Hao and I don't talk much anymore. We just sit on the bus and stare at each other for a while. He asks a question, and I answer, one word. I ask a question, he answers, one word. Mostly we just stare, and then we look away, and I fall asleep. I think he poked me as he got off, but I can't really remember.
While I'm asleep, Harold sits down behind me and begins to talk on the phone, only he's not harassing me anymore. He's talking to Pamela, completely pissed and in an impotent growl, he tells her that they made a good couple and invites himself over for dinner with her tomorrow. "I gotta tell you a story though," he says. "There was this bee and it was flying around and buzzing and flying around and stuff. And it was flying around and then the little bastard stung me. But I made it pay. I killed the little fucker. I killed the fucker."
He repeats the line several times, and each time it sounds more pathetic. "Damn right I'm a tough guy," he says, "I killed the little bastard." He then convinces Pamela that they should get married, and with much swearing, he haggles his period of mandatory sobriety from one year to a week. Some women are stupid. There's no other way to describe it.
I wake up in the wrong side of town and get off the bus. My long walk home is a montage of isolated images: graffiti, broken glass, dead rat, asphalt cracks, pebbles, urban decay.
Thoughts become disjointed. The clouds are gathering overhead. I forgot my jacket, so I'm cold. Somewhere in the distance someone is cooking dinner. It smells delicious. I am not here anymore, I am mechanical. My legs move beneath me without thought. I could sleep forever.
Mothers are calling out into the night, calling errant children home.