The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Business Man or Poor Man

Two Australian girls reacted with alarm that their protein bars hadn’t melted in the heat. Outside the Dubrovnik airport, waiting on a bus to the city center, the girls stared suspiciously at their snacks. Finally, they took simultaneous bites, giggling and fanning each other with their guidebooks.

A taxi driver sauntered over, then paced away, as though disgusted by tourists waiting on a shuttle when his air-conditioned minivan stood at the ready. Affronted by their behavior–uncivilized visitors sitting on their backpacks–he tsk-tsked behind his knockoff Dior sunglasses.

He watched one of the Australian girls tugging at her extremely short shorts and deigned to say hello. She instantly volunteered the existence of a significant other at home. He continued, “Your boyfriend. Is he a business man or a poor man?” As she hesitated, the other girl grinned: “He’s a poor man.” The boyfriended girl punched at her friend, who jumped out of the way as they both laughed about the economic prospects of an imaginary boy pining away in Sydney while his girlfriend went on vacation.

The taxi driver nodded at both of the girls then, approving, “Not like the girls here. No matter his face, they like a guy’s car.” The driver switched his focus to the other girl, the one then tugging at her shirt to create a breeze between the cloth and her skin. “You have a boyfriend too?”

She was an expert: “No boyfriend. I’m here to find one.” She even winked.

She didn’t collect his reaction because their bus driver appeared. The girls worked together to hoist bags the size and weight of more sturdy human beings onto their backs. The taxi driver called out a discount, one last chance. Taking her place as bad cop, the allegedly not-single girl declined. Her friend also took on a role, climbing hesitantly into the bus, gazing behind her, feeling one last wave was a kindness.

The taxi and bus drivers shook hands, conferred and smirked, already forgetting the girls. In less than an hour there would be yet another pair, another round of tourists. It carried on like this all summer. And it was too hot to be anything other than amused.

-Dubrovnik airport, Croatia


2 comments on “Business Man or Poor Man

  1. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    January 22, 2012

    I love the way you describe what’s going on in their minds, as if you are omniscient. That’s not an easy task. I’ve been wondering if you have a formula of sorts that you work with as you create these, or do the actions pretty much form the plot line? They seem so perfectly encapsulated, and I know that the concise stuff is so hard to write.

  2. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    January 22, 2012

    These days, concise seems to be the best I can do. Usually the stories have to stop when my notes do. Maybe I see the world as a series of short films so I cut away my interest where I might cut away a story? Thanks so much for the reading and the comments, Steve!

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This entry was posted on January 20, 2012 by in Europe, Mischief, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .

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