The setting: A suburban bus stop. It’s an arctic morning, the sun palely shining through the columns of exhaust rising from the cars waiting at the stop sign. In the background, cars come and go from the dry cleaner. A crossing guard helps children cross the busy intersection.
Our protagonist, a mild-mannered, friendly, and follicly challenged journalist - whom we’ll call “Mitch” - waits at the bus stop, periodically tucking his head into the collar of his jacket, figuring thart breathing lint will somehow be more enjoyable than breathing the air at +6F.
A few seconds pass, and an older woman approaches. Our hero hadn’t noticed her as she walked up Milwaukee Avenue, but suddenly, there she is. She’s a little disheveled, but smiles innocuously. After a closer examination, though, our protagonist notices some unusual details: She’s wearing sweatpants. They’re in good condition, but they’re sweatpants nevertheless. She carries a backpack. But it’s a kids’ backpack, and reads “Pixie Power”. At the bottom of the backpack, a sticker is affixed, reading, "When Christ Was Born".
He smiles back at her, and the following dialogue transpires:
WOMAN WITH BACKPACK: (smiling) I’m going to leave this book here.
The woman smiles and sets down a paperback book on the seat in the bus shelter. A bus pulls up with an electronic sign reading “Pius XI High School”. The woman gets on the bus and disappears.
Our protagonist walks to the other end of the bus shelter and examines the book: