Stay in your chair.

I had papers to grade. So many papers. Stacks. Work. I taught writing courses as an adjunct at the University of New Mexico. A few miles away, practice had just started for the 2005 NCAA West Regionals, the Sweet 16.

He doesn’t matter.

I crammed the essays into my bag and darted out of the coffee shop. Fuck. Jumping on my mountain bike, I sped down the cracked sidewalk of Central Avenue, crossed south across Stanford, and turned right down Lead — the essays jamming into both kidneys.

Shit, shit, shit.

Blowing through a stop sign, I turned onto Yale, past Family Dollar, past the prostitutes in sweatpants, and onto Caesar Chavez. White-knuckling the handlebars, I rode into a headwind that spun into a crosswind, scattering 7-Eleven plastic bags and tumbleweed.