Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Sometimes You Get On The Bus And It's Crowded, Sometimes It's Not." by Rodney Knight

 by Rodney Knight
page 1
Sometimes you get on the bus and it's crowded, sometimes it's not. sometimes you sit and the bus fills up around you until every seat is taken except for yours. Then you wonder, why doesn't anyone want to sit with you. Maybe your looks are a threat. They look at you and your face says "stay away." The bus is full and all you hear is the engine. The bus stops, a lot of people get out. Hotel district, people going to work. Maids, cooks, busboys, etc. The stop requested bell rings, a person gets off. The bell rings again, a person gets off. The back door slams as he gets out. Gas station man. The sound of the engine again. A man falling asleep, his gun falling out of his coat wakes him up. He looks down, sees the gun, and quickly hides it. Bad boy, bad boy, what are you going to do when they come for you. The bus driver is ahead of schedule so we have to wait. We are by the mall and you can see the mountains. A man asks me for change. He sits in front of me trying his best to talk to a lady he just met. He smiles a lot.

page 2
The bus driver is a short Mexican man who looks like he drank too much coffee or needs a beer. I don't care as long as he stays on the road. There was a bus crash a few years ago, a bus was coming down from the tram parking lot to 111 when the brakes went out, the bus plunged over a cliff killing almost all people aboard. The girl is starting to get irritated by the smiley man. Smiley Man gets the hint and moves to another seat. It's not enough for the girl, she gets off the bus. Now it's my turn. I pull the rope, the bus comes to a stop and I get out. There is another bus going to another destination. I get on that bus which will take me to where I want to go. The driver is a big black lady who gulps from a small cooler, shades over her eyes. This bus is half empty, or half full, depending on how you see it. The bus moves and we are off and here comes Seabiscuit. The CB radio blares something that I cannot understand. The sun shines in my eyes as we make the turn, a turn to the left and no more sun. It's hot outside but very cool on the bus. The bus stops, somebody gets off. My stop is coming up and I pull the chain. The bus stops and I get off.

page 3
I am standing in front of the post office. It is hot and I walk up the ramp, easily accessible. Through the doors and to my P.O. Box. What is that number now, oh yeah. One letter and thirty thousand advertisements. I take the letter and throw away the rest. What the hell, since I'm throwing away things I might as well clean my carry bag. I take out what I want to keep and turn the bag upside down over the trash can. The bag has sunflower seeds falling out. Half the seeds end up on the floor. Oh well, I kind of kick them around and start to walk out when I notice the janitor staring at me. If a look could kill I'd be dead. One foot after another and I was gone. Never to be seen again. Half of my trip was over. I stood waiting, waiting for a bus. Fifteen minutes and counting. One lonely man waiting, waiting for a bus. Two guys walk up, I think about having conversation. I notice that they are gay. End of conversation. Another man walks up. He is shy and stands by the bushes with his head looking down. The bus pulls up.

page 4
I walk up and pay the box, the driver hands me a transfer. His name is Scotty. Beam me up, Scotty! One time I paid the box and noticed I was on the wrong bus. I asked the driver if I could have my dollar back. He laughed. You see, the box takes money, it never gives. How full is the bus? Only six people and three of them have headphones. That's the thing to have when you ride the bus. I just remembered who Smiley Man is. I knew I had seen him before. He was many days ago on the bus with his lady. His lady was wearing his ring. While the cat's away! The bus pulls over and a man gets on. "Oh, do a day!" Well, Scotty has beamed me to Cathedral City and I get off the bus. I have to cross the street to get to the next bus stop. I wait for the light. A big red hand is telling me not to go. Rip Van Winkle wakes up to a green man on a sign who looks like he's walking. I cross the street. At the bus stop the scheduled time is not now. Forty minutes and counting. Do my eyes deceive me, or is that a Circle K over yonder? I take the walk, it is hot. The thoughts of ice cream dance through my head. Inside the store I look at the ice cream. Nutty buddy looks good. At the counter I find out that the cost of ice cream has gone up.

page 5
It's like gasoline. The price rises and falls, bus mostly rises. The ice cream is good and makes my walk enjoyable. Joy to the world, ice cream is here. Have you ever noticed that the last part of a Nutty Buddy always melts in your hand? Then you're looking for a napkin but you get distracted by someone wanting change. You reach into your pocket, pull out the change, look at your pants and shake your head. At the bus stop three people are waiting. Two are smart and sit aways from the stop where there is shade. This beautiful black chick straddles the bus stop bench out in the sun with her hear held back, she defies common logic. It's as if she were at the beach trying to get a suntan. Not in Cat City, enduring the 115 degree heat. I sit in the shade and wait. I don't have to wait long. The bus is here. I wait in line, walk up and give the driver my transfer. His name is Larry and there is a plaque above his head to prove it. He throws my transfer in the trash. I sit down towards the back of the bus. It's only 10:00, making good time today. The bus moves and we're off.

page 6
Fifteen people quiet and staring straight ahead. There in the zone. My zone is peaceful, only good thoughts. Green light, made it through one. Green light, made it through two. Green light, made it through three. It's coming up, it's still green, will we make it? Yes, and it's four. Red light, came to a complete stop. To roll through is to get a ticket. They call it a California stop. What cop would want to pull over a bus anyway? It's unheard of. One guy has decided to sit passed out in his seat. He's still in the zone, but with a different view. We stop at Palm Desert Mall. Most of the people get out, the zone is broken. The driver takes a break. he goes outside, sits down and talks on his cell phone. He has it squished to his ear as if it were priceless. The engine still runs at a fast idle. The door is open and the heat creeps in. I move to the back where it is cooler. A lady puts her bike on the bicycle rack that's attached to the front of the bus. She has a little girl with her. The little girl runs over and gives the bus driver a big hug. The driver's name is Robert.

page 7
Her mom talks to the driver and all three get on the bus. Mother and daughter don't pay the box and sit up front. The driver does what he does, he drives and we're off, but it's not a race. No other cars on the road right now. We make a turn and stop, a big black fat man gets on. He has ear phones and the number on his shirt says 5. He sits in the back, the very back. Nicely dressed lady in a wheelchair gets on. The driver helps her get settled in. Again we move, we are on the other side of the mall now, two people get on, a lady around forty with short hair, glasses, chewing gum and what looks like a college kid with a backpack. Next stop a man gets off. Again with the red light. Construction area up ahead, we have to stop. We creep and stop, creep and stop. We move faster and then faster and then red light. We wait, a lot of traffic now. The first in line to wait, the first in line to go, one way of looking at it. The bus stops, a man gets on, baseball cap, sunglasses, ponytail, white shirt, and a gull orange bottle of soda. The bus stops, a man gets off. The man has a brief case and it looks heavy. He gets out the back where I am sitting.

page 8
The lady in the wheelchair gets out, using the front. It's an electric chair and she does not have too much of a problem getting out. The bus moves on. Green light. The zone is back, peace to the world. If only we could. We are in Indian Wells going by the Marriot. All eyes straight ahead. How long will the zone last? It's over, a man in the front is going through his pack, a lady picks her nose. In La Quinta I see the Cliffhouse and the waterfall across the street. We stop at the shopping center. The man with the pack gets out and then a lady. We move on, the next stop Orange Soda Man gets off through the back. There are only five of us now. Lady and child change seats so they can talk better to the driver. She waves her arms as she talks. Red light, fourth in line, fourth to stop, and forth to go. The auto center, summer sales event. Villa Montego, low 100,000's. Open desert, both sides. Gas stations, both sides. Green light and we come to a stop. Mexican lady and two kids get on. A boy and a girl, ages seven to ten. Lady with the child talks to the Mexican lady. We stop. An older lady gets on, dressed nice. Earrings, blond hair, diamond ring. She sits down and looks around a lot. We stop. Two ladies and two little girls get on. My stop coming up, must sign off.

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