The morning was dark. There was no moon. It seems to bring out the strange.
Mouse Town was particularly eerie. Recall that Mouse Town (my personal term of endearment) consists of several acres of undeveloped land that sits in limbo ever since the a booming community of Preble Mice was discovered. Mouse Town is along one of my favorite running routes and I enjoy the break from civilization. On these dark mornings, it's almost otherworldy. No lights, no concrete, no human evidence other than the trampled trails.
I have seen and heard coyotes in Mouse Town. I had an interesting encounter with a crazed deer in Mouse Town. I have yet to meet any of the rodentia.
This morning I emerged from the darkness and feralness of Mouse Town and was thinking that the remainder of the run would be relatively tame. I passed by a high school kid walking to school. He carried a lit-up iPod and was making noises at it (singing?). A little further on, I stopped to wait at a crosswalk and the kid joined me. He was about six feet tall and gangly, wearing a backpack over a black leather jacket, jeans, army jungle boots, and a hickish mesh cap.
Our light turned and I resumed my run across the 6-lane road and soon both heard and felt the jungle boots slapping against the pavement. The kid was also running now. He was racing me. How fun! At least I hoped he was racing me as opposed to being about to pounce on me and beat me to a pulp just because I'd heard him singing.
But then, I reasoned, if he was going to pounce and beat me to a pulp, he wouldn't do it in the well-lit intersection of a 6-lane commuter road. No, he must be racing since, additionally, I was carrying nothing of value for him to mug me for. Well, I was wearing the awesome tights, but I don't think they're his size.
He surged ahead just as we made it to the curb and continued running full out. He continued for about a half a block, then slowed to a shuffle. At that point, I reminded myself that not everybody walking with a backpack early in the morning is necessarily a high school kid. It was still a bit early for school, but I often encounter kids who have morning clubs and such. This kid looked more like he had a smoking circle to attend, but who knows.
He moved to the side to allow me to pass and turned towards me. I smiled and thanked him for the race as I went by. He was panting heavily and giving me a look that said, "Why would you want to keep running?!"
At that, I decided I liked him.