Cat Outta the Bag

I'm not sure why, but I tend to be a magnet for all the imaginary friends nobody else wants. A case in point: Ed. He's not that nice. Just the other day, I ran into him on the Red Line. After a trip to the zoo, I had boarded the train at Woodley Park (which isn't anywhere near the zoo, no matter what Metro claims) and was surprised to find Ed sitting quietly in a front-facing seat.

"Watch this," he said. He didn't even bother greeting me as I plopped down beside him. A bookbag took up the seat opposite us. He turned to an older woman in the seat behind us. "Excuse me," he said quietly. "Is that your bag?"

She quickly shook her head, then her eyes got very big. Ed shrugged and turned back to face forward. The poor woman had trouble removing her eyes from the bag. What was at first an innocent parcel took on threatening overtones, and I had trouble not staring at it, too.

The woman sprinted from the train at the next stop. Ed sat quietly for a moment, then he turned to the guy sitting in the seat behind the bag. The man was reading a paperback. "Excuse me," said Ed. "Is that your bag?"

The man frowned and looked over the seatback. He carefully considered before answering: "No, as a matter of fact, it is not." Then he quickly stood and moved to the back of the car. Ed grinned at me. I looked with horror at the bag. It didn't move, but still.

Finally, Ed caught the attention of a teenager standing at the door as we cruised into Metro Center. "Dude," he said. "Is that your bag?"

The lad, startled, looked at the bag with concentration. His eyes flickered back and forth between it and Ed. Ed smirked. The doors opened at the station platform. Finally able to make a decision, the teenager grinned and said, "Yeah. That's mine." He grabbed it and left the train just before the doors closed.

Ed shook himself and jumped to the door, which had already closed. He pounded on the door, but the trained moved on. He leaned his head on the window.

"What's wrong, Ed?" I asked. "I'm glad that bag was gone, it was making me nervous."

Ed stood up straight, adjusted his shirt, and looked me in the eye.

He said, "It was my bag."

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