but what if class starts in 20 minutes and the bus is running late and the stranger is white, in his late twenties or early thirties, slender build, average height (maybe a little on the short side—it’s hard to tell from my impatient perch on the your-ad-here bench). and he’s dressed in a fine green single-breasted suit and has nice hair and a neatly-trimmed goatee. and he’s wearing expensive sunglasses, somewhat superfluous since clouds are obscuring the descending sun, and he definitely won’t need them by the time he reaches his destination, which, he says, is beverly hills.

and i’ll bet he smells good, too, designer cologne enveloping the leather interior of his shiny new european SUV. i imagine the scent of dolce & gabbana or jean paul gaultier or some fragrance so sophisticated i haven’t even heard of it choking me in the passenger seat as he bites my neck, one hand tangled in my hair, the other yanking at my pants, even though his knee, pressed between my thighs, is making it difficult for him to pull them off. in some remote and vacant parking lot, power locks prevent me from escaping what has become a cell on wheels, and my screams are muffled by german engineering. and as he fumbles his way inside, he groans and hisses against my ear, “you know, you should never take rides from strangers.”

class starts in 7 minutes and the bus has just now come and as i board, i’m still staring east down santa monica, wondering if i would have made it, on time.