Friday, October 26, 2018

Keep your eyes peeled!

It's amazing what people don't notice, he thought. And the ones that do often choose to keep it to themselves, preferring not to stir the pot. I suppose that's the only reason I get away with this shit.

The middle-aged man kept a blank expression on his face as he pushed his dolly down the street. A half dozen people passed him by, enveloped in their own little worlds. Some on phones - texting, calling, using whatever app was most important at that moment. Still more listening to music or podcasts or just isolating themselves with their headphones.

His wheels clacked along the brickwork as he passed pairs conversing. Groups were the most dangerous - there was often one among them who had been frozen out of the conversation and was, therefore, on the lookout for something upon which they could remark and thereby reenter their friends' world. When he saw a group, he made sure to angle away and look interested in some phenomena across the street. That usually seemed to distract them long enough to pass by without comment.

He was just a short way out from his destination when he spotted a major problem - a young man walking down the street, chin up and eyes taking in every sight. The older man knew this look - it was his own, just in a body twenty years his junior. He angled slightly and attempted to tailgate some other pedestrians, but he knew he'd been spotted. the real question was whether or not the young man would say anything.

The two passed. A little bit further and the older man would be in the clear.

"Excuse me," came a confident interjection.

Shit. The older man stopped. There were rules.

"Are you carting around three pickled heads?"

The older man felt both defeated and amused. As he rarely got stopped, he had money riding on this particular attempt. That being said, it was fun to get noticed.

"I am, though they're fakes," he responded.

"Ah. Any particular reason?"

"Art project and a bet. I bet that no one would say anything for twenty blocks."

"Oh. That's weird. How far did you make it?"


"Ha! Well, better luck next time."

[written 28 Feb '16]

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