Andrew Roe

The bus did not come and so I waited and counted all the reasons for not believing. There were many.

After a while someone sat down next to me. A man. He smelled like asparagus. Only he didn't look like someone who would eat asparagus.

The man proceeded to hug himself and rock back and forth, like a child trying to disappear. I didn't want to stare. So I glanced at his feet instead. Shoes without laces. No socks. He had a life, a history.  

We waited some more. I cleared my throat. A few other people standing now, the bus stop filling up.

The man next to me stopped rocking.

"I could tell you things," he said, his voice sounding like faulty electricity. "Blow your fucking mind."

Another time on another day I could have easily said nothing, just let it pass, another spinner in the city, souls on the verge, see them every day, especially if you ride public transportation.

"Okay," I said. "Blow my mind."

The man spat. The loogie was significant enough to make a sound when it landed. People checked their watches and cell phones, mumbling. Some of us were going to be late for work.

"Naw, I don't think so," the man regretfully informed me. "You look—sensitive. Like you might not be able to handle it. I wouldn't want anything to happen to you. I couldn't take that kind of responsibility. You know how it is."

The bus arrived. Finally. It stopped in front of us. The door shushed open. The man sitting next to me stood up.

"Wait," I said.

The man stopped and looked down at me. He waited. His eyes whirled and seemed to be moving in several different directions at once. I didn't know what else to say.

Andrew Roe's stories have been published in One Story, Tin House, SmokeLong Quarterly, Hobart and many others.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201003spinner.htm

Detail of illustration on main page courtesy of Max Estes.

Read other AR stuff from the archive.

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