Most of these people were standard looking, middle aged men. They were holding brochures and souvenirs from the booths. They were nerdy guys, all very nice, loudly discussing the goings on of the day.
As the bus pulled up to the University Street tunnel stop, I spotted a young man. He was wearing a trench coat and carrying a medium sized box. He had a weird look about him, but whatever. As he approached the bus to board it, I noticed he had something on his eye. I wasn't wearing my glasses, so at first I thought he'd donned Ace Frehley face makeup.
I thought he was part of the Kiss Army. That would have been so damned rad.
I had Ace Frehley's solo album when I was a kid. I was so proud of it, I tried to take it around with my portable record player so the old ladies in my neighborhood could hear it. They were all devout Southern Baptists in Tennessee and did not take kindly to my Devil Music. I still know every word to "New York Groove."
The closer he got, the more I realized it wasn't Kiss makeup. It was the letter "M" on just one eye. A far cry from any members of Kiss. I was pleased when he chose to sit right in front of me with his box of comics and souvenirs. I was even more pleased that I took the picture below without being noticed. Stealthy.
It's a "M." As in "Metro!"
The more I looked at him, the more he reminded me of one of the lesser known guys in Depeche Mode.
Anyway, everyone on the bus was looking at him or making great efforts to not look at him. You could see he was self conscious, so he was trying to look tough. He put in earbuds and started bouncing his head and mouthing the angry words to some white rap/metal group. He was doing his best to look bad ass, which is difficult when you are a grown man with a box of comic books.
Just once, I would like to sleep on the 150. I just can't. I'm so tired when I get on it, but there's always some crazy shit going on. Or I'm afraid I'll get shanked in my sleep. Or it smells so bad I can't sleep. Today it smelled like some chemical cleaner. Maybe acetone. Someone was probably huffing on the way into town.
The highlight of the commute -- aside from simply being in M's presence -- was an old grandma-type black lady who called him out on it. She was sitting diagonally away from him, and she was chit chatting with everyone around her. She motioned toward him to get his attention.
Lady: "So, what is that on your eye? I can't figure it out."
M: "It's an M." [looks at his feet]
Lady: "Oh! An M! I get it. What's that for?"
M: [mumbles] "I went to a convention."
Lady: "Well it is cute. So cuuuute!"
M: [feeble smile]
Lady: "Is it paint?"
M: "Nah, it's a grease pencil. It comes right off."
Lady: "Honey, you know Pike Place Market? I work there on the weekends. You should come down sometime and wear your M. The people in the Market would love it!"
M: [stares at the floor, painfully grins]
Lady: [chuckles] "It's just so cute."
There's nothing quite like grandma singling you out like that when you're trying to be a hardass on Metro.
Kiss just isn't the same without their makeup. All Hell would seriously break loose if they had grease pencil letters over their eyes. Check out the dude with the Japanese rising sun shirt. He is totally coked out. Gene Simmons (far right) is like, "Konichiwa! Pull it together for the record cover, Man. And Paul Stanley, you better return my mother's belt when the shoot's over."