Part 3: Painkillers

Wonton glanced slowly around the room and sighed.  He arched his back both forwards and backwards attempting to re-align his spine to upright movement.  He lurched to his feet and began filling the sink with hot water.

The window was pointed at a light grey, concrete wall.  That being said though, he always glanced out the window before he walked by with his manhood on display.  If he angled his head correctly he could see the street some hundred or so feet down the side alley.

Nothing there.  This time.

There was a sudden sound of spilling water.  Wonton cursed himself and returned to the sink.  He reached into the hot water, gingerly, to find the plug and drain some of the water.  Dishes set to soak, Wonton prepared the bathroom for his favorite part of his day.  His shower.

Graced dropped her earbuds for what felt like the tenth time since leaving the apartment.  She learned through repetition that her legs and back were very sore.  This time was different though: she dropped them directly down a sewer grate.  Grace wondered if the earbuds could sense her contempt.

The bus chirped its horn at her.  Grace glowered at the bus driver and got on the bus.  Flashing her pass at the familiar bus driver she made her way halfway down the bus and flung herself into a bench seat.  Legs spread wide, elbows on her knees, she leaned forward and held her head in her hands.  She flinched when she did it too fast, then slowly settled back down onto her palms.

It must be some universal law that stipulates that buses shall not be clean.  The floor was grimy and sticky, many of the cushions bore tears, the floors and windows were riddled with messages and initials.  That’s certainly how you get back at the establishment- you scratch up the floor with a door key.  Grace rolled her eyes.

This bus route stuck to the peripheries of the city at large and after making several stops near the outskirts, dove back into the metropolis.  Not many rode the bus this early in the morning either so she was frequently alone on the bus.  Today was different though, today Derick commuted to work.

Several stops down the way he hopped onto the bus.  Derick was a man in his mid-twenties.  He had short, haphazardly styled hair of some messy, blonde color.  You could tell by looking at him that when he was younger he was much more physically fit, perhaps a football player or a weight lifter.  Time, however, ever favors patterns.  Years of working long shifts and eating at fast food joints has added a bit of a belly to his form, but he wasn’t unattractive.

“The hell happened to you?” he asked while he sat down across the aisle.  He leaned forward and pulled his bag into his lap and began digging through it.

“I didn’t sleep well.  Is it obvious?” she grinned while rubbing her face.  She glanced up in time to see Dericks eyes snap up to meet hers.  She adjusted her tank top, all while giving a middle finger salute.

He grinned his own shy smile all while rummaging through the bag.  “How many is it this time?”

“Three, ‘less there’s another one on my back.”

“Aha!” Derick exclaimed with false bravado and produced a bottle of painkillers from his bag.  He held them up and gestured to her with the bottle, giving her an inquisitive eyebrow.

Grace reached out and the bottle was slapped into her hand.  She pressed the lid into her palm and twisted a couple times.  She realized a moment later that the lid was one of the stupid ones where you have to line up the arrows like you are calibrating some kinda tool.  Popping the lid off with her thumb, she shook three pills into her hand- and then dry swallowed them.

“You ain’t supposed to take more than-”

“Shut up mom!” Grace said in a mocking tone, but then nodded her thanks.  She tossed the bottle back, which the unprepared Derick failed to catch.  It rolled to the back of the bus.  Grace received a glare from the bus driver.

Derick reached back and tapped the touch screen on the wall of the bus.  It chimed at him, and he began buckling his bag closed.  The either dead or dying LED’s on the bus walls began to pulse, signalling that the bus was stopping soon.

“Does Alice know yet?” Derick asked, still looking down at his bag.

“I haven’t seen her all weekend.  Not for lack of want,” Grace sighed.  “She’s been too busy to come over.”

The bus lurched to a stop.  Derick stood up and made his back towards the rear door of the bus.  Over his shoulder he said, “Take care.”  He quickly went to the bottle of painkillers and scooped them up before she heard his heavy footsteps thump thump thump down the exit stairs.

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