We were in a bus like no other, maybe how such would be conceived were you to begin back in the forties with a rural scene and project forward from there, like the serials of the epoch used to; old Fords pulling up to a spaceship lying on its belly like a bathtub toy.
The lady was rotund and dressed in many confusing layers of various designs of myriad substance. She was very stoic, saying nothing as I stood over her with my indignant accusations. See here, you took my wallet, I said loudly. Alert the driver.
I sought to take charge of her in a citizen's arrest, but she wasn't going anywhere inside the enclosed conveyance and neither was anyone else. So I stood and looked offended and she sat and ignored us all just as she had from the beginning of the ride. She was stringing beads for a necklace, it looked like.
In the middle of the scene, a little thought came creeping. I felt again for my wallet, left rear pocket of my jeans, and confirmed it still wasn't there. But then I remembered. Since I was pickpocketed before (in wake time, in Paris) I always carried my wallet in the left front pocket. Oh, dear.
Yep, here it is. I apologize profusely, but the victim of my suspicion pays no more attention to my abject wailing now than she did my fierce charges before. I determine to set it all to right. I go to other passengers to explain I've made a terrible mistake, but they all seem intent on escaping the bus and most especially me at the earliest.
My job is through the night. I work in what seems to be a parking garage, dark, with many foreign objects all about. I am now figuring how to carry old newsprint across to the recycle way at yon end. Some of it, I become aware, seems to be missing. I must recover the lost pages of what is an ancient slab of muck after all. I don't ask any questions.
Rats skitter here and there, but I have learned to think of them as mice. We all separately without consulting have done that. It's called on-the-job training.
The straw boss says to me, "We need you to demonstrate a product tomorrow. You'll come in an hour early."
He seems very sure. I don't know from where he derives his confidence. In fact, I have that question about everybody I meet lately. I haven't even decided if I'm going to show up at my regular four PM hour tomorrow, or ever again.
But I don't think of that now. I have to move this mess of ancient, useless papyrus to the far bin. Then I'll leave and see whatever else is in store.