The dead man was waiting for the bus again.
In one hand he had a briefcase, the other fiddled constantly with a pocket watch. His suit was out of place and out of date by seventy years. The hat he wore was fashionable again, in a retro way, but he'd gotten it when the style had originally been popular.
The waitress watched him from the diner's front window while she cleared the tables. It was the slow hour between breakfast and lunch in a small town where nobody had time for brunch.
The man checked his watch again. Defeated, he leaned against a wall and opened his briefcase. He shuffled the papers, checking they were all there.
Shasta checked her cellphone. 10:15.
Any second. . .
Just then, the 48 bus turned the corner. The man's face lit up; Shasta could see his grin from across the street. While the others waiting moved towards the bus, the man struggled to put the papers away. One flew away. He jumped after it, but it slipped out of reach, carried by the wind. He ran after it and into the street.
The bus didn't stop. She saw him hit the road, crumpled, bloody, and broken.
Nobody cared. People piled into the bus. People getting off walked past the man's body without looking. Cars drove by.
She sighed softly. She'd been hoping he would catch it this time.
"You okay?" said Tom, another waiter, sounding concerned. "You see something?"
"No," she said, taking the dishes and moving to the next table. "Sorry."
Soon customers began to trickle in then. Shasta seated and served and lost track of time. When she looked out the window later, the man was gone. There was no sign he'd ever been there.
Maybe tomorrow, she thought.