Fate, Nicola and Other Portland

Yes, this is indeed the correct bus stop. The one on the corner of Shelton Way and NW 223rd. I’ve only taken the bus once in my eight hundred and ninety eight year life, but it was forty five years ago, and the fare has definitely gone up since then.  Do i still have to use change?  Probably not. Usually i have my choice of transportation method, but today, i want to bump into a particular passenger. I know she’ll be on this bus. How do i know?  Because it’s fate, and it’s my job to know fate. In fact, i am Fate. I’m one of the Fates, that is. We’re three sisters. I’m Isabelle, the middle sister, my elder sister is Lena, my younger sister, Stephanie.  People everywhere believe all three of us are missing or lost, but really, we can be anywhere we want anytime we want. Today, i need to be, or rather, want to be, in Portland, OR.  You see, i’m still doing my job, though i’m doing it undercover for awhile. I and my sisters live in a penthouse on the other side of the city.  I won’t go there today though. Right after i complete this mission, i’ll go to Other Portland to relax for a few days. I’ve sent a few other people there recently, and i need to see how things are going.  Fate doesn’t always run smoothly, as hard as my sisters and i try.

Here comes the bus. Number 37. Final stop for the day, 428 SE Centersex Townhouse complex, Other Portland, 1974. I know my mark doesn’t have the right clothes, but she’ll be fine. I know she loves to shop. Other Portland is a friendly, welcoming place. One of the best things about it is that Trump isn’t President. I know, i know. My sisters and i got that terribly wrong. Like i said, fate doesn’t always run smoothly. The best made plans and all.

I board the bus, drop in my fare and head for the outside seat across the aisle from Nicola Savoy. She’ll be perfect for the job i’ve chosen for her, and she’ll forget all about her current boyfriend in no time.

I slide into my seat. There are only four of us on the bus. Nicola, myself, and a young couple three seats ahead of me sitting side by side and holding hands. How sweet. I know their infatuation won’t last long. I hope they’re enjoying the throes of first passion. I adjust my crown of white lilacs and red tulips, take my compact out of my purse and check my lipstick. I look fabulous. Nicola looks up from her book.. i notice she’s reading Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.. good.. she enjoys epic fantasy.. and smiles at me. It’s an indulgent smile. She thinks i’m the crazy bus lady. I can tell. It must be my crown.  That’s just as well.  She has no idea who i am, and that’s great considering how many times i’ve turned up in the tabloids. People are extraordinarily interested in who i date and who they think i’m sleeping with. They’re almost always wrong.

Nicola goes back to her reading, and i wait five minutes before tapping her on her shoulder. She looks up at me, and i reach into my purse and pull out a ring. It’s tiny, and will fit on her pinky when she decides to try it on. It’s a half carat green sapphire set in gold, and it hangs on a gold chain. It looks cheap, but it’s not. The ring is disguised just as i am.

I say, you look like a nice girl. I want to give you this. It’s not much, but it will bring you good luck.

She hesitates for a few seconds. She looks from the ring into my eyes. She takes it and looks it over. I know what she’s thinking. There’s no harm in accepting this from her. I smile to myself. She has no idea what that little ring can do.  Nicola looks into my eyes and says thank you. It’s lovely.

I’m satisfied. She has no idea of this sense of satisfaction. How wonderful it is when Fate goes as planned. I sigh and pull the cord for the next stop. It’s 265th and NE Oliver, number 8845. This is my entrance to Other Portland.  It’s different than the one for humans. Nicola has two dozen more stops between this and hers. I wish her well, but then, i’ll see her soon. I watch the bus disappear to the right and reach in my purse for my own passport. This time, it’s a red velvet ribbon that i tie loosely in a bow around my neck. I remove my floral crown and hang on the fire hydrant right in front of the entrance.  I walk into The Purple Jaguar Bar, and into Other Portland, 1974. I need a drink. I have work to do!

M. Raynes

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