The Eastside Invisible Man
Prose by JP Lorence
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I’m sitting at the bus stop the other day, and there’s this homeless guy in filthy jeans and a torn raincoat standing on the curb. I hear him yelling, and I look up from my phone to see if it’s me he’s yelling at. No, and no one else that’s waiting for the bus. He’s facing the empty street and angrily addressing all the charges his accusers have leveled against him. One by one. In detail.
The two Chinese girls standing by the route sign ignore him and continue their private conversation in Cantonese. The old man sharing the bench with me checks his watch as if he didn’t already know the time as the vacant shell turns around towards us. Behind the wall they’ve erected between him and themselves, they’ve already drawn their conclusions.
But they’re wrong. This isn’t what they think at all. Me and the guy in the raincoat know the truth. That street wasn’t empty, and that conversation wasn’t as one sided as it looked. It was The Invisible Man he was yelling at.
I know, you’ve probably never heard of him. I’m certain you’ve never seen him. But rest assured, he’s there. And he’s all over the place.
When you see one of those guys on the street waving their hands in the air and talking at nothing, it’s him they’re talking to. When you park your car and come back to find the window smashed in, it was probably him. When you go to the washroom at your favorite coffee shop and come back to find your backpack missing, guess who stopped by? You got it.
Nobody knows for certain the origin of this nebulous character. Some say he was a feral child abandoned at birth from an SRO, and grew up in the sewers. His condition, the result of industrial pollution and a lack of sunlight. Others claim he was a result of a government experiment gone awry, aimed at creating a perfect espionage agent, who later escaped from the lab where he was created. In yet another version, a shop owner in Strathcona told me over tea she actually had met him, he’s very old, a product of Eastern magic, and had been left behind by a traveling circus sometime in the 1940s. But I find that last one unlikely.
But I’m on to his game. He’s not catching me off guard. I’ve rigged my room with tripwires that spill open buckets of paint by every window, and I never leave the house without my trusty squirt gun full of ink. I’ve lost too much to him already.
Sometimes, when I feel like he might be standing in the same room with me, I’ll hurl insults at him. I never know if he can hear, but I hope so.
So if you live on the Eastside, keep your doors locked and your windows bolted. You never know if he’s there. He might be standing behind you right now.
JP Lorence is a writer and performance poet living in Vancouver, BC. They write Scifi, Horror, and Tragedy and runs YouTube channel dedicated to Vancouver open stage performers. You can view the channel at youtube.com.
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