The Bus Stop (comment lindsey.) it's a rough draft

        Every weekday I ride the bus to work.  Today is Tuesday, so here I am, waiting at the cracked grey plastic bench a block from my home.  In the suburban area where I live, no one rides the bus.  So the bench is always empty.  Today was no exception.  Not in that regard and not in any other.  I sip on my coffee- black and lukewarm- and try to exaggerate for a second the solace that some get when they feel the cool spring breeze come out from the trees.  To no avail, though.  For a couple a years, the birds’ chirps and songs were relaxing and humanizing.  Now they remind me of the sound a van makes when the brakes haven’t been serviced in ages, and you slap your ears in disgust of the squeal. Now they disrupt the only time of day I get some silence. 
            My stay at the bus stop usually begins with a thought process that changes very little each day.  It’s hot/cold/nice outside.  This coffee is sweet/bitter today.  The bus is running late/early today.  A passing jogger or a sprinkle of rain feels like a vacation when the closest thing I have to look forward to is public transportation.  Today it is warm.  One of the first spring days, when a hint of sprinklers and laziness can be picked up from the smell of the thin air.  It’s pleasant.  So is getting through a light right after it turns yellow. 
            The bus is four minutes late.  It is 7:49.  That’s 2 minutes before its average arrival time, but still technically late.  I keep a spread sheet in my briefcase to keep track of the exact moment the bus gets to this spot each morning, so that I can have a basic idea of the time I need to be here in case I’m running late.  I’ve never run late.  Other contents of my briefcase include a pen, some basic papers, and a canister of mace.  I could easily carry these without a bag, but appearances are everything.  The mace?  A Christmas present from my mother.  It’s neither fun nor practical.  She probably got scared watching the news again.
 When it gets to 7:58, I start to worry.  One time the bus showed at 8:00 and I gave the driver, Art, a terrible look.  I know Art’s name is Art not because of my own inquisition, but from a sign showing him as the certified driver at the front of the bus.  He and I, we have a prepackaged greeting each day. “Hello,” I’ll say.  “Well hey there!” he’ll reply.  His tone of voice is of unnatural excitement, like he’s the ‘conductor’ of one of those trains you ride at the zoo who sounds as if he’s going to take you on a great adventure.  The magical tour to the world of computer processing.  I can hardly contain myself.  He’s never asked my name.  You’d think he would after I’ve been his sole passenger for nearly three years, but I like it this way.  He keeps to himself.
            The time is now 7:52, and someone is walking towards the bus stop where I am sitting.  I’m both excited and disgusted.  I cup my eyes to see him underneath the rising sun.  Not too subtle, but I don’t care.  He walks prestigiously, wiping fictitious dirt from his shoulder and reaching in his pocket for a lighter to ignite the cigarette hanging in his mouth.  He has an intellectual strut, as if he’s observing every inch of the landscape and taking mental notes.  He’s also grinning like he just gave one of his old nemeses the what-for.  The way he presents himself annoys me.  Who wears suspenders nowadays? 
            He smiles at me and says “Mind if I sit?”  I just nod my head and he sits a little too close, but the bus should almost be here so I let him.  He takes a drag from his cigarette.  “So,” he says, “Tell me, why do you ride the bus?”  Why do I ride the bus?  A little personal, don’t you think?  I sit here every day.  I have for nearly 3 years.  Can’t he just let me be?  What am I, an anomaly?  I don’t think I am.  I think I’m normal.  “Because my destination is only a few minutes away and my wife uses the car for work.”  I say.  He nods his head. His arm is resting on the back of the bench like he has an imaginary girlfriend in between him and me.  “Oh, well I see!” He starts again, “I’m just visiting, and going around this fine town to ask some of the locals some questions for my next project.”  So I’m a social experiment.  I don’t like being a test rat.  He seems important.  He must be famous.  “Haven’t I seen you before?” I lie.  I’ve never seen him.  “You may have read me!  Ever heard of The Sorry Postman or Today’s Working Man?”  I hadn’t.  “I feel like I have,” I say.  “You’re a writer then? Didn’t you win an award recently?”  I have no idea if he has; I just want to see how big of a deal this guy is.  “Actually, I have!  Down at the college, that’s why I’m here.”  He keeps talking for about 30 seconds more but I zone out.  7:58.  Where in God’s name is that bus?
            This guy, he’s the real thing.  I ponder our positions in the present time.  Him, a worldly achiever who has the courage, the downright nerve, to come down here and talk to me and ask me questions.  And me, the lowly business man with his briefcase, stuck in this sorry bourgeois life.  What I’d give for our social identities to switch.
            Who says they're set in stone? Who says I can't be him? What's he got that I don't? I've become content with being dissatisfied.  The bus acts as a teleporter into a normal existence.  I strive for normalcy but at the same time despise it.  I want something new.  I have to force myself out of this picture and into a new one.  I have to kill him.  I have to kill him and take his place.  Oh, how they'd cry!  What's happened to our beloved writer?  What has happened to him?  I would be standing in his place with a grin.  He'd be me.  I'd be him.  I'd be the anti-writer raining on everyone's parade.  In exchange, I'd be the one they'd associate with him.  That'd be me.  I'd be something.  Or why can't he just come to work with me? All of my co-workers would be so impressed that i had a writer as a friend.  Then they'd love me.
            “You know.”  I stuttered.  “I work at… this office building.  And I was wondering if you’d…”  I stop in mid sentence and reassess.  This was a stupid idea.  “If I’d what, sport?”  Sport?  Did he just ‘sport’ me?  8:00.  I’m going to be late.  I cannot be late.
 Another figure materializes in the distance.  Two in one day?  You have to be kidding me.  I cup my eyes again.  His outline looks like that of Quasimodo.  There’s a protrusion sticking out from his back.  As he gets closer I realize that he’s got a bulky video camera that is completely out of proportion with his body.  He’s small and pudgy. His face is feline, with fat cheeks and wide eyes.  He looks like a rat- the perfect poster child for paparazzi.  “Mr. Stenson!  Mr. Stenson!  What will you’re next book be about?  How’s the girlfriend?  How’s the kid?”  I reach in my briefcase.  I find myself fingering the can of mace.  Hardly enjoyable, hardly practical, but it’d make one nice tabloid cover.  Then they’d recognize me.  Then I’d be a Mr. Stenson. 
I clutch the grip and unwind the cap.  He starts socializing with the cameraman.  He’s basking in his popularity.  It’s probably new.  It seems to me that any existence, with enough time, reverts itself back to being plain.  Mine is.  His will be.  I take genuine satisfaction in that.  I try taking a deep breath, but my anger grows again.  I want to get him!  Right in his eye!  I want him to remember me forever.  My face starts to get red and sweaty and the paparazzo asks me if I’m all right.  I get embarrassed. The bus pulls up with a welcomed squeal.  17 minutes late.  I pocket the canister and say hello to Art.  He doesn’t ask my name.  I wave good-bye to Mr. Stenson as the bus drives away.  
I replay the scenario over and over and over again on the way to work.  Alive or dead, I should have taken him with me.  Alive.  Or dead.  Alive. Or dead.  Dead.  Then they'd know me.  I fantasize about different ways the scenario could have played out.  Each time it gets more disturbing, more gruesome.  I decide to bury it deep within me and try to forget about Mr. Stenson, but one day I know it'll come out.  I'm one step closer to rudely forcing my existence to change.  Every weekday I ride the bus to work.  Tomorrow is Wednesday, so there I'll be.


  1. i really liked it!
    it seemed like the beginning of a novel more than a short story though
    also i was a little confused about the main character.
    in the beginning he was perfectly content with his mundane life
    then suddenly he hates it
    i'm sure there's more to it than that
    it just wasn't clear to me

  2. is this supposed to be stranger-esque?
    It reminded me of The Stranger in the sense that like Camus mainly wrote about the details of stuff..ya know?

  3. write more Cody.. you write fantastically...