#4 Night Bus

Updated: May 1, 2019


Short Story.



They kept fighting. A ragged looking man with a crutch and a Morrison’s bag, and a teenager with scraped hair and a football top. Suede played on in Frankie’s head, a B side called To The Birds. He turned to the bus window, looking but not really seeing.

Don’t take your life because your bicycle won’t fly…

‘I said gies yer fuckin seat!’

You may be going to heaven tonight…

‘I cannae, hen.’

Don’t spoil the show for the love of some albino…

‘Well move yer fuckin shoppin then!'

You won’t be going to heaven alone…

‘The state of yeh, ya paedo!’

‘Watch yer mouth!’

I see her by the window, waiting every night…

‘Whit d’ye say?’

‘You heard whit I said.’

So I wouldn’t give a shit if my bicycle’s in bits…

‘See that sign, hen? Priority seatin.’

I think I’m going to heaven on it…

Much crutch waving. ‘The fuck’s this I’m holdin? A fuckin Christmas present?’

I see her… By the window… Pour the poison from you…

Ultraned was ragin. ‘Stop the bus! Stop it now.’

I’ll go there… through the window… In my sixteen hole boots…

‘Driver I’m not kiddin, stop the fuckin bus now!’

And I’ll sing… To the birds here at my side…

The bus slowed, pulling in. Frankie shut his eyes, feeling the groan of every other passenger. Not even at Partick yet.

And I’ll sing… To the birds who will save my li-ife…

A short guitar instrumental, then Ultraned started belting the shit out of The Crutchmaster.

Don’t take your life if your bicycle won’t fly…

The driver was there breaking it up, far from the safety of his plexiglass prison.

You may be going to heaven tonight…

Someone else had stepped in too, a hard-looking guy in a cap just off the backshift at Don’tFuckWithMe & Sons.

I wouldn’t give a shit if your bicycle’s in bits...

A fracas.

I think I’m going to heaven on it…

The driver and Captain Cap struggled to hold back the girl, getting her out the door. Much swearing. Cacophony.

I see her by the window… And I see there’s a day…

Screaming. Shouting. The Crutchmaster was banging on the window at the girl on the other side. Greasy palm prints.

I walk out through the traffic… Pour the poison away…

The clicking hazard lights told all: this bus was a goner.

And I’ll sing… To the birds here at my side…

The cops would be on their way. They’d want witness statements. Fuck that for a bag of crisps.

And I’ll sing… To the birds who will save my life…

Another instrumental. A long one. Frankie’s backpack was on and he was off the bus. The Crutchmaster was shouting after him. Don’t stop. Don’t turn around.

He’d never liked the ending of that song so he skipped it. Synth bass. Two big clanging guitar chords. He'd be so late now.

Dancing… with tears in my eyes…


















Reading: 'The Overcoat', Nikolai Gogol. Listening to: Suede. Watching: Boardwalk Empire.

The Hashtag area

#writing #fiction #publictransport #violence #music #Suede #scifilullabies #shortfiction

Notes


Bit of an odd one, this. I'd always liked the first line of that Suede song so I wrote it down and ran with it, not knowing where it would take me. It was an experiment into what I'd discussed in my 'Order & Chaos' post a few weeks ago, and also a chance to try out unconventional structure. If anyone has any thoughts on this (good or bad) I'd really like to hear about it in the comments below.



© 2019 David McMahon.