I am in a very busy station somewhere. It is crowded and filled with noise from the throng of people coming and going. There is a man sitting in corner inside of a booth shouting obscene and annoying things at people. This angers me enough to the point that I begin shouting back at the man, mocking him and making fun of him. He shuts up, appears hurt, and then promptly leaves. I feel victorious and make my way to leave the station.
I arrive at the bicycle rack and do not see my bicycle. I reach around and feel my bike lock still on my bicycle. I didn’t lock it! Frantic, I search all the spaces to no avail. On the sidewalk next to one of the spaces I see my gray stocking cap. I assume this must have been where I parked my bike. There is already a bicycle parked in the space. I begin lamenting the loss of my bicycle, relating to a stranger my predicament. “No, this isn’t my bicycle. Mine is a tall red Schwinn. I’ve had it forever. It’s a bit of a piece of shit, but I really loved that thing.” The bicycle parked in the spot has a bag attached to it. I wonder if the owner of the bike might have any information about my missing bike. I and the man begin rifling through the bag. It feels wrong and dangerous, searching through a strangers’ belongings. At last we find a little piece of paper with some contact information on it. This is it! Then what I’ve been fearing happens. The owner of the bike approaches and looks down on us in confusion. I stand up and being a spirited explanation of why we are going through his things. “My bicycle was stolen from this very spot! Since I was only inside for five minutes, you must have arrived around the time he was leaving with my bike.” To my relief he seems understanding of my plight. He leads me to a table with three women and informs me that the woman sitting in the middle might know something. I explain to her what has happened and quickly realize she is either deaf or mute. I find that in telling her my story, my own voice seems to fail and I must make great effort to keep the words coming. They end up coming out in a near whisper. Has she heard me? She responds in a very soft voice and I must ask her to speak up. She attempts to tell me something again but I still cannot hear her. I wonder why her friends do not intercede for her. Before she makes another attempt I reach into my pocket and pull out my journal and a pen alongside a double-sized duplicate of the same pen. Ready to take notes, I find that I can now hear her. She says that the man’s name who ran off with my bike is named Craig. She tells me that he ran off in the direction of the library. I ask her to clarify which direction and I find that he has exited north.
This is incredible news! A moment ago I thought that I might never see my bicycle again and here I am getting concrete information about how I might be able to locate it again. Curiously, I begin to wonder if this is how great friendships are made. It seems possible that I will become friends with this Craig. I begin making plans to make a visit to the library in the hopes of finding Craig when Craig appears! He is wearing a long black trench coat, has black hair and an overall unkempt appearance. Angrily, I launch into Craig, “You stole my bicycle and now you have to give it back!” “I didn’t take your bike,” Craig responds. “You liar! Fine! If you’re not going to give it back then I’m going to take you to court!” This empty threat seems to get to him. He appears intimidated and a little scared. “I’m not going to give it to you,” he finally responds. Teeming with fury, I make to leave and shout at the top of my lungs over my shoulder, “FINE! Then I will see you in court!” Craig seems to soften some more and I confront him. He asked me, “isn’t there something you regret?” I think for a second and say, “Well, I regret not locking my bicycle. And I also regret yelling at you and hurting your feelings.” I feel genuine remorse for these things. It seems mocking Craig led to his decision to promptly steal my bicycle and for him to get me to apologize for what I did. Craig comes closer and puts his hands on my waste and my arm as if he is about to embrace me. When I realize that he is leaning in for a kiss I gently but very firmly push him away. I am greatly embarrassed with the dozens of onlookers in the room. “No, no no. I am not like that.” I feel complicit in the confusion and sorry that he mistook my expressions of regret as a come-on. “Many people have made that mistake, though, since I am sensitive and artistic,” I say in an attempt to assuage his feelings. During all this, Craig seems to be growing fatter and fatter and becoming more grotesque. Everyone stands around and does not intervene. I do not know where to go from here. The fights been taken out of me and I feel remorse for my aggressiveness toward Craig.