Bus Stop | The Dreamweaver

I had stopped by the hair salon where I was working as The Night Barber in Chicago to pick up my barber case as I was was going to be working for the first time at my newest location on Chicago's south side near Midway Airport.

While I was at the salon and getting ready to leave as my appointment was at one p.m., I got to talking to the stylist who told me her rate for a men's haircut was 55 dollars. I was very surprised and told her that was 20 dollars more than I charge.

I waited until she was finished with her customer and as I was leaving I asked her if she felt her men's haircuts were as good as her women's haircuts and she answered they were.

Noticing it was getting late, I went to the bus stop thinking I needed to first get downtown where I could find a connection to Midway.

Having not lived in Chicago for more than 25 years, I felt a bit disoriented and wasn't able to find the bus stop.

After wandering around, I finally got on a bus figuring it would take me somewhere I'd be able to transfer to a south side bus.

At the end of the line, I found myself on the south side of downtown. Noticing it was already after one p.m., I knew I had to try and reach my customer to apologize for not showing up on time for our appointment but for some reason I couldn't get my booking app to work to find the customer's phone number.

I then found myself walking aimlessly through a neighborhood and felt very unsafe.

I finally saw a bus pull out of a depot, so I climbed a flight of stairs to see if there was a timetable and routing information.

At the bottom of the stairs I noticed three young Black men dressed in fine suits, one them, the oldest looking and tallest of the three wore a black hat with a large brim.

Walking up the stairs, I noticed the three young men had followed me and just as I reached the top of the stairs and headed for the deserted bus stop, the young man with the hat came up from behind and put me in choke hold. I quickly broke his grasp and immediately lunged forward grabbing the smallest of the three men who was wearing a green suit. I managed to force the man onto his knees and was holding his arm firmly behind his own back.

I then said to the other men that if they didn't walk away, I would snap their friend's wrist.

They panicked and agreed to leave me alone so I released the young man in the green suit and they went on their way.

By then, I had already missed a number of busses and it was getting dark. I realized I might not make it to the shop in time to see any of my customers resulting in a loss of that day's wages.

While waiting for the bus, the bus stop became crowded with people who I assumed had just gotten off work.

While I was trying to get my booking app working, two men approached me and said they were software developers and asked if they could help me with my booking app as I appeared to be fidgeting with my phone and in need of assistance.

After a few minutes, one of the men said he needed his special tools to get into my phone and told me I could come over to his house which was nearby. I asked him why he was waiting for the bus and he told me he had merely walked his co-worker to the bus stop on his way home.

We got the man's house and as he was trying to repair my phone on his kitchen counter, I told him I was a barber who worked at night and had recently come back to Chicago where I was born and raised and hadn't been back in 25 years and that I was expanding my Night Barber business that I started in the Netherlands. I mentioned that today was supposed to be my first day and that I had already missed my first few customers because I got lost trying to get to the south side.

He felt bad that I was having a rough day and offered to drive me the rest of the way. He said I could go into the garage and remove all of my things from my grey Ortleib duffle bag and place them into the trunk of his car.

No sooner did I load the man's trunk when I saw him and his co-worker leaving the house and walking away. I shouted at them but they had already walked out of sight and shouting distance.

Just then, I noticed a bus that said Midway and left my things in the man's car, fumbled for the switch and closed the garage door as I ran out to try and run after the bus.

By the time I made it to the bus depot, the bus had pulled away.

I turned around and started to walk away and noticed the only way out was to walk down this massive stairway that seemed to be covered in a soft white powder that looked like snow despite being a warm summer evening and felt like sugar or salt beneath my feet.

As it was was almost impossible to walk down the stairs covered completely in these powder-fine granules, I removed my shoes and left them on the stairs.

Nearing the bottom of the stairway I noticed a young woman sitting reading a book and as I aprroached recognized her as my old friend Lauren, so I stopped to say hello and told her about my predicament.

After talking to Lauren for a few minutes, I made it to the bottom of the stairway and turned right and began walking down the street to look for another bus stop.

Just then, I realized that I was probably close enough to the hair salon to be able to afford calling a Uber, but when I reached inside the pocket of my hoodie, my phone, keys and wallet were not there and I remembered having put them into the man's trunk earlier.

I decided I would find the name of the street by walking to the corner to look for a street sign, then go back to where I had run into my friend Lauren and ask her to call a Uber for me.

Then I woke up.

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