People Watching, WAG #7

My apologies. This post is part of a larger project and as this was my first participation with this project, I set it up incorrectly. Apparently, I was supposed to include this: WAG #7 Instructions: “Imaginings” This one is people-watching with a twist. Observe a stranger and sketch a brief background for them, including a secret. Then describe why they are in that particular place at that particular time (where you ran into them) and how it will affect their future. Feel free to be creative, but don’t forget to describe the concrete reality that made you pick them in the first place!


“I hate these damned busses,” I said to my husband David as we sat in the pair of seats seven rows behind the driver.

At that exact moment, the wheels on our side hit a massive pothole and we were bounced violently against one another. I groaned with irritation as well as pain.

“The bus is fine,” my husband replied. “It’s this lousy street I object to.”

Actually, he was right. The bus was truly a God-send. Without that free shuttle, we’d have to pay massive parking fees for the convenience of being near the Stephens Convention Center where the annual motorcycle show was held. After having spent five hours walking up and down the aisles, I should have been more grateful to sit and get driven to our truck six blocks away.

I looked around at my fellow passengers to see if I was just being whiny about the rough ride. It was a strange mix of people, just as it was every year. Motorcycle shows attract all sorts. There are people like me and my husband who use bikes to commute (an act of bravery in Chicagoland rushhour) but mostly we take long tours so we’re always looking for the newest, spoil-ourselves-rotten touring accessory that we can’t live without. There are those who don’t have a bike and attend the shows to throw a leg over the myriad of models, just to get a feel for the various machines. Lots of people are looking to upgrade to the latest-greatest gotta-have-it machine. And as always, there are the “kids” who were now inspired to save up their fast-food job wages for that gleaming-chrome Harleys or the sleek ‘crotch rockets’ to show off to their friends or to attract the opposite sex.

Then there was the guy in one of the sideways benches on the opposite side of the bus. It was a typically cold January, so the fact that he wore only a light tan wind breaker and a fedora style hat caught my eye. I had seen him board the bus when we did, and by the Yamaha and Honda bags hanging from his hand against his knee, it seemed evident that he had attended the show. It seemed funny to me how light and flimsy they were, as though empty. Like any good trade show, the exhibitors do their best to put every bit of literature and brochure in your hand that they can manage, yet looking more closely, I could see this fellow’s bags were definitely empty.

The bus came to a hard stop as traffic in front of us suddenly ground to a halt, and I braced against the seat in front of me. The strange gentleman with the fedora tilted abruptly to his right and his jacket lifted up his left hip a little as he leaned over involuntarily. A little glint of silver caught my eye, but when I looked more closely, the jacket had moved back to cover whatever it was.

“Damn!” my husband mumbled, putting the side of his head to the glass, trying to peer forward. “Where did all these cars come from?”

“David! David!” I whispered at him urgently. “I think that guy over there has a gun!”

My husband looked at me with alarm and then glanced around, trying to see who I was talking about.

“What? How’ja know?”

“Don’t be obvious,” I hissed. “And I saw it on his hip.”

“Maybe it’s a cop,” he answered, suddenly becoming laissez-faire and ducking his head a little.

“Oh, sure,” I snarked. “Undercover as Elliot Ness.”

“What, the guy in the hat?” he asked, ignoring the sarcasm part of my comment. Typical.

“Yes! I saw it when he leaned over with the bus.”

“Well… so? Mind your own business.”

The bus took off with a jerk, pushing us back into our seats, and I took a chance to look at Elliot Ness again. He was shifting his empty bags from one hand to the other, baring his left leg, where his pants had ridden up. In his tight black sock was stuffed a small rectangular object.

“My God, David,” I hissed again. “He’s got a knife in his sock!”

“Oh, geez, Sue!” David groaned. “Your wild imagination is getting the best of you.” Then he added, “Again.”

“No, seriously!”

“It doesn’t matter,” he countered.

I grunted, imagining the little black cloud floating out the top of my head like in the funny papers. As with an accident, I couldn’t help to turn my eyes back at Mr. Fedora. He was looking back at me. Nervously, I shifted my eyes to floor and then randomly around the bus.

In a sudden right turn, the bus swerved into the driveway of the parking lot and squealed to a halt. With a rush, the man in the hat jumped up to the door, and when it opened, he bolted across the road to the underpass for the highway and was gone.

“Track star, too” David smirked, handing me one of our green Kawasaki bags full of brochures.

“Oh, hush!” I growled.


  1. More please! It sounds like the beginning of a good detective story!

  2. I really like this! You made me want more, and I wondered about this shady Mr. Fedora.

    Very well written!

  3. very nicely done, Sue. Your build up was interesting and your descriptions were developed. You created enough interest to make me want to read more.

  4. Very nice, I want to know more too! What's up with Mr. Fedora, I wonder..?

  5. That's about right for a bus in Chicago. I grew up there. No why did Mr. F. take off like that?

  6. Very nice! Now I want to know what Mr. Knife-in-Sock was up to.

  7. Excellent piece. Can't tell if it is fiction or non-fiction, but either way it works really well. If it's non-fiction it's a great observational piece. It it's fiction it is a great lead. Either way, Mr. Fedora is an intriguing character I want to know more about. So I sort of hope it's fiction.

    Welcome to the WAG.

  8. Hello, all! I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be fiction or non-fiction so I blended. The complaining about the bus is real and everything up to noticing the man with the light tan jacket is real. My bike is a 2001 Triumph Legend TT. My husband rides a Honda Interceptor.

    After that, I made it up.

    The next challenge seems REALLY hard!

  9. Hello Sue.

    I liked the piece a lot. It really pulled me in and like everyone else had me questioning Mr. Fedora.


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