Northbound Route 40...

The first time someone told me I had a problem, it was a random stranger. And it was on a bus.
He looked like a mark the first time I saw him. It was his face. Sure, he was working the rugged thing, stubble, shaven head, but his eyes gave him away. They were soft and he knew it. He squinted when he looked up at me and did this thing with his eyebrows. It was supposed to look mean, I guess. The only thing I felt was familiar, like I'd been down this road before. I sat on the back bench of the bus, facing him. He was staring at his phone.

"Can I borrow your phone?"

I leaned towards him a little and watched his eyes move down the front of my shirt. I knew I could get his attention.


"My battery's dying, can I borrow yours to make a call?" I waved my phone at him to pull his eyes from my tits.

"Sure. What's the number?"

That surprised me. I expected him to roll over like a good dog. And then I remembered Joe. That's who this guy reminded me of. Soft baby eyes and and control freak issues. He might need a good smack across the nose. Joe did.

I smiled, tucked my phone in my back pocket, and the soft man handed me his phone.

"Wrong number." Stupid ass Russ, giving me shit as soon as he answered the phone.

"It's me."

"Who's me?"

"It's me fucker. I'm using some guy's phone, mine's dying." I smiled at the soft man as he listened to my call.

"What do you want?"

"You know."


"Party favors. Do you have any or what?" The soft man started giving me the stink eye. I promised myself to smack someone, hard. Russ was saying something and this soft bastard started shaking his head and made a motion with his hand like he wanted his phone back.

"I gotta go. I'll be at your place soon. We're almost at Colfax."

"Give me my phone."

"Sorry, thank you." I handed him his phone.

"You know, I've never met an honest addict."

"What did you say?"

"You lied about your phone so you could call your drug dealer."

"So what. You were stupid enough to give it to me "

"Maybe I am stupid, but you're an addict. You need help."

"Hey asshole who gave you a pass to preach at me?"

"Save your bullshit for someone else."

I looked up and everyone on the bus was quiet but no one was looking at us. I got up and walked to the front. My embarrassment quickly shifted to anger. I didn't have a problem, that motherfucker and his self-righteous attitude, that's who had the problem. Fuck him.

I thought about it for a second though.

who's who...