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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The faceless, nameless stranger

It's time for another one of those "where I've been" posts. (It's also time for the reposting of "The Littlest Turkey", which I'll get around to soon.)

I've been busy, delightfully so. I've been spending a lot of time with my writing group, and writing, and going to poetry and prose open mics, and trying and failing to list and publicize all of those events, because there are just so damned many, and what kind of area is Northeastern Pennsylvania where you can run yourself to the point of collapse just going to open mics and poetry readings? Plus I've been allowing myself to develop a personal life beyond the personal life I already had. It may all end in tears someday, but for now I'm having the time of my life. And getting healthier as a consequence; I need to go out and buy some new clothes soon, but in the meantime I guess I'll have to rely more and more on suspenders to keep my too-large pants from falling off.

On Saturday morning I met with my writing group in Scranton. We were all still basking in the afterglow of Thursday's open mic night, the biggest and best and most successful open mic we've had in a long time, or ever, in my brief experience. The group was small but most of us had stuff to read. I read a poem, the new one I had read on Thursday, since KK missed the open mic and I wanted him to hear it. One of our newer members, a published author of hard-boiled crime stories, read the first chapter of his current work. Chaz, the founder of our group, pulled out a bronze bull, wrapped in newspaper, and presented it to me. I was deeply honored to receive this gift. The meeting ended just after three, so I called my mom to tell her I was on my way, but maybe she should get alternate transportation to church so she wouldn't be late. I tossed my phone and my coat and my little blue notebook into the car, carefully secured the bronze bull in the back, and drove off.

I stopped at the first traffic light, the one on Adams and Lackawanna. It seemed to take forever, but eventually turned green. Lucky thing I told her to get a ride to church. I hit another traffic light, this one on Lackawanna, just before the turnoff to 81. In a little bit I would be zooming along at highway speeds, but for now I was stuck at an endless red light, a line of cars behind me. I fiddled with the radio as I waited.

Finally the light turned green, and I immediately heard a banging on my car. Did someone just hit me? But no, it sounded like someone slamming on my car with their hand, and as I turned to my left I realized that that hand probably belonged to the torso that was filling my window.

I rolled down the window a few inches, not wanting to take chances with a random Scranton crazy person, and said "Yes?" Without a word the figure outside of my car removed my black binder from the roof of my car and passed it through the opening in the window. He didn't bend down; I never saw his face. He just handed me the binder and walked away.

I thanked him profusely before I sped off through the green light and around the curve that would lead me to the highway.

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