The bus pushed air to the curb, cups and napkins from the nearby Burger King swirled in disturbed air. The oversized tires gripped the asphalt and held. The air brakes groaned and motion stopped. Hydraulic arms pushed aside the folding doors and waited. A lone man, small, dressed in a gray and black splattered suit, put one foot on the lower step and paused to look to the right and then to the left. He made his decision and grasped the chrome railing with his right hand and pulled himself into the almost empty vehicle. He stood there, just beyond the steps, paid with a token, and then turned to look at me, the only other passenger. I watched him without blinking from the farthest seat and waited. He smiled at the driver, touched the rim of his gray and black splattered fedora and started walking in my direction. He had a slight limp very few people would notice. I noticed. I knew what had happened. He took his time, holding briefly to each seat he passed, as the bus driver patiently waited for him to find his seat. He stopped two feet in front of me and smiled, touched his hat again, and looked at the empty space on the seat next to me. I nodded and he sat down. The bus strained and pulled itself back into traffic. “Are you here on business?” he asked, using an archaic code. “I’m only here until May,” I responded with the answer that was proper twenty years ago. The answer he would be expecting. “I’m cold,” he said, despite the hot sun shining in the tinted windows of the bus. I understood, “We’ll take care of that.” He leaned back on the bench seat and relaxed for the first time in a long time. I took a quick look at the driver, he was adsorbed in traffic, I slipped my gun from its armpit home and pushed it, silencer first, into his open jacket. There was a slight puff and he slumped slightly. I reached for the wire above the bus’s tinted window and pulled. The bus continued for another five hundred feet and then pulled to the curb, the back door folded and the driver watched as I stepped out into the warm morning.
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