An Interesting Bus Ride

i boarded the bus early that morning

coming off a grave shift

a prolonged evening

of stocking racks and

unloading trucks

prime of my youth

the stop was lonely

during those early hours

and i waited there

alone

quite a long time

eventually

the shuttle arrived and

the long shuttered door collapsed upon itself

i proceeded to board

i passed the driver a glance of acknowledgement

nodding my head

signifying a quiet respect and gratitude

pacing to a seat

about halfway in

the bus heaved

exuding its presence

and i turned to face the window

hydraulics and mechanisms whirring

as he followed his route

routine stops

rounding the city

sitting

in a hard plastic chair

awaiting my destination

we continued on the path

finding a man

in his early to mid thirties

standing

near one of the signs

he climbed aboard

and i glanced at him

noting a small beaded cherry of a mole

on his unkempt neck

he looked down the aisle

paused for a moment

then made his way towards me

at last taking a seat on the opposite side

i could tell something was unusual

his body language

was immediately frantic

scratching and fidgeting

tapping his foot at demon intervals

staccato sidelong glances from me

to the window

to the rear

to the front

nervously patting his head and

laughing to himself

at some point he struck up a conversation

the contents of which i cannot recall

i do recall

however

the intensity and discomfort of those remaining miles

he asked me where i lived

how much longer before i depart

touched me and continued

with that same

unsure laughter

his laughter turned

into a crescendo of barking

contorting his face

in a disquieting expression

causing the cherry to burn hotter

as his fair

yet splotchy skin

turned pink

the barking ceased

returning to nervous laughter

he resumed prodding

then unsheathed a knife

letting the interior lights of the bus

gleam

off its honed blade

he brandished it

invisible to the driver

beneath the obstructing barricade

of the preceding seat

unsettled

i waited past my stop

making polite conversation

at last

breaking away

exiting three or four stops

down the road

he watched me

eyes tracing my steps toward that shuttered door

watched me as i descended those grimy steps

stared at me as i began to traipse down that sidewalk

to this day

i still remember looking back

seeing him glancing out that window

til the bus disappeared down the hilly road

i took the long way back

to a shared

tattered duplex

trekking streets i’d never seen before

wandering past morning joggers

quiet culdesacs

and chain link fences

with only the memory of

an interesting bus ride

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