Short Story: Scum of the City

A short story in the genre of realistic fiction, my favorite. 

I’m taking the RAPD bus that connects downtown Reno to the mall. I swipe my card and say hi to the driver. She has no response for me. Not even a look of affirmation that she heard. I reckon she’s seen too many different types of people, some maybe good, some duplicitous. To trust anybody anymore would put her at unnecessary risk of being wronged. She doesn’t make enough an hour for that. Buses are home to the most diverse set of lower class folk including the scum of the city.

I take my seat in the very back corner. As usual, everyone is at least a seat apart from one another. Everyone is quiet too. Is every bus commuter a misanthrope or are we all just afraid of each other?

I hear suppressed crying, exasperated breathing, and light whimpering. It’s coming from a woman seated in the back corner opposite me. She looks to be somewhere in her 20’s but she’s haggard like a 50 year-old, dirty too. Her hair is short, messy, and jet black. She’s wearing a black and gray checkered hoodie and gray yoga pants. She’s crying in the fetal position. A few passengers have peeked a couple glances at her. Not enough of a look to give away that they might care though.

Yesterday on the bus, I think someone was beat boxing. I never got to see who it was because I was sitting in front of them facing forward. To look back would have given away that I was listening to his or her song. I was afraid of giving them any indication that I was seriously contemplating telling them how cool I thought they were.

I’m not a misanthrope. I’m just afraid. But I wish I wasn’t, because she looks pitiful there, crying like an unloved child.


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