Go for Bust

The wheels on the bus go round and round. No, not my bus!

I’m at the bus stop.

No I’m not. Well my mind is, but my body’s at my desk trying to write about a bus trip.

No ideas come to mind.

No buses arrive at this bus stop. It’s late. This challenge is late. The lady next door is late. The lady next door is waiting at the bus stop with me. She queues in line, but we all know she’ll walk to the front and get a seat if the bus ever comes. Pregnant ladies and the old and infirm get seats.

I’ll stand in the aisle, in the way of everyone getting on and off.

I’ve got a seat now; I’m still at my desk, sitting and thinking.

I hate time pressure. I hate buses.

I remember the school bus. Those always came late too, and the teachers told us off for not being punctual when we ran into class. We all wanted the back seats with the cool kids. Not upstairs on the double decker with the plebs who smoked. The teachers smelled the smoke on our clothes; they told us off for that too, then complained about it in their smoky staff room.

There’s smoke coming out of my head now. Or steam. I can’t think of anything to write about the b***dy bus trip.

All us kids had bus passes for free travel, so the drivers never checked – what was the point?

There was one driver who did check. A bald guy with blue sunglasses. Now I’m bald, and I wear blue-framed glasses. Not sunglasses; the sun shines outside, but I’m inside, thinking about buses. Baldy blue glasses used to stand in the bus door way, physically blocking our entrance until he’d watched us dig our passes from shoulder-born school bags. It was nonsensical; none of us wanted to go to school anyway, but here we were fighting to get on the bus.

Still at my desk. Buses. Big, noisy, dirty, smelly. Mow down cyclists. They’re not even red any more. Blue, white, green. Too many low bridges; top gets chopped off and glued at the back with some flexible rubber glue and a roundabout in the middle of what they now call a “bendy bus.”

So this bus stop I’m standing at. Litter everywhere. Cigarette ends and an illegible timetable thanks to graffiti. Adverts for phone sex and car insurance. If we needed car insurance we wouldn’t be waiting for a bus.

A teenager stands trying to look disinterested wit...

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Paul Sterlini
Jun 12 2021

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