On the bus this white guy with dreadlocks starts talking to me. He says he likes my style; he likes how I’m dressed. We sit in the back and to my left there’s this guy with a beard who’s nearly passed out. The guy with dreadlocks tells me he’s a famous rapper. He shows me his phone and plays on Youtube one of his own music videos. He tells me stories about dropping acid with his fans. The guy with the beard sits up and says he wishes he had some acid right now. The famous rapper reaches into his bag and passes him a dose. I don’t know either of these guys. The guy with the beard lived in my hometown at one point. He left after lighting his house on fire. He tells me where his house was and I know the area well. I’ve walked past there many times when I was younger. Now he sleeps in a tent behind a Walmart in Vermont. I show them my books and read an excerpt. They’re intrigued. I give them each a book of their own. This is back when I used to carry a large amount of books in my bag to sell to people, even though most of those books were given out for free. The three of us share stories. The guy with the beard gets nervous. Drops his head in his hands. Maybe dropping acid wasn’t such a great idea, he says. Maybe I shouldn’t have. I really want heroin, he tells us. He’s dopesick and now he’s gonna have a bad trip. The rapper tells him to take deep breaths.
When the bus reaches Burlington we all get off. The guy with the beard goes off somewhere and me and the rapper stay put at the Burlington airport. Some guy comes up to us and asks to bum a cigarette from me. He wears a striped shirt and a scarf around his neck. He came in from Canada, he tells us. He asks if either of us have heard of the Punk rock band Strike Anywhere. I say I have, the rapper says he hasn’t. He tells us he’s their guitarist.
After we go our separate ways I play a live video of Strike Anywhere on Youtube but I don’t see the man I met at the Burlington airport in the video. I wonder if he was an original member but got replaced.