I remember that the day I first had a glimpse of that strange man was the third Saturday in May. I was shopping for the next day's Sunday dinner at the little market on 3rd Street, just past the cinema. When I finished, I loaded the groceries into the cart and pushed it into the parking lot towards my car. On the way there I heard a faint beeping noise to the left behind a wall of cars, just loud enough to overcome the rustling of plastic bags and the echoing of the wind in my ears.

Not even the least bit curious, I resumed my journey to my car, dismissing the beeping for a cell phone ringing or some kind of music. But suddenly the beeping grew louder and I turned my head to see a man come walking towards me from between two cars. He wore a black suit and black pants and a black hat and gripped a thin brown suitcase in his hand. He wore thick framed glasses and his eyes store straight ahead. Normal as this might seem, the guy walked a little funny as if – well, I don't have the language to describe it, so we'll have to just leave it at that. And it seemed – as incredulous as it might look like – as if the beeping was actually coming from him!

I stopped my cart in front of him, my eyes a little apprehensive but my lips turned up in a strange smile. Then I saw that I was in his way, so I, you know, hurried out of it. He opened his mouth as if he would say something, but shut it just as quickly, his eyes never meeting mine and just steering them right through me as he turned.

Now, I don't want to say that I stood there motionless, gaping at him, but, well, I did. I wondered if he was some sort of religious man; perhaps a Mormon? At least, that's what his clothes made him out to be. I was just about to tear my eyes away from him and try my will again to get to the car when the back of his suit drifted upwards with the sudden wind. Under it was three or four green lights taped to his back, blinking on and off, two of them changing colors to red. I don't want to sound strange or paranoid or anything, but I swear I saw wires running up and down his back and I realized that there wasn't a back; I saw that there were just gears and lights metal and steel glinting in the sun.

But then, just as quickly as the wind had come, it dissipated. The flap on the back of his suit recovered its lost territory and I just stood there, dumbfounded, when a car from behind me honked angrily, and I realized that I was standing still in the middle of the parking lot. Hastily, I went to my car and got in and drove home, maybe a little bit slower than usual.

At home, I unpacked the groceries and put them away in their places in the cupboards. Apparently, I looked a bit shaken up so my husband asked what was wrong. I answered by telling him about what I had just seen in the supermarket parking lot. He looked at me funny and talked to me in a strange voice. I listened to him for a while, but then I stopped myself and realized that his voice – it was monotone, never wavering from the same pitch. I felt his hand and it felt cold. My heart started to beat fast and I got up and backed away from him. He walked towards me, still talking, but I realized that he was walking funny, stiff, like the man from the market on 3rd.

I ran out of the house and got into the car. I would never see him again.

These days I see lots of people just like him, sitting straight and talking monotone, never getting excited and never drawing attention to themselves. But there is only one was I can separate them from regular, breathing people – and that is the way that they walk.