when mistress introduced her. Still do. But at least Tim and Missy don’t bite or swat at me. I feel sorry for them. I wonder why anyone would marry off neutered and spayed cats when they can’t have kittens. I also wonder why anyone would marry off cats.

I spotted some of the humans crying. I mean, I guess it’s allergies, because I doubt most of the women met these cats at the risk of getting their faces scratched up. You have to be pretty lonely and vain to attend a cat wedding. I think it’s mostly women here, as I see more dresses than pants. I swatted at some skirts, and mistress picked me up. “Naughty Onyx,” she said, repeating the hated name. It sounded oddly pleasant coming from her, as usual.

They got a traditional priest, not a cat dressed as a Catholic priest, not a lady priest, not two stacked tables with a Bible on top. I think I heard Lili (the bride and groom’s mistress) that he’s her father. He looked very uncomfortable. More uncomfortable than me. I think I felt something called… pity? Cats don’t feel pity and cats don’t dance, I thought, looking at the dance floor they set up for an outside wedding.

I slinked over to Tim. I wanted to know what he thought of all this wedding stuff.

“Mew?” I phrased elegantly.

“Mrrrrrrr…” he growled like a barbarian.

Fine. Screw Tim. I guess he has cold paws.

That suit looked itchy, I thought. I guess there’s cats and humans who have it worse than me.

I curiously looked around at the guests, because I hadn’t been neutered yet. Tabby. Calico. Dog. Shorthair. DOG?!

Yes, some man brought his dog to a cat wedding. He was the big gossip discussion the whole time. “Why is he here? Did they get lost on the way to a dog birthday party?” No one knew, but I did hear Lili call the master “bro.” Was he her broker? What was that anyway? Mistress talked on the phone with hers a lot.

I listened to human gossip. It went something like this:

Pink Hair Woman: “Blah blah blah priest is Lili’s father.”

Blue Hair Woman: “Really? Blah blah blah problems with her lifestyle!”

Pink: “Blah blah blah with his cancer, he’s not blah blah blah weddings any more, but this was a special occasion!”

Blue: “Everything is beautiful. Hey, little kitten.”

I darted off.

Finally, the guests found their seats. The priest looked sadly at Lili and his son.

Priest: “Blah blah blah beloved, we are gathered here to… to… blah blah blah can’t do this. It’s a cat wedding! Lili, why won’t you ever get married blah blah blah?”

Lili: “Papa, not here, not now. Blah blah blah.”

Priest: “What is asexual anyway? Why don’t blah blah blah your mother happy?”

Lili: “I don’t believe in marriage?” I wasn’t sure if she was asking a question.

Priest: “But you make me do it, mocking the sanctity of God and love? Blah blah blah can make your own damn wedding.”

Commotion broke out. Lili fell into her broker’s arms and cried. The guest screamed, cursed God, cursed Christ, cursed Sundays. Mistress just looked down sadly.

I didn’t want her to cry. Then she would pet me with her long nails. (shudder)

I carefully walked over to the priest, who was hunched over.

“Oh, little kitten. You’re as unnatural here as blah blah blah.”

I meowed in agreement.

“I just… when my blah blah blah asked me to host a wedding for her, I was elated. But a cat wedding? Blah blah blah end my career on that.”

“Mew.”

“It’s not right. But… it’s not Christian to break a promise either, blah blah blah. We’ll work out our problems another blah blah blah.”

I purred a little, then stopped just to tease him.

We walked back to Lili. “I’ll do it,” he told her. She clasped her arms around him.

The ceremony was awful. The nice priest was trying to remain dignified the whole time, but the couple started to tussle and Julia pooped on the altar. The cats in the seats meowed loudly for food, and I couldn’t get my bow tie off. Mistress ended up crying and rushed over to pet me (shudder). The broker spoke loudly on the phone to HIS broker, and the catering staff laughed the whole time. The dog, surprisingly, was very well behaved for his species.

When it came to kiss the bride, Tim licked Missy’s thigh. Close enough for these people.

The food was considerate. I assumed it would be (ew) vegan dishes, but there was fish! Chicken! Meat! Ten points to Lili!

As it turned out, the dance floor was only for the humans. Thank goodness. I assumed mistress was going to hold my paws and lift me on my hind legs! I really lucked out!

All in all, I’d say it was a normal wedding, but with cats.

I’d like to end off by saying, mistress, you better not marry me off to Julia any time soon.

Follow The Money

Follow The Money

“Oy, what a cold day it is here in… MANHATTAN!” Fiveish sing-sung. “Ah, not a single smile. But I’m here to change that. By the end of the day, I’ll have made five people smile!” He grinned like a toothless idiot. “I am a five dollar bill, after all.”

He spotted a trendy young woman with a nose ring and thick glasses texting and walking. “Ah, my first customer,” he quipped. “Excuse me, ma’am!”

She froze in horror. “Um, yes?” Was this a guy in a costume, or real life?

“Do you have a five dollar bill?”

“Um… like, you are a five dollar bill.”

“I know,” he grinned. “I was hoping you’d set me up on a shidduch.”

Time crawled until she spoke. “Um, what’s a shiddock?”

“A shidduch, you know,” he wobbled, “it’s like a date.”

“Oh… um, I’m actually in-between jobs right now, so I don’t have any money.”

“‘In-between jobs?’ Isn’t that a fancy way of saying no one will hire you?”

The woman blubbered a bit, then ran off crying hysterically.

“I think I saw a smile…” Fiveish convinced himself. “What’s a shiddock? I gotta remember that one for the comedy club!”

Two blocks over, Fiveish spotted an arguing couple. “Looks like I need to take off my comedy hat and put on my love hat!”

“You never treat me right!”

“You don’t deserve to be treated well!”

“My mother…”

“Your mother…”

“STOP!” said Fiveish. “Friends, don’t you see that this bickering is not what the Torah had in mind? Shalom Bais, people! Love and unity and peace!”

“I’d LOVE to get a PIECE of YOU, Nitty.”

“Fiveish. Come one, come all, come on! Lovers?”

The two turned away and continued arguing.

Fiveish grinned to himself as he walked down the street. “They’re probably yelling about how great my counseling was. That makes three now!”

Spotting a homeless man with a dog, Fiveish toddled right up to him.

“Hello, good sir! May I treat you with a meal?”

“Oh, God. You wanna take me to one of ’em kosher places I bet.”

“Of course!” Fiveish beamed. “Kosher is fo’ sure no sure means of not being a Jew!”

“What?”

“Kosher is a Jewish essential.” he muttered.

“No thanks. I used to be a Jew–”

“Once a Jew, always a Jew!”

“But I found out my birth parents weren’t. I never even got the ol’ snippity snap. So I chose to live like a non-Jew. Nothin’ personal to Judaism, just always wanted to try lobsters.”

“Snippity-snap is a Bris Milah?”

The man sighed. “Yer wastin’ yer time. Don’t you know that money can’t get you happiness?”

Fiveish froze in his tracks. Money? Can’t? Get? You? Happiness? The words circled and danced around in his head, each word growing with more and more meaning.

Was it true? As a genetically modified Jewish five dollar bill, was he wasting his time trying to make others smile? Money can’t get you happiness. What about tzedukah, charity? What about paying the therapist that final dollar bill because you’re finally cured? Wasn’t Lincoln happy to be on the five? Aren’t the fabulously wealthy happy? Was he even happy?

Finally, he collapsed against a brick wall, buried his face into his large gloved hands and wept. A shadow descended upon him.

“Smile and the world smiles with you,” said the large man with a gun, “cry and you cry alone. Hand over your cash.”

Fiveish paused his tears. It made perfect sense. It didn’t matter that he was made of money. He just had to keep smiling. He smiled at the man. The man recoiled in terror and ran off.

“I made EVERYONE smile today!” he sing-sung. “Because I am Fiveish, the greatest five dollar bill the world has ever known! Smile, world, smile! Oh, and do a lot of bikur cholem, visiting the sick! Not a lot of people really do it, REALLY do it, because maybe a Facebook post isn’t enough! Send a card, flowers, chocolate if they aren’t diabetic! Trust me, you’ll make their day and your own!”

“SHUT UP!” screamed several New Yorkers.

Fiveish smiled. “Right back at ya, my friends!”

I’ve Got a Latte on the Mind

12362055_654949141311756_778132344_n.jpg

8:35. Olivia’s father dropped her off at the bus stop at a decent time. Olivia felt “decent” meant about now since she wanted to be late. The last of the absolute rush-hour buses had left as they pulled over to the curb. Mr. Gammon profusely apologized to his daughter (step, a fact he hadn’t mentioned to her). She just smiled (he easily recognized it as gratitude) and paced her footing on the soaked sidewalk.

8:36. After he drove off, Olivia put on her headphones (earbuds frightened her), pulled up a sock, and hoped someone would walk by. Nothing. The next bus would not come for at least a half-hour. She pulled down the other sock.

8:37. She checked her phone. Nothing interesting happened to Steve Buscemi since she woke up. Click. The rest of the internet wasn’t worth looking at.

8:38. Tammy Liu drove up in her Chevy. “Olivia! Do you want a ride? I’m not going to work today, but I am passing your work!” Olivia declined, using her usual lie that she was meeting someone. She did not interact with friends on a regular basis.

8:39. Maybe I could have taken her up on that ride. But then, I’d have to talk to her instead of thinking. Couldn’t I have thought a few blocks away from work? Shucks, Ollie. Then your boss or coworkers would have seen you or something. That would wreck your whole day. Really? My whole day? Yes, your whole day. That sounds overly superstitious, but either way, I don’t want to talk with anyone but me.

8:40. Hey, there’s no one around. I could let one rip and no one would know. But wait, what if the man of my dreams walks by at that exact moment only to be disgusted by my fart? Psht. The man of my dreams would be turned on by it. She held it in anyway.

8:41. She winced at the sight of birds flying at face-level. Why am I so scared at the thought of being hit in the head by birds? Did I get hit in the head by a bird as a baby?  Maybe they remind me of arrows in a past life. Did I get hit in the face by an arrow? Did I die then get reborn as this? I like the idea of a past life, but not th

8:42. e prospect that I would have to live future ones. Might be reborn as a dude named John. What kind of sick parent named their kid something as generic as John? Even worse, tools who name their kids, like, John, but already have the generic last name to boot. John Smith. Joe Johnson. Ingrid… Ingrid Paulette Freely. Naw, I doubt many Freelys would name their kids that. I could name a kid Jack. Jack Gammon. Wait, they wouldn’t get

8:43. my last name. Not exclusively at any rate. Unless I impregnate myself. Ha ha. Why am I thinking about this? I don’t know, Olivia Denise Gammon, it’s your sub-CON-scio-US. Because I’m a donked-up individual? That’s why I’m standing here instead of getting into a car to go to work. No, the real reason is because I’m afraid if I’ll drive, I’ll be too spacey and kill people.

8:44. A man with orange lenses in his shades walked past her. Olivia tried acting like a human, but went too far and stood perfectly still. He asked her to move. She fell over and crushed her bag of raisins.

8:45. He thinks I’m an idiot! Don’t worry, he probably doesn’t care. And you’ll likely never see him again. But that doesn’t help me feel better, even if I know it’s the rational truth. Even if I said it out loud! She said it out loud. The man, now on another block, turned to her and laughed. She bit her thumb.

8:46. Why is it no one else is ever here at this time? This is the only bus to the shopping district. We need a trolley. WE NEED TWO TROLLEYS! I mean, if one ever breaks. And a third for practical vagabonds like me. Though if I were practical, I’d have money. But gosh, how about this rain? Maybe I should have enough sense She began to walk into the bus stop’s seating with a roof. for general day-to-day health precautions. She paused.

8:47. In the center seat (or what could be classified as a seat, given the bench had two metal dividers), a lone coffee cup waited for the bus. Olivia knew for certain that it had not been there when she arrived. She stared at it blankly.

8:48. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee. She scratched her dark-cyan briefcase.

8:49. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee for twenty seconds more. Where did that coffee cup manifest from? That guy couldn’t have left it. He was carrying two glass bottles of milk. Why buy glass bottles over plastic? And why are the bus benches always metal or wood? The metal gets cold in the winter and the wood gets splintery. Better than being glass, yeah.

8:50. Maybe the wind blew it there. Standing perfectly still. She picked it up. She examined the box checked off “Latte.” Still full of coffee. Standing perfectly still full of coffee. Okay, so it’s not the guy, and it’s not the wind either. Maybe I was drinking and absentmindedly put it down? That must be. I am the fool.

8:51. Seriously, where is that bus? And the passengers? Though who can say who is a passenger until they board the bus? I think potential passenger counts as passenger. Hey, am I still 25? No, I turned 26 last year. When did I get this bag? I had it at my 25th party. So… when I was 23, since I stared at it sadly when I was 24.

8:52. WAIT, I DON’T DRINK COFFEES. Since I don’t want to get addicted to it. Like, I see people groggy and all, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” I want to see the world naturally, with a ton of prescribed pills in my bloodstream. Joking aside, I should talk to someone about upping my dose. Maybe a doctor. Definitely a doctor. My mind is a little more sluggish than usual.

8:53. I lost the flow! If I think on it, I can figure out why that latte is sitting there. It feels half-em… fu… It feels like there’s half inside. When the birds flew by, maybe one dropped their cuppa joe. Yep, that’s it. I’m satisfied and can drop this.

8:54. NOPE, THAT’S TOO STUPID. It’s as dumb as the way they made this roof. Slits and slats? I’m getting all wet in… AH! YES, WAIT, YES! The wind BLEW the empty cup. It landed on the bench, got filled with the dirty rainwater, and that’s the news, son. Waste a good mind-think, Olivia.

8:55. A woman with two children yelled at Olivia for carelessly leaving the latte on the bench. Grumpily, Olivia threw the latte in the trash and dried her hands on her denim skirt.

8:56. Olivia squinted at something orange. Only a fish truck.

8:57. Behind the fish truck was the bus, which pulled up to a block away from the bus stop and flashed its blinkers. Olivia knew the driver would take as much time as possible to relax behind his next shift. Two metal-heads stood behind her.

8:58. Olivia stomped on a piece of cardboard that tried to fly past her. She treated it miserably before letting it go.

8:59. A Steve Buscemi alert popped up. A movie deal she knew about. She shook her tousled hair and splashed a once-dry dog.

9:00. I mean, I have a dog, but I’m scared of other people’s dogs. I love huskies, but only if they’re far, far away from me. Kind of like my friends. And people in general. Maybe I should talk to someone about this. Like my step-dad. Does he know I know he’s not my dad? I’ll keep quiet until the next time I’m angry at him.

9:01. I hope no one tries talking to me today. Within moments, a guy in a green raincoat tried hitting on her. Olivia farted and he moved to the back of the line. He lost his chance.

9:02. The bus began to pull up. Olivia tried acting casual in front of the passengers by twisting her neck hither and yonder. The metal-heads slinked away to stand behind the guy in the green raincoat.

9:03. The bus got stuck behind a traffic light truck. Olivia stayed focused to formulate a plan where she should sit. She knew she’d get the seat before the rear exit since no one ever takes the door that receives the most rain. Olivia was the only one who seems to enjoy it.

9:04. The bus pulled up in front of Olivia. She put her card in the machine, thanked the driver who replied, “alright,” and sat down on a wet seat.

9:05. The bus drove off, taking Olivia to her place of work where she would spend the next nine hours in a factory manufacturing condoms.