“OO-E! That sun is HOT!”

She looked up at the stranger from her book with her best annoyed face and said, simply, “Yes.” Interacting with random men while waiting for a bus she didn’t want to take was not what she was looking for out of her Friday afternoon. She shifted away from him on the bench in hopes that her body language would send the message home if her facial expression hadn’t done the trick. She made a point of lifting her book as well, just enough to show how involved she was in the story, as a final push.

“Where’d ya come from?”

With a sigh, she closed her book on her finger and looked up at him again, crossing both her arms and her legs. “Excuse me?”

He threw his arms up in front of him and made a show of backing up a step. “No offense meant, miss. No offense meant at all. I’ve never seen you before so you must be here from somewhere. Somewhere that ain’t here, I mean.”

She stared at him, trying to figure out the fastest way to get him to stop talking and leave her alone. His outfit pegged him as a local even more than his accent and incessant chatter.  All the men from here dressed the same. The linen slacks, the button-down shirt, the floppy hats, the suspenders. She’d gotten used to it after a while, though she was ready to see some variety again soon. It had been almost three weeks since she’d left home. Three weeks going from town to town, collecting data, interacting with the locals as little as possible. In the larger towns, she was able to stay in hotels. This place was too small for such amenities, so she was on her way to Ms. George’s home instead. It would be her last night here, thankfully. “I’m from Detroit.”

“De-Troit, huh? Well ain’t you far from home.”

She didn’t answer. She turned her back to him, pointedly opened her book, and hoped the conversation would stay done until the bus came. She had to get back to pack and prepare for the next town. The collection was getting closer to the point of being useful. She might only need data from two more stops before she could head back home. She could almost smell the city she loved, and see the clouds over the tall buildings – she just wanted to get back home. First, the damn bus needed to collect her and save her from this strange man.

“I think I’d like to see De-Troit someday. I’ve heard about it. It’s got tall buildings and all sorts of restaurants. I imagine you could go to a new place to eat every night and not hafta double up for a month! Maybe more! De-Troit…seems odd for you to come here, to our little town. Why’d you decide to leave there? Whatter ya doin’ here?”

She sighed deeply and responded without taking her eyes of her book. “Research.”


* All 500Words are fiction.  Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *

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