Pseudopod 136: The Eyes of the Crowd

By Bruce Boston

Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick

As rain began to speckle the partitioned windows of the station, an ancient engine groaned into view. Villers soon found himself squeezed into a dingy and narrow car of questionable vintage. Making his way to a window seat, he noted his fellow travelers were exclusively of the lower classes. Peasant women, shapelessly hunched within their shawls. Dark men who drank from bottles concealed in their coats and ate pieces of bread right from the loaf, breaking off the chunks with large, uneven teeth. Scampering children who seemed to belong to no one, or at least recognized no one’s authority.

In his suit and vest, Villers was uncomfortably aware of his relative affluence. He checked his watch chain to make sure it was securely fastened, shifted his billfold so that it was lodged deeply within his breast pocket. As Sophie had once warned him amidst the rumpled sheets of their conjugal bed, “Some people will steal the gold out of your teeth if you give them half a chance!”