Volume 3, Number 5
The Green Book
The man was clearly nervous, thought Megan as she observed him from
across the sparsely-occupied Lightrail car. From the moment he bustled
into the car and took a seat in the corner, she sensed a tension about
him. His eyes were fixed straight ahead for the most part, darting
occasionally toward the door, down at his watch, around at his fellow
passengers, etc. He held his attache case tightly in his lap with both
hands, his feet planted squarely on the floor beneath him. At one point
he seemed to notice Megan watching him and seemed almost to lose some
color from his already pale cheeks, though Megan could have easily have
been imagining it.
It wasn't that she was being nosy, or maybe it was, though she had a
ready rationalization for it. You see, Megan fancied herself an
aspiring novelist and, though she had never actually written an entire
book, was currently hard at work "fleshing out" an idea for one of her
"works in project", which now numbered close to two dozen. Thus, she
felt it important to her work that she take every opportunity to observe
other people and learn from them, the better to help her grow as a
writer. Also, it helped to pass the 45 minutes she had to spend each
morning (and again each evening) riding Lightrail to and from her job in
Her method was always the same. First she would watch her "subject"
for a few moments and mentally catalog his movements, facial
expressions, body postures, etc. Then she would try to envision
personal details about the person. Is the subject married or single?
What sort of work do they do? Are they late for an appointment? Do
they like puppies? Things of that nature. Next, she would "typecast"
them. Was this the Hero or the Villain? The Sidekick or the Love
Interest? Might this be a Cop? A Hit Man? A Store Clerk? Finally,
once she had fully defined her subject, she rewarded them by creating a
story for them. Most of the time the stories she envisioned faded into
oblivion within moments of reaching her stop, but every now and then one
of them would stick with her and, upon arriving home later that evening,
be added to the ever-growing list of "works in progress".
Her current subject seemed a good candidate for the list. He was an
attractive enough man, though not so much so that he would create a
diversion. He looked to be in his mid- to late-thirties, with just a
hint of gray creeping forth from his temples, adding a comforting warmth
to his otherwise coal-black hair. His frame was not overly impressive,
though he seemed to be reasonably fit, as his tastefully-tailored suit
successfully failed to disguise. At one point Megan found herself
skipping ahead to the story-telling phase of her exercise, particularly
one of the many passionate love-making...oh, let's be honest, one of the
many steamy sex scenes. She corrected herself, though, and returned to
The man's face, she decided to name him "Colton", was distinguishing
only in that it was unremarkable. Brown eyes, modest nose, no dimples,
no mustache. He did have somewhat of a strong jaw line, though, and
Megan noted with growing interest that that jaw line was clenched rather
tightly. Further, while his brow wasn't exactly furrowed, the skin was
stretched rather tightly for comfort. Megan began to guess that
"Colton" was perhaps in some sort of trouble at work, though that
wouldn't exactly explain his apparent increased alarm at every stop.
Nor would it explain his now-obvious panic at being observed by Megan.
He's having an affair, thought Megan. The weasel snuck down here for a
quickie last night and fell asleep. Now he has to get back to the
office without anyone he knows seeing him before ol' wifey calls so he
can claim he worked all night and slept in the lounge. Pig. And to
think she was just getting ready to cast him as the good guy.
Out of habit, she glanced down at his left hand to look for the ring.
Nope, must have taken it off. Not the first time either, as he seemed
to lack the tell-tale indentation mark on the ring finger. She couldn't
help noticing as the train pulled up to her stop that the man's
knuckle's were sheer white on the attache case handle. She began to
wonder what importance the attache case might have to the man as the
doors slid open and people around her began to shuffle around. She took
one last glance at "Colton's" face before rising, only to notice with
alarm that the look on his face had changed from nervous tension to
sheer panic. Several loud "CRACK"'s exploded through the car, hurting
Megan's ears as "Colton" jerked hideously and blood fountained out of
his chest. In an instant the entire scene had degenerated into total
bedlam as panicked passengers stampeded, screaming, toward the exits.
Megan found herself slammed to the metal floor of the train, the wind
knocked from her lungs, her head banging painfully against a chair
support. Just before blacking out, she saw a gloved hand extend
downward from a dark sleeve and snatch up the attache case.
"Funny," she thought, "such hairy forearms."