At the Bus Stop

 I met a strange man today.
We sat together on a bus-stop bench, late one afternoon.
He was dressed in a crisp black suit,
a pocket watch in hand,
with eyes as dark as his hair
contrasting his pale flesh.
I couldn't determine his age,
for though he had no wrinkles
and his skin was flawless,
there was something ancient about him--
timeless.
He sat constantly checking his watch,
but he never looked at me.
Something about him interested me,
and I gathered the courage to speak to him.

"So," I started.
"What's your name?"
He finally turned and looked at me
with a face devoid of emotion.
"I go by many names."
His eyes turned back down to his watch.
I told him my name.
He didn't look up, just nodded.
Then I, taking note of his preoccupation with the time,
asked another question.
"Are you waiting for someone?
Because the bus doesn't come for at least another twenty minutes.
Still looking down, he responded,
"Someone is waiting for me."
"Oh, a friend?" I inquired.
"Some see me as a friend, but most see me as more of an adversary."
I laughed.
"What are you? With the IRS?"
He turned to me.
"Yes, taxes. The wages of sin."
While I sat puzzled at this last statement.
I think I caught a shadow of a smile on his otherwise stern face.

To ease the awkward silence that followed
I took out a crossword
and began to work.
My curious companion continued to inspect his timepiece.
That was how our time was spent
waiting long for the bus to arrive.

Darker it grew, and he rose from his seat.
"Evening is coming, and it is time for me to go."
"Ah, alright." I looked up at him. "But I never did get your name, one at least."
"That crossword in your hands--you have my name already.
Have a look at five down."

I checked it as he walked away.
"He comes at the end of life."
"D-E-A-T-H."

"Hm," said I. "He's not as scary as he seems."    

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