Afternoon Skeletons by Tom Weaver

By Weaver

Everyone has something to hide. A past trouble or a current involvement, it doesn't matter. The illegal or criminal mysteries don't interest me. Save that for your TV movie of the week. Speaking of movies, I'd better return my rented copy of "They Still Call Me Bruce". What intrigues me are the small things, harmless and for the most part accepted and tolerated by the law of the pack. The fact that these secrets are never to be found out and kept hidden by their performers is what strikes my fancy like no other.

Anyway, what I like to do is find a public locale, and just watch the people go along their merry ways, unaware that I'm watching, and discovering what they hide from all humanity.

Today's hot spot is the emerald bench at the bus stop near my apartment. Lots of people, great vantage point, and what a day! Clear as can be, with light winds gently pushing the heat away. Not a chance of me pitting up my T-shirt today. Good thing, too, I am dangerously close to having to do laundry.

With my copy of Bruce's antics, I alone occupy the bench, hogging up the middle. I extend both of my arms wide and to the sides, clasping the back of the bench with hooked hands. I got a few minutes until the bus arrives.

My first subjectis a very pretty woman. She is at the corner of the block, over to my right. Pressing the button at the stop-walk, she awaits the white stick figure's grand, luminescent appearance. Very pretty, indeed. Late twenties, straight brown hair, fit, and just conservative enough of a dresser to know that there are two sides to her persona. Is she a cheater? Too good of a catch for any decent man not to be at her beck and call. Lesbian? No, she's a real woman. Reserved, too. I see her dirty little secret a disgusting one. In fact, she almost looks forward to the moment of execution of this act. A ritual, perhaps. Drawn blinds and locked doors are most certainly involved. As she cracks the knuckles of her right hand, I intensify my stare upon her grace. Only the right ones, I see. Favoring one hand over the other. Her tool. My conclusion is that she still picks her nose and eats the mined ore within. Nuggets of tacky filth are her delicacy.

The traffic stops to her side, and she nonchalantly crosses the street and shrinks in size with every step away from me. She didn't need the light to stop traffic, if you ask me. A great specimen, she was.

I check my lap to see if Bruce's sequel is still there. Sure is. Across the street, damn near in line with me, I spy with my green eye, an old lady. Frail, with that not really gray, not really dark hair. Flowered sundress, and a plastic shopping bag in hand. She looks nice in her dress, maybe feeling a little youthful this afternoon. Good day for a shop and a walk. She moves with sprite. As far as I can see, she remains sharp, void of that lost, elderly look where it seems that each new day is a new world to timidly explore.

One that old gathers many skeletons, before becoming one herself. Which one is presently plaguing her psyche? Old women don't embarrass, they fear. This, I know. But this brittle firecracker fears not for herself. She fears for what happened last night in the squared-circle. Tito Santana took a vicious beating at the hands of the Heenan Family on a flashback wrestling program. She believes that professional wrestling is real. She is worried about Tito's health and well being, and does not want anyone to know that she watches wrestling. Such savage voyeurism is taboo.

The old lady is gone, blending into the thick crowd of fellow walkers that overtake her slow pace. My view remains on the mob of pedestrians that have eclipsed Tito Gramtana.

Emerging from the pack in the other direction is your typical businessman. Leather briefcase and a three-piece suit that begs for one to have this man handle your accounts and financial endeavors. Hundred-dollar haircut. Facial profile of a model on a box of hair dye for gray beards. Powerful attitude of wealth and status. King of the mountain. He subscribes to Forbes Magazine. His secret is dark, yet obvious, especially to my trained eye. Yes, I'd say as short as an hour ago, he was on all-fours with a rubber ball in his mouth, being whipped and emasculated by a buxom dominatrix with white-trash fingernails. I really can't look at a man like that and not think of this, but my gut instinct tells me it is true in his case. Stinging, purple welts on his buttocks, fresh and thin, start his week off on the right foot. He'll be certain to have his secretary hold his calls so he can relive the morning's experience back through his satisfied mind, both behind and under his desk.

Great finds today on the emerald bench. I'll be sure to come back here in the future. My bus is just a block away, stopped at a red light. As I'm watching the people cross the street in front of my ride to the video store, someone sits on the bench to my left. Green light, here comes my bus. I take a quick glance at the person who has joined me. Gray, waxy crew cut, and a few years short of retirement. This husky fellow has deeply set gray eyes and reeks of Vitalis and failure. He's a pervert. Sometimes they are just that easy to call.

As the bus' air brakes screech to a placid halt, the door rushes open, inviting me aboard. Grabbing Bruce, I stand up and slide the fingers of my left hand beneath my nose and take a deep breath, just to give anyone who is observing me something to think about.

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This page contains a single entry by Weaver published on February 4, 2002 10:06 PM.

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