<< Peanut Butter Twig >>
January 29, 2004, 1:22 p.m.

Sitting in my space, in cold weather, a slab of frosty cement numbs my ass. To my right is a short woman of a near death age. She could be in her mid-forties, or perhaps seventy-nine. She wears thick rimmed glasses and wrinkles. A white, wool beanie traps what is left of her consciousness. She stares ahead mumbling nonsense into winter. A car passes with stereos pulsating a song not worth pulsing. She bobs her head to the vibration. After a minute has slid down her eyes, she starts to laugh. A memory perhaps has revisited her. She stops after a half second of sound. She mumbles some more under her breath. The route three bus pulls to the curb almost as if it is grabbing it to get away. The woman takes her wrinkles and bag with her to board the dying bus.

A man, in his mid-twenties strides down the steps of the bus, and in front of him with an arm tangled behind her, is a three year old girl. This girl was born in the wrong year. She appeared to be a flower-child, her hair cut in a retro shape. Bangs as straight as if a ruler was pressed to her forehead during the mutilation. Her amber hair is still full of youth. Any Cruella Devil would be exhilarated. She wore a red pea-coat with wooden toggles. Though new in appearance, you could tell it was from a thrift store. Under the coat is a stained t-shirt sporting Cinderella. She could almost pull off fashionable with her jeans growing jeweled flowers. The little girl climbs another cement slab near me. She lay her body peacefully and said, "Daddy, look at the sunshine." "Yes, it is nice," he replies in a quick manner. He is changing into different clothes. As he wore only a muscle shirt, dark hair snaked down from his armpits. The small girl became restless, and tried to impress her audience with 70 degree twirls. For once the traction on her shoes works, and this is the wrong time. "Be careful, don't fall, it will hurt," he tells her this as if he knows that she will continue. She hops off the bench and picks up a broken twig. "This is a one!" She shows the twig to her guardian. He laughs and argues, "No, that is not a one. I'll show you." He picks her up and places her on his shoulders. He points at a sign planted next to the bench, "this is a one." He puts her down and finishes changing. The route four bus arrives in better shape. "Look, it's the bus." He takes his bag and the girl, and we enter the bus. I sit near the driver. He takes a seat across from me.

Remind you, the bus is empty. I watch the child. The bus turns a corner sharply and spills the girl out of her seat. He laughs at her and catches his flower-child. This young man now dressed in black with perhaps a favorite WWE wrestler decorated on the front of the shirt, brings up earlier events. "I'm glad we got all the peanut butter out of your hair." "Don't say that, it embarrass me," she says in a shy voice. "It embarrasses you?" He stares ahead in my direction. "She thought her pocket could protect her peanut butter sandwich, and she got some in her hair. Her older brother whom is 16 now did something worse at her age. He put a peanut butter sandwich in the VCR. When I was her age I drank a whole bottle of cough syrup. I went to my parents all drunk and asked them what was wrong with me." I smile in response. "Are you going to the branch?" He asks me. I wanted to tell him that I wasn't even there, that I was just a hallucination from the cough syrup. "No, I'm going home, to my apartment." He nods his head and smiles at me. His hair is light brown, and has not been washed for a couple days. He has green eyes and freckles. He is an attractive person. You could see the resemblance between him and the child. They pulled the cord, and a cranky bell answered. The bus driver stops in front of the branch. He collects the girl and his bag and they no longer exist. The driver whispers to me, "I think the cough syrup got to him." In my head I create a scene in which I shoot her in the face, and the bus flips. I just nod in disagreement.

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