Here it is in its current mutation:
The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)
Its owner, a fat shifty-looking hillbilly, slouched uncomfortably under the weight of his Bulgarian army surplus wool coat and cap. I could tell he wasn't cut out for this weather. He jerked around, almost spastic, when he felt the box tap against his feet. He gulped and stared at me bug-eyed, one obscene rivulet of sweat running down his temple, down along his jaw, finally disappearing somewhere between his second chin and the fake fur collar of his coat.
Right away, and for no good reason, he pissed me off. (Bubs)
He would not stop staring at me. I could hear his wheezing breath. I could smell every stinking minute of his sputtering life. My muscles tensed.
We were a little isolated from the rest of the riders. I looked around. Apart from a couple greasy-looking hippies stealing glances in my direction, everyone was in their own dazed world. Another rivulet of sweat began the long journey down the hillbilly's fat face. He licked his lips.
Enough was enough. I shot my arm up and popped him right between the eyes, snapping his head back. He slumped forward. I felt my anger slowly recede. I reached over him, took the cap off his head and placed it on my own. It smelled like a slaughterhouse, but it would keep me warm.
In the corner of my eye, I noticed the hippies making their way over to me. The man, wearing a dirty poncho and sporting a handlebar mustache, sat down in my seat. I reflexively scooted over to not have him in my lap. The girl, a smallish brunette wearing heavy black eyeliner and a shapeless green coat, sat behind me.
"You see, Snow?" the man said. "I knew he was the one. Did you see that jab?"
"Whatever," Snow said.
"That was great, man. Snow thought the guy in front of you was the one."
He must have spotted confusion in my eyes. "We saw the box, but we didn't know if it was yours." The man smiled broadly. "I'm Rain. You're Leaf, right?"
I looked at him more closely. He was wearing a shoulder holster under his poncho. He had deep green eyes that were sharp and serious. The smile left his face as abruptly as it had appeared. "You better get the box ready." (Splotchy)
"First of all, my name's not Leaf, it's Jack--Jack Shit, and you don't know me. And unless you're some kind of quick draw artist don't think of reaching under that poncho, either."
Snow cast a quick glance down toward my right hand, which was now resting comfortably on the grip of the Glock 26 in my coat pocket. He looked back up at me with a split second of a smile crossing his face as he did. "Whatever, man." Rain drew back, a little put off by my outburst, and not sure what was going on between me and poncho man.
I looked over at hillbilly, who was still out but not cold; he was beginning to stir. The cap was beginning to itch on my scalp and I wondered if I'd be spending the evening soaking my head in Quell shampoo. It was warm, though, so I kept it on. The cap stayed in place nicely as I bent down, scooped up the box, and walked toward the rear exit. I turned back toward Snow and Rain as I stepped off.
"Finders keepers, right folks? I love a good story, so why don't you two let me buy you a cup of coffee and you can tell me all about my new treasure?"
The hippies looked at each other briefly, and then popped up and scurried out the door behind me without a word.
I can't think of anyone else to tag, and even I won't re-tag someone more than once. SO, anyone wants to keep this thread going, please do so.