I can talk myself in and out of almost anything but this was one of the times when all of the little voices in my head agreed. I had to get up, but the thought of leaving my warm cocoon of blankets and venturing forth into the monotonous world was a daunting one. But yesterday I had decided to make my life interesting. The Chinese have a curse "May you live in interesting times". Today I would embrace that, curse of not. Instead of just hanging out at home I would go out and have an adventure. And today would be the perfect day as my parents were at church. When I turned twelve I refused to go to church and haven't been since then. My parents viewed my decision as a rebellion stage but I felt that it is and was my prerogative. I hauled my self up and looked around my room searching for a pair of at least relatively clean jeans in the clutter that I called home. You could trace my entire life through the stuff in my room. In one corner a dusty pile of horse figurines signifying the horse crazy stage. In another, the pile of dirt and twigs that was my own homemade, human size, bird nest. And in the other? Voila a cleanish pair of jeans. I ran my hands through my short, boyish, hair and went downstairs to make my lunch that I would take with me. After making a PB&M (peanut butter and marshmallow) sandwich I grabbed some of my dwindling money supply from last summer's job and headed out the door.

I started walking toward the bus stop at the end of our suburb, winding my way through streets that curved and twisted without any sound reason and past cookie cutter houses on their 1/16 of an acre. Houses that had the occasional Porsche or vintage Mustang in the driveway. Although I drooled slightly, I managed to pass by without incident. As I walked I wondered what I would do once I made it into the city of Stanley. I didn't know Stanley all that well but if anything was going to happen it would be in the city not here in the 'burbs. The bus stop was nothing more than a battered shot-up sign saying " us S op" so I sat down on the curb to await the 9 am bus.

The 9 am bus arrived promptly at 9:45 and the doors swooshed open to reveal a tired looking man who said in a monotone "You on this bus?" I nodded and boarded, shoving my money into the slot. The bus roared away from the stop and I turned to walk down the narrow aisle. The only passengers were a drunken old man in the front seat and a decidedly nervous young woman who kept looking over her shoulder as whatever she feared could pop up at any moment, and maybe it could. I made my way past them toward the back of the bus. With every step my foot stuck in the gummy mess that made up the floor of the bus. Choosing a gray and dingy seat that didn't look too filthy I sat down and glanced out the window as the houses and countryside whizzed by. Instead of staring out the window (which always mad me nauseous) I inspected my reflection. I saw short black hair, which today had decided to be spiky, and regular features. My best quality was my eyes. They took up half my face and their weirdness was improved as I wore colored contact lens that made my entire iris appear black. I was starting to get woozy so I closed my eyes and thought about my newly hatched plan to find my excitement. Chance and luck have always appealed to me (but I'm always too nervous to actually gamble) so I was going to get off at the thirteenth stop the bus made after it got into the city. From there I was going to walk three blocks west and see where I ended up. Maybe it wasn't the sanest idea but it was mine.

After thirteen stops of nausea I gratefully thudded down the sticky, brown rubber, stairs and onto the street. A street that was nothing like I had expected. Instead of the clean concrete of the burbs the pavement was cracked, trash had blocked the gutters and there were puddles of unidentifiable substances. Obviously my little thirteen stop plan had brought me a bit deeper into the city than I had wanted to go. I wasn't too worried about being mugged as I didn't look prosperous, my jeans were a faded black and torn at the knee with frayed cuffs, and the t-shirt I had on came from a Wal-mart, the cloth backpack was an old one that had previously been a bright neon green but was now a pale yellow. I roamed down the street going three blocks west. As I walked, the neighborhood got progressively worse. I passed abandoned buildings whose walls were spray painted with the slogan "Don't! Buy! Thai!". Someone had painted huge murals of the sky and in every one there was a crow. They were the only beautiful things in this place.

I was maneuvering around a large puddle.. I did not even want to think about the contents. When a bony hand reached from what I saw as a pile of rags and rasped, "Spare some change girlie?" After my initial reaction (jumping five feet in the air) the voice started to laugh at me. Annoyed I snapped. "Well what would you do if a pile of clothes talked?"

"Give it some change," the voice responded.

I only had enough for my bus fare back home and felt guilty that I couldn't give him anything.

"Would you mind a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich?" I said holding it out to him.

"Wheat or white bread?" the sarcasm dripped from his voice as he reached for the sandwich.

Now that he had sat up and brushed his hair back from his eyes, I could see that he wasn't old at all. Maybe my age but he seemed more mature. Instead of wolfing down the sandwich like I would have done if I were as hungry as he obviously was, he took small bites and chewed slowly. I was curious to know his story and sat down beside him to wait. Sometime later he looked up

"Thank you.".

"No problem."

"Now is the time when you leave," he said looking put out that I was still there.

"Uh… Uh nobody gets something for nothing." I winced, that hadn't come out right. He laughed.

"You got that right. So what do I have that you want?"

"A story."

"Sweetheart, I don't even know my own story much less anyone else's," he said wryly.

"Well, at least tell me your name."

"I'm called Johnny." He stuck out his hand.

"I'm Sabin, Sab for short." I took his hand.

"Pleasure to meet you."


We both looked at each other. Me with weird eyes and ripped jeans yet still looking like I came from burbs, him with his wild hair and feral look. We were both squatting together on the curb having this ridiculous conversation. We cracked up.

Still laughing I stood up "I've got to get going Johnny"

"Later Sab." He grinned, "See you around?"