Bruce on the Bus

Bruce on the Bus

“I’m coming up to visit you.”
“I said, I’m coming up to visit you.”
“I live 14 hours away.”
“I’m catching the bus.”
“What are you going to do for 14 hours on a bus?”
“You’re dyslexic.”
“Listen to music.”
“You ran your iPod over last summer.”
“It doesn’t matter.  I’m catching the night bus.”
“Get some valium then.  It helps you sleep.”
“And, Bruce…”
“Please don’t hit anyone this time.”
“You know that wasn’t my fault, AJ.  I thought he was trying to steal my Krispy Kremes.  My actions were perfectly justified.”
“You karate-kicked him in the groin.”
“I’m very protective of my Krispy Kremes.”
“You took a run-up.”
“This conversation is going nowhere.  I’ll see you on Thursday.”
“Yes, Thursday.”
“Thursday’s two days away.”
“Yes, Thursday is often two days after Tuesday.  Jesus, you call me dyslexic!”
“It’s just– it’s not much notice.”
“Nothing, I guess.  I’ll see you on Thursday.”
“See ya then, mate.”
“See ya.”

I was at the bus station on Thursday morning.  It was cold and much earlier than I was used to being up.  I dozed on a bench as I waited.

Bruce was the first to get off the bus.  He spat out the door like a seed spitting out of an unripe cherry tomato and careened straight at me.  His face was red and puffy.  His eyes were spinning.

“To think I trusted you!… Not a funny joke, AJ!… On a public bus!… There were children!… Family sitting next to me!…  Had to cover up the whole time!… People Magazine on my lap for eight hours… Didn’t sleep a wink!… Almost arrested!… Sent to Coffs Harbour jail!… You know I wouldn’t last a minute in jail, AJ!… I’m a conservative!… Imagine my mother!… She has bad enough blood pressure as it is!… Not to mention what this stuff does to you!… I already have a mangina… Yes, I mean angina!  That’s what I said, isn’t it?… Palpitations from Newcastle to Grafton… Burst bladder!… Police at the toilet stop!… Had to face the window!… Never been this scared since that stupid idiot Danny jumped out of my closet with that Texas Chainsaw mask… Never forgive you!… You know me: I may forget, but I never forgive!… Already unfriended you on Facebook!… And in life!… Getting on the first bus straight back home!… Not my best friend anymore!… Not talking to you for one month!…”

“Whoa, Bruce.  What’s wrong?”

Bruce waved a packet of pills at me.  Two of the pills were missing.  There were two left.  The packet was white with a blue trim.


“You idiot.”

Cover by Tomasz Kulbowski