He scratched at his beard to cook an answer, brushed the books out of his lap letting them fall harum scarum into the portmanteau by his side, to buy a little more time.
“I,” he said, “am staring at someone who is starting at me.” “What is that supposed to mean?” Going defensive, the woman, puffing out her chest, chomping down hard on the underbite, brandishing weapons of inhuman strength and endurance buried under lovely fleshy puddings of fat arms—bracing for combat; achieved.
“Well, I say,” he did, “that you were staring at me first.” “Well why are you looking at me NOW?” “What do you mean NOW?” “I mean, even if I initiated the looking, you could have just looked away.” “But I SUSPECTED you'd still be staring.” “So what—you wouldn't see it!”
“I wouldn't see it but that doesn't bother me much on its own, a human face pointed in my direction, perceiving, a face, like any other, and looking at... it doesn't really me... it is... the knowledge, I believe, that I've apprehended, as to your motivation IN staring at me, that bothers me—though I don't even know THAT. Your face is not the problem—the problem is—I know that you're staring at me. The 'why?' I fear. Fear it so deeply, dearly and awfully that I cannot as much as toy with the notion that I can be hypercriticized,—that, owing to the unique chemical architecture of the brains of certain humans I may encounter, on buses, in trains, virtually anywhere—that owning to the uniquely sophisticated talents for inference ratiocinative—that for this reason, certain creepy women and creepy children can see, can decipher from cryptic gestures and hear, in paralingustic cues of mine—can see what others cannot—what EYE cannot—what EYE fear—utterly, abjectly; though I know not what you might possibly see.
This is my stop. I'm going to ride this bus every day. I'm going to go to work. I'm going to work here for five years, or for the rest of my life life... and maybe even both.”
The Little Killers, here partially excerpted, is a chapter in the third section of , a novel forthcoming, by Zak Block