A Cunning Plan

An hour before dusk really set in, but twenty minutes after the sun had bowed behind the buildings for the day, James headed out to rehearsal. He waited for a string of six cars to roll by before he jogged across the street and down the dusty alley. The grit and crunch of the dirty pavement marked the time of each step. He had almost come out the other side when he realized that he had left his stupid bass at home again.

Turning to head back, he saw a group of five people had trailed him down the city canyon. They chatted with each other in well-projected Spanish, a multi-generational bunch, a family in practice if not necessarily blood. As James approached them, he wondered if they were out for a leisure stroll or moving with a purpose. People who say nobody walks in this town only know the people who don’t have to. Crossing next to them, he saw that one of the younger men, maybe in his early 20s, was wearing a dark shirt with a line drawing of Lord Edmund Blackadder on it. An Atkinson quote ran underneath it, but James would have had to gawk rudely to discern which one it was.

He kept his eye on the Latino man, hoping to catch his attention and give him a nod. He hoped that would do enough to convey his shared appreciation for classic British comedy. To clearly show that the advertising on his wardrobe had made a connection, had some resonance with someone else in the world.

The man never looked James’ way. The group walked on, still chatting and laughing, still making sure the young child didn’t run off too far. James thought about looking back to see if there was something on the back, but he thought that might be intrusive. He was halfway back up the swirling alley before the sound of their voices stopped echoing around behind him.

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