Chapter 1

Keys jangled, quick footsteps thumped down a long stairway and a heavy front door gave way as David Nunley dashed out of his apartment building.

As he aimed himself toward Mission Street, two blocks away, he caught sight of his Muni bus already leaving the stop. He sighed, slowed down, and allowed himself to take in the neighborhood. After an evening rainstorm the air was pungent and crisp, and pastel-hued stucco homes along the way looked fresh and washed in the early morning sunlight. He passed two greasy men trying to jump-start a pickup. Further along, a man throwing the morning’s newspapers out of a car narrowly missed him.

Out of the cool air materialized a young, well-dressed Hispanic woman coming up from a side street just ahead. She gave David a quick glance and he returned it before falling in behind her. She was wearing black high heels and the sound of them scratching the sidewalk and echoing from nearby buildings drew his complete attention.

David knew his nearness bothered her. He could pass her if he wanted, but he slowed so he could dwell on her shoes. At that moment he deliciously remembered he was wearing panties–and he remembered their slick, shiny material.

He pretended to read a newspaper after they arrived at the bus stop. When the next Muni arrived, he let her get on first and noted where she sat down. As he passed by in the isle he was rewarded with a glance down her bodice. The beginnings of two perfect breasts resided there, nestled in a lacy black bra.

Does she know I looked?

Standing in the rear of the bus, he felt the touch of panties against his skin. Who would guess that beneath his plain clothing was such exoticness?

Soon he began looking out the bus’s fogged and scratched windows. The motley signs of Mission Street were sliding by–Orozco’s Market . . . Dos Amigos Bar . . . the Coronado Theater . . . Rosalie’s Wig Shop . . .

Standing there in his wrinkled, long coat, holding the overhead bar, David Nunley looked like a college student. His long, unmanaged hair framed a bemused yet honest face, a cross between young Abraham Lincoln and a Mediterranean-ish male model in Vogue or Bazaar. When women looked at him, as they often did, he quickly averted his glance.

He was fidgety as he stood, absorbing the lips, earrings, painted fingernails, nylons and dresses around him.

A woman about 10 years older who might have been a secretary or retail clerk was standing next to him. From time to time their bodies touched as the bus lurched down Mission Street. David could have pulled away but didn’t, nor did the woman. On this plane of consciousness, he rode the rest of the way downtown.