The next time anyone tells me, 'I lost my car keys!' I'm going to order them to forget about them and find other means of transportation. Because, hey- when I did that, my life changed forever. All because I couldn't find my car keys.
I could have sworn I left them by the fish tank. That's where I always leave my car keys! I looked twice in the fish tank, three times under the fish tank and four times on the ground around the perimeter of the fish tank. The fish tank, filled with various kinds of fish, was right by the garage door, so conveniently I put my keys there when I come home from work and right there the next morning when I'm going to work. I work at the city newspaper, the Silver City Journal, as the photographer. The drive to work takes about twenty-five minutes, so if I didn't find my keys in the next- I looked at my silver, on clearance, watch- three minutes I would be late, and in trouble. I took one quick once over of my cluttered apartment. No keys in sight. Oh well, maybe I could catch the Transit Bus if I ran. I grabbed my equipment and papers, and flew out my front door. I live on the second floor, so I was out the main doors in no time. At 4:30 in the morning, the streets of Silver City were fairly silent; only a rare passing car would slice through the quiet. The Transit Buses ran twenty-four seven, so I would have no trouble catching one. I ran to the lit bus neon light, and took my seat on the otherwise empty bench. I began tapping my foot, impatient and worried the bus broke down, or was late, or had I just missed it?
The sky was quiet, a star filled black space with the orange hope of a new day. McKnight Mountain was barely visible; an outline was the only thing I could see. My foot was falling asleep, so I rearranged it so the blood would start flowing to it again. Just then, the bus came around the corner, a shining beacon in a sea of dark. It almost passed the stop, but I flagged it down and it screeched to a stop. I got on, paid my toll and looked around for a seat, since there were plenty to choose and I was stubborn enough to have to choose carefully. To my surprise, there were three other people on the bus. One couple, looking drunk as ever, obviously returning from partying and pole dancing and other things I can't even begin to imagine…. The lady, the wife as told by the diamond ring on her finger, was wearing a glamorous top with silver sequins striped down the sides, and a pair of dark jean skinny shorts. The husband, his button up preppy shirt tousled and messy, which matched his blonde hair. His jeans were ripped, and he looked like he just got out of college. The two did not look like they would be a perfect match. Unless, the man was a one night stand, and was returning his one night stand woman to her husband. The other passenger was one man, staring out the window. He looked completely different from the other two; he had a nice plain black shirt on, untouched and crisp. His hair was perfectly styled, brown locks that swung gently just past the tip of his ear. His jeans were also looking crisp, like they had just been ironed and put on. His chin was resting in his hand, which was resting on the window. His nose touched the glass and smashed it a little. I examined myself, looking down at myself. I had on black pants and a plain red three-quarter length shirt. My shoes were sensible clogs, because there was no way I could walk in heels. I would surely trip and mess up a the picture I was taking. Plus, as a newspaper photographer, some shoots require you to get down on your hands and knees, crouch, or lay down on the ground. The work dress code was very strict: look professional. This meant, no jeans, no Hawaiian tee shirts, no shirts with dogs playing card games, no tennis shoes. Black pants and a nice shirt were perfect for girls, and a suit was perfect for guys.
I decided to choose my seat behind the lone guy, seeing as he intrigued me. When I sat down, he slanted his eyes behind him, seeing me. I gave him a slight smile, and he smiled back. To my greatest surprise, he started talking to me. He swung around in his bus chair and looked me dead in the eyes. I won't lie, I was taken aback. He looked so content and peaceful, not outgoing.
"Where do you think they came from?" He asked me, shifting his eyes towards the tipsy couple. I hesitated. His voice was soft, like honey pouring into a cup. It was also soft, something I did expect from his appearance. His eyes were green, but blue. They were a mix of blue and green. Blue-green, yes.
"Partying. Making a fool of themselves. Drinking, obviously." I responded, with a hint of disgust in my voice.
"I'm Josh. No, I'm Derek. Nope, not that name, I'm John. You know what, never mind. Call me Skootch." He told me, mysteriously. I didn't know what to make of it. Did people actually call him 'Skootch'? What should I tell him? My real name?
"I'm-" I started, but 'Skootch' interrupted me.
"No no. You cannot tell me your name. I will call you Kritz." Kritz?
"Why can't I tell you my name? Why can't you tell me yours?" I asked.
"Kritz! It's part of the rules."
"What rules?" I was getting flustered now. Was Skootch some kind of psychopath I should stay away from?
Like reading my mine, Skootch responded, "I am not crazy, but you have to trust me. I know we just met. I'm not drunk either," he proved this by swinging his finger to and from his nose, "believe me! See? Touch nose, touch, touch, touch."
"Ok. So what are the rules and what game are you playing?" I pondered, freaked out by this man but yet so pulled in by his presence.
"Follow me. Follow me around town, around Silver City. For twenty four hours. You must do everything I say. Don't worry, I won't get you arrested or married or knocked up. Just go with it!" He said this with such confidence, such assurance that with my whole heart, I believed him.
"I have to go to work… I'll be fired if I don't show up!" I said, not sure whether I wanted Skootch to give up or keep pursuing me.
"Aw, who cares Kritz? I'm skipping my job too. Call in, because you're taking a… personal health day," I instinctively patted my phone in my bag, and saw Skootch smile. "That's right… take it out… dial your boss… GO KRITZ!" He yelled the last part, making the bus driver turn around and give us a suspicious look. The couple started making out, but not as a result from Skootch yelling.
I was torn. Should I? I would be in big trouble if I bailed on my job, but Skootch was so outgoing, and it was like he had his own gravitational field that was pulling me in.
Skootch was waiting for an answer, his eyes bright with hope.
I then realized, there was only one thing I could do. The answer was painted in my head in bright colors, the word in my head transforming into words out my chapped lips.