The kid plonks himself down on the seat next to me and announces, “I’m going to be a ninja.” He does a seated kick for emphasis and, in the process, boots his bag across the floor of the bus, scattering its contents. His mother crawls around, picking up runaway crayons.

“A ninja, huh?” I say, “don’t you need a mask for that? Or those special shoes with the funny toes?”

“Nah,” he exclaims.

“What about black pajamas, do you have those?” and he shakes his head.

“Ninja stars?”


“Sounds like you have a lot of training to do,” I say. My pocket vibrates, and as I reach down to answer my phone, he stabs me in the side with a nail file. Enter the ninja.

He and his mother spend the rest of the bus ride deciding her superpowers. She is grudgingly pidgeonholed into accepting a primary power of sticky and a secondary power of super-ultra sticky. Her demands for some balance of powers, “perhaps, fire? maybe, invisibility?” go unheard. Glue guns it is.

As I haul my bag off the bus, I turn back for a second to watch him practicing jump kicks on the bus driver. The kid is going to go far.