Updated: Aug 26, 2021
He had repeated this routine dozens of times, and in various forms, with different men. Not always at the same time or place, and sometimes between other tasks or while running errands. Sometimes, the trip started in San Jose, or Berkeley, or even San Mateo or Richmond. Sometimes it was by car, or Uber, or bike. He’d follow them from a safe distance, getting a sense of their routines, seeing how they went about their journeys, how well they stuck with a schedule, what distractions or side trips interfered with their daily lives. He’d follow behind, establishing the paths the man took, verifying the ins and outs of the man’s commute, noting the man’s stops. He’d round corners with the man, wait at stoplights, go into buildings with the man, stop for a bite, sit on a bench or on plaza steps near the man, waiting behind the glass of a coffee shop window, waiting and watching casually through a partition as the man got a haircut, spend hours sitting in a common area of the building where the man worked, as the clock ticked closer to the end of the workday. Sometimes he’d even sit briefly in a chair in the lobby of the man’s work place, dressed as a client. He’d wait, ghostlike, feeling invisible, and observe.