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I'm that guy. You know, the one who's on the bus before you get on and still on after you get off, thirty one blocks, eleven stops, and forty five minutes later.


You compare me to everyone else and assume I am safest because you think I will leave you alone; I won't talk about weather, I won't talk about sports, and I most certainly won't talk about destinations - mine or yours. This is a fair assessment.


I'm young, or maybe older than you thought. I'm clean but unshaven, and I still seem handsome even after you notice the dirt under my fingernails and the way black coffee has yellowed my teeth.


If you're an asshole, your probably think I'm an asshole. You imagine a pretentious prick like me fucking your girlfriend. She's not bad. Maybe I'm blowing your boyfriend. He's fantastic.


If you're a mother, you wonder about me. You hope I'm eating enough, sleeping enough, and you want to lick your thumb and wipe away the dirt from my chin.  You remember how much I loved our carnival goldfish, the one I won after carefully tossing a quarter into a fishbowl. He died but I never saw his body because you flushed him before I came home. And even though that tattoo on my forearm is a gold koi, you think I unnecessarily cling to the memory of that damn fish. Maybe I was serious when I told you that Hell reserves a place for mothers like you.


If you're a young woman then you wonder what I think about when I look out that foggy bus window. You wonder what would happen if you put your hand on mine and squeezed. You think to yourself that maybe you could save me from looking so sad, maybe you could save me from being trapped in this fucking bus and maybe we could get ice cream or go bowling. Maybe I'd sit across from you and thank you, then smile something genuine and something real.


But none of this happens. And it is unsettling for you to realize that I know where your journey begins, continues and ends and you know nothing -- literally nothing -- about where I come from or where I go. This is your stop.

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