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Excerpt from

Pee
by
Nina Alvarez

So, I’m waiting for a bus and this is where it always goes wrong. The guy next to me shivers, just slightly, and the faint stink of vomit from his mouth reminds me of where I am and who my peers are. I clutch my bag a little tighter, take one last survey of the sorry and lifeless drubs I find myself among, stand up from the bubblegum graffiti seat and push my way toward the front of the crowd. A couple of people have been standing there the whole time, pathetic with their parkas blowing against the wind and faces straining against the snow. I push past these sad brethren and stride forward just as the bus door opens with its exhaustive sigh. Ignoring grumbles and half-hearted “Heys,” I step onto the bus and find a seat in the very farthest recesses of the back. An empty seat. I claim it, push my body to the window and then cover the remaining seat space with my bag. There, sighing with the grunt and the release of air signifying the bus is ready to start rolling again, I am separated from the heavy-breathing, lazy-eyed, nose-picking, chatty multitude who share this public transportation with me.

But, as I said, this is where it always goes wrong. For example, once the uncouth bus driver chastised me in front of these horrid strangers for cutting ahead of those already waiting. I don’t even dignify his kind with a sneer. Another time, in my hurry to the front of the line, I had forgotten my bag at the bench. I was gone for less than half a minute and when I came back to fetch it, suspicious glances by hooded hooligans already started to graze it. Yes, this is where I find myself; these are my ‘people’: the schizophrenic, the sullen, the uneducated, the pee-stained.


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