Eastbound King car, 11 am

Three boys were hanging out at the back of the streetcar. I sat down beside one of them, the smallest one. He looked like he weighed about 70 pounds -- the size of a seven-year old. But he could have been ten. His friends were in their teens, three times his size; they made crank calls on their cellphones (handsfree so everyone can hear), talked about "fucking that girl" and threatened to "beat the shit" out of the little one.
The little boy with the little face didn't react. Slumped listlessly into his seat, big brown eyes with even bigger dark circles underneath them. His buddies cackled away, he just sat there.
It pained me to see the child devoid of energy. But who was I to do anything about it? Just some nosey lady on the streetcar.
"Are you OK?"
He nodded.
He nodded again. Of course he would. I'm a total stranger. Why would he tell me anything? For all I know, he could have been perfectly fine. The bigger teen saw me talking to the little one and got up to stand over him, glaring. The child didn't say a thing, just closed his eyes. The teen went back to his seat.

I took one last look at the boy before I got off, tempted to slip him my business card. His eyes were still closed. What could I have done?


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