City of Rumors (Part Four)

The bus ride was slow and barely stopped to pick up anybody. The roads were practically traffic-free and the stoplights seemed to constantly be green. I didn’t mind the slow ride into the city though. I wasn’t late for anything or anxious to be somewhere. I just felt like taking a ride away from the neighborhood for a little while.

I sat in the front seats of the bus, able to look straight down the highway, watching the yellow and white lines on the road buzz right by. A few cars sped past us in both directions, rushing to god-knows where. Occasionally I would change my attention to a different window to get a different look of the road, but it was just about the same no matter which window I looked out of.

A few minutes more into the ride I heard the blaring sound of police sirens coming from the other side of the highway, heading for the neighborhood. Their red and blue flashing lights were bright even during the early afternoon. They flew down the road, only staying in my line of sight for only a second or two before vanishing past the bus.

“So it’s true? That strange man really died?”

I overheard the bus driver having some kind of conversation. I leaned forward and saw that he was wearing a small earpiece. Considering he was having a full conversation somebody while he was driving a public bus, I could have easily gotten him fired for putting my safety at risk. However, wanting to know what exactly he was talking about, I grew interested in trying to hear more about it.

I’ll save the earpiece thing for a rumor later down the road.

I inched to the front seat closest to the bus driver and kept my eyes focused on road ahead, carefully listening in on whatever he was saying.

His voice was rather excited for hearing about the death of somebody. “Oh wow. Do you know how they found his body?… A suicide? There wasn’t any other clues around the house, like maybe it was some kind of break-in or robbery?… Wow, no shit. What a small world. You’d think that since we live in such a small city, somebody would have saw or heard something last night. Any witnesses?”

I stopped listening in on the man’s conversation with whoever was on the other end of the line. I heard everything that I needed to. From the way the man was talking, it seemed like many of the most important details were not completely figured out yet. And, if the meeting from a few nights ago were a clear indication of anything, then those details will remain foggy at best. My mind started formulating the different kind of theories and ideas people would have once word of the man’s death reached the full public. Many despised the man, hated him with every fiber of their being. Others feared him for how aggressive he was for nothing more than simply bumping into him, even after saying sorry when he was the one who threw his shoulder out intentionally to hit them.

A lovers’ quarrel, raging alcoholism and substance abuse, or even possibly losing visitation rights from his children, I thought, the list of possible rumors are mounting in my head. I couldn’t wait to hear about which one would be most popular with everybody.

As I ran a mental poll about the results of each rumor, I ended up daydreaming long enough that I reached the last top on the bus. The driver had got out of his seat and tapped me on my shoulder, informing that the bus would be returning back to the neighborhood in roughly fifteen minutes. I snapped back to reality and waved my hand, quickly getting off the bus. The final stop left me right in the center of the city, nothing but tall glass buildings and shops for a long walk in any direction. The bus stop was right in front of a small park, one I always frequented when I wanted to pass the time. With nothing or nowhere specific in mind I went into the park and sat on a bench, continuing to think about the rumors.

As I started making new possibilities in my head, I heard the usual chatter of old women talking to one another.

“Did you hear about murder of that new man that moved into the neighborhood? Apparently, he was murdered by his ex-wife, who he still had on his life insurance plan for a payout of almost half of a million dollars.”

I stared at the old women, shocked by how they heard about the death of the man so quickly. I knew it was only a rumor, but goddamn these old women had nothing better to do than gossip. And wish such a wild imagination, too.

I kept that one in the back in my head, just in case for when the police investigations reached the public.

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Copyright © 2020 by Luka Tatsujo

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