The Commute – 4

The Appetent Operator

Darling dearest,

Time is a vessel, delivering me ever closer and closer to you,

Space is a fiend, taunting me constantly with reminders of our separation.

I’ve found that the most bizarre, the most inspiring – in their own particular ways – of characters tend to reveal themselves in the dark of morning…young illustrious kids trudging along to school, their ABCs and 123s not as easy as had been advertised, werewolves heading the opposite direction to hang up their boots after a hard night’s toil and, of course, this zealous captain who piloted our carriage.

This morning, while fleeing demons only apparent to him, this man put on quite a show. There was the poor defenseless gear stick that he assaulted with such senseless violence as might put a gear stick with less mental resolve in the madhouse. There was the chassis of the bus, which on occasions when it wasn’t five feet in the air, was scraping against the road at speeds of deliver-me-to-my-Maker kilometers per hour.

This man was blind to the law, deaf to our pleas to spare our lives and…er, seemingly medically mute since he communicated with aforementioned demons through nods and shakes of his head.

The last straw came when he drove our bus at full speed through a bump, it took off on a tangent into the air, performed a half-barrel roll, bounced off the road, yes, find any reputable book of records anywhere in the world and I promise it will affirm my word, that this morning, at the hands of a madman a bus on a road I journey on flipped, so that momentarily up was down, bounced off that same road, righted itself and continued on as if all was it was meant to be.

Upon this last act of anarchy, I decided to protest, and was on the point of walking up to the driver to give him a piece of my mind when I was thrown into the roof of the bus by its unpredictable trajectory so that I ran back to my seat humbled.

Grim as it sounds that I thought I might see the end of days in this bus, maybe even that might have been mercy compared to the grimmer fate that awaited me.

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The Commute – 3

The Upsetting Scramble

My dear Delilah,

I’ve always believed the two of us should never be further apart than the wheels of this bus and the road they kiss.

But it’s such a shame we can’t fit into a pea pod, if we tried with might or prayer.

Dearest darling, we stood on that bus stage for ages after the first bus had left. We waited and waited and waited.

And because humanity had outspent the auspices of the sun, which had today thus elected to rise on planets Mars and Jupiter and never on planet Earth, it wasn’t long before frost set in. I had a sudden sobering realization that I could not move my limbs. I tried to remember the last time I had blinked, and between the icicles on my lashes and the paper crisp eyelids judged it to have been so so many minutes ago.

So this is it! This is the end! So I believed it was.

I should make my peace. So I did

Maybe write a will? But I had nothing to will to anyone.

Then, even as I gradually grew comfortable with my inevitable end, a sound came to us hollow and distant. A honking noise, rabid, erratic, on any other day incredibly annoying, but today it was like the call of adhan to a Muslim lost in a foreign country.

It arrived a minute later, blue yellow paint peeling off, leaning too much on one side, some of its windows jammed in place in awkward angles. You should have seen the effect it had on the queue, how quickly the poor frozen humanity thawed and then just as quickly forgot every last lesson of civilized decorum. It was a fight for all I tell you as every man, woman and toddler scrambled after that poor carriage which strained under the new weight.

I made a run for it too before I found myself hurled to the pavement by a lady half my size who then gave me such a feral hungry look I wondered if she was considering how to prepare me for lunch. Marinate him first or, what the heck just throw him in the pan.

Then just as the madness peaked and the bus was nearly toppling over, another bus arrived and soon a whole fleet, and so we all calmed down, looked at each other overwhelmed with shame, picked up our handbags and backpacks and dismembered limbs and fell back into organized files once more and we were soon all comfortably accommodated in one or the other bus. I looked to my side to regard the passenger I shared a seat with and to offer them the blessing of a greeting but who else should it be there, next to me, than that old man from earlier, cross as ever with me.

Thus was there so much discomfort in this ride I took this morning, even as it paled in comparison to what disaster I was being delivered to.

The Commute – 2

The Magisterial Traffic Charmer.

My dear Delilah

Today I vowed to journey to you faster than a mayfly can write a legacy.

I should have known.

Some mayflies live longer than others.

You see there was this man at the bus stage this morning. He was a very spirited man, a hardworking man.

He reeked of some liquor, which perhaps explained why he looked a very happy man.

And between his ‘No Fear’ branded tee from the nineties and the ripped trousers he was basically a half-naked man.

And he was a charismatic man. Traffic flowed at his behest and ebbed upon his request.

He was the people’s man too i think. He paraded the queue at the bus stand ad libitum and any dissenters were put in their place. All he had to do was raise his arms, up high, and get really close and these souls would flee back to the comfort of the collective.

My eyes lie sometimes but on one occasion he brushed against a boy during one of his parades and the boy’s terrified mother frantically scrambled from her purse a syringe and vials of what my short stint as a nurse’s assistant once leads me to believe were vaccines, which she mixed into a cocktail and pumped the boy full of it, then hugged him so mightily I thought he might suffocate.

It might be a tragedy that the man’s sway with people at one point made think him the I-want-to-be-that-man man, but then again a far worse tragedy is going to happen today.