An imitation of an imitation that’s broken

City Bus

I waited about fifteen minutes. Sweat dripped down my lower back to my shorts. The driver mumbled hello under his breath. He looked like he’d been left out in the rain all night. Pale, bloated face, wrinkles creasing the corners of his eyes and pot-bellied. The seats in front were filled. Normally, I sit in front.

A man grilled an even tempered woman behind me. Her southern accent was heavy. She was either from Georgia or Florida. So do they want you to join the program, the man asked her. They only have room for me if I get a job by Friday, the woman said. She had four days. They want you to join the program. Only if I get a job, she said even tempered. I was annoyed. Why. I don’t fit their criteria for the drug abuse program. They only have room for case management.

The bus sped up approaching the bridge. I see two skinny Asian guys sitting in the front two seats. Two Asian guys behind them. The Asian sitting in the front seat, with a buzz cut, he turns around, peeping over his shoulder at the Asian to his left. He’s talking on his cell phone. His hair is jet black, low on the sides, and thicker, bushier at the top, and uneven. A Super Cuts creation I’m sure. I had a bad experience with them. I started shaving my head bald after that. The Asian sitting next to him, his long jet black hair is pulled back in a pony tail. He has on a tight fitted gray shirt. His shoulders are broad.

They only have room for me if I get a job, the even tempered woman says again. I don’t fit the criteria. I’m not in the drug abuse program. If I get a job they’ll put me in the case management program. They can’t keep me if I don’t. Because they want to $5 a week, the man says. No. Because I’m not eligible to be there. They don’t have room for me. Unless I get a job.

The bus isn’t moving fast enough.

The Asian guy on the cell phone closes his phone. He glances over at me at the same time I look in his direction. He’s Mexican not Asian. The guy sitting beside him looks back. He’s Mexican too. He turns back around and leans over looking for a street sign or a landmark. They both careen their necks out looking down the street out the front og the bus.

It’s a chapel, a man says beside me in a deep voice. He’s talking to the even tempered woman and the man grilling her. I turn. He’s black. Oh, the man grilling the woman says. We’re going to get married someday. Oh yeah, the black man says. Yeah. Hopefully, the woman says as if exhausted. But in water. In water, the black man laughs. He pushes air out the back of his tongue. An imitation of someone talking under water. The man grilling the woman imitates him. They both laugh. No. On a boat. A steam boat, the woman says. Oh, the black man says through laughing. I smile too. Will I get married someday?


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