A Crappy Bus Ride to Work (A Short Story)

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As he waited at the bus stop, Greg watched the dark clouds move across the morning sky. He hoped and prayed it wouldn’t rain. At least, not before the bus arrived.

At some bus stops, shelters existed for folks to sit under. Only thing Greg’s bus stop had? A bench and a sign saying Route 74.

Checking the time, he looked at his cellphone.

Then, rain drops fell.

“Shit,” Greg said.

As the rain drops pelted him, he thought the last thing he needed was a cold.

He hated his car was in the shop. Then, he wouldn’t have to rely on public transportation. He would be out of this damned rain and on the way to work.

A few moments later, Bus 74 arrived.

As he searched for a seat, a wet Greg noticed most of the passengers were black. Because he was black too, he didn’t have a problem with that. The other few passengers were white and Hispanic.

Greg chose one of the middle seats on his left. As soon as he sat down, a funky body odor seeped into his nostrils.

He noticed the middle-aged black woman sitting in front of him. A dark blue knit cap covered her head. She also wore a green sweater.

Ol’ stankin’ ass, Greg thought.

His cellphone started ringing. He saw Jeffrey’s number, and allowed the phone to continue ringing.

The smell continued seeping into Greg’s nostrils. He turned his head away from the woman. That didn’t help. The funk still seeped into his nostrils.

He looked around searching for an empty seat. All of the seats were occupied.

At the next stop, a passenger exited. But another passenger walked on and eventually occupied the empty seat.

Greg was still stuck smelling the funky body odor.

Because some seats contained only one person, Greg thought about getting up and sitting next to someone in one of those seats. Yet, he didn’t want to appear rude. Still, that odor was too damned much.

His cellphone rang again. Again, Greg saw Jeffrey’s number, and allowed the phone to continue ringing.

As the bus slowed for the upcoming stop light, squealing tires were heard from the back. Next, right along with the other passengers, Greg felt an automobile crash into the back of the bus.

The driver stopped and walked off the bus.

At that moment, Greg realized he was going to be late for work. Fear froze his body. Already his job warned him about tardiness. One more day arriving late? And he was out the door.

Greg dialed his work number. Because the crash was beyond his control, he hoped his job would forgive him.

He heard the phone line ring and ring. And it continued ringing. Greg thought that was strange. Usually, a coworker always answered the phone. He clicked his phone off.

Next, Jeffrey’s line rang through.

This time, Greg answered it.

Annoyed, he said, “Hello.”

“How come you didn’t let me take you to work?” Jeffrey’s voice said. “You know I had the day off.”

“ I’m still upset with you.”

“Still?”

“Yes, still. You told me you were too busy to see me.”

“I was busy, Greg.”

“Uh huh. Yet, when I go downtown one night, I see your busy ass in a bar. Sitting at a table with a Chinese boy.”

“He’s Korean.”

“I don’t care what he is. After telling me you were so busy, I saw you in a bar talking to Sulu from Star Trek.”

“He was a co-worker, Greg. I told you that. It was his last night in Orlando.”

“So, instead of being with me, your busy ass all of a sudden had the quality time to spend with him.”

“Oh, Jesus Christ.”

“Don’t you bring Christ into this. I swear, I’m still so upset with you, Jeffrey. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“Oh, quit being a drama queen. You know I love you, Greg.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I do too.”

“You love Sulu from Star Trek.”

“His name is John Kim. Now, stop that Sulu shit.”

“Bye.”

Greg clicked off the phone. He looked up and noticed a black guy sitting across the aisle staring at him. The guy wore a McDonald’s uniform.

With attitude, Greg said, “Can I help you, sir?”

The man looked away.

Lord, what a morning, Greg thought.

Greg dialed work again. Again, nobody picked up the phone.

Also, the funky body odor still invaded his nostrils.

Soon, the police and fire truck arrived.

The bus moved to the side of the road. Now, passengers could see the damaged blue car. The car’s front was smashed in.

Next, an ambulance arrived. The white female driver was placed on a stretcher.

For fair compensation, passengers filled out a form asking for name and address.

As it continued raining, they were boarded onto another bus. This time, as the funky woman sat in a seat near the front, Greg sat far away into one near the back.

He dialed work again. Still, nobody answered.

During the new bus’s travels, the rain ceased.

Soon, Greg’s stop finally arrived. After getting off the bus, he walked further down to Edna’s Restaurant. He noticed the empty parking lot.

A sudden panic gripped him. He hoped what he was thinking didn’t happen.

He walked to the glass door entrance. When he attempted opening the door, he found it locked.

Then, he saw the sign in the door.

Permanently closed. We appreciate your business throughout the years.

Without thinking, he dialed Jeffrey on his cellphone.

“Hey,” Jeffery said.

“These people done closed this restaurant down,” Greg said.

“What?”

“They closed the restaurant down. And didn’t tell anybody they were doing it.”

“Oh my goodness.”

“After all the mess I went through this morning, my job is now gone.”

“How are you going to get paid? They still owe you money.”

“I don’t know how I’m going to get paid. I do know I need money for my bills. Plus I got to pay for my car getting fixed. What am I going to do now?”

There was a brief silence.

Then, Jeffery said, “You want me to come get you?”

Greg sighed. He really didn’t want to rely on Jeffrey. That’s why he used the bus in the first place.

“Yea,” he said. “Come get me.”

“I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

Greg clicked off the phone. Next, on the same phone, he chose a playlist of his favorite music. Then, he sat down in front of the restaurant and waited for his man to pick him up.

photo credit: Monkey D. Luffy ギア2(セカンド) Yellow Bus Line A-39 via photopin (license)

Comments and criticism welcomed.

About Patrick Scott Barnes

Most of Central Florida knows Stone Crazy (Patrick Scott Barnes) as a poet. Yet, he also photographs, DJ and blogs. The rest of the time, he's guzzling booze in a Central Florida bar.
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