The hound stood at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to come. His own sweat choked him, as the humidity filled his nostrils, he could feel sweat running down his face. Damn, Albuquerque was hot in July. He could see the route 15 bus edging around the corner, 4 minutes late; as usual. they call this the 4:15 bus. why? A dust cloud formed as the driver pulled it off to the side of the road, Dylan stepped back a foot or two, to avoid being tomorrow's pancake special.

He leapt up the stairs in a single bound and deposited a dollar fifty in the turnpike. He strode easily down the aisle, gently bobbing his head up and down to a Living End song he had heard on the radio this morning.

Dylan took his seat near the second door, favoring toward the aft of the bus. He peered around at the other unlucky slobs who rode the gray-hound bus all over this godforsaken town, a man reading a newspaper, a larger woman and her sniveling young daughter, and a woman. Dylan could have sworn he'd seen her somewhere before.

His eyes began to roll down the outline of her figure. he had to grin, a woman he'd slept with before, no doubt. but the face. it was familiar too, but it didn't fit the body.

The bus stopped again, not 100 feet from where Dylan had been standing; geeze, why do people make the driver stop so damn often? He picked up an older lady, the bus' hydraulic 'kneeling' mechanism lowered the fore of the bus significantly and she eased on, deposited her fifty-cent senior's fee, and s l o w l y took her seat, she sat next to the woman Dylan had been admiring from his seat. As soon as she sat down, the bus lurched foreword.

The air conditioning in the back made Dylan's sweat feel like ice; and damn did it feel good. The old woman spoke, something about the weather, which, of course, eventually lead to the topic of hell. The elderly woman's endless droning finally stopped, and Dylan listened carefully to her voice

"I have a feeling it's just an expression"

Her voice hit him like ton of bricks; though it sounded very feminine, it sounded like his college botany professor, Mr. Dansky. Again, the bus stopped, an old man who moved quite swiftly leapt on board, paid his fee, and moved to the back. The older woman joined him.

As soon as they passed him, he took up the old woman's now vacant seat, the lady pulled out a pair of sunglasses and put them on. Great. Just what he needed; another obstruction.

The wrap-around sunshades were welcomed by Heather's face, sliding on quite easily with the sweat on her temples. She felt the seat move, and was startled to look back and find a good-looking young man sitting next to her.

"Have we met?" he asked, quite politely

"Like where?" she responded

"Like in my dreams," he said, planting his head on his fist, which was propped up on the seat

Heather took offense to this, but kept her cool; more steam to blow off was the last thing she needed on a day like this.

"Anywhere ELSE?" she asked "Besides in your small, closed mind?"

He popped his knuckles, it seemed as though his every move had great finesse.

"My bed?" he added, quite crudely

Of course, Heather knew he was just being an airhead; she was still a virgin. mostly.

"I apologize" he said, pointing at her; sensing a hint of insincerity in his voice "But I really do think we've met. Somewhere"

Now that she thought about it, he did look familiar. maybe she'd ridden this bus before? Route 15. Route 15. no, that wasn't it

"You." but before she could finish there came a *ding* as he reached up and pulled the yellow cord above them, and the bus halted, the doors opened, and he used the pole to spiral up and to the staircase, but before he descended, he gave his parting words.

"Good day, miss Taylor" said Dylan, tipping an imaginary hat

"See ya, Dylan" Heather said idly

It wasn't until she watched him move into the courthouse doors, and after she guessed his name without even knowing it, that she realized where she had seen him before. that was Dylan Sikes, her. first. Heather sighed blissfully, and felt a pang of guilt for being to curt to the man who had taught her the ground rules of love.

After a bit of thinking, the bus came to her stop, but as so many images and memories, both wonderful and fetid entered her head, she overlooked getting off. oh well.

17 July, 2002