Saturday, April 09, 2005

I am my own character

Some nights on the bus, there's entirely too much material.

The boy sitting behind me, on the phone in a luxe voice, "I was makeup artist for 3 weddings today. My fake-smile muscles are worn out, darling..."

The stoner chick next to me, dangerously beautiful, eyes spinning in her head she's so high. Giant earphones plugged into nothing. She talks to a girl in the seat in front of her, fried hipster voice spilling out of cherrry lips, punctuated at random points with a fatuous giggle, "Yeah, hehehehe, a job, that's an idea heheheh, employment, I should hehe get one of those...I'm just heheheh couch-surfing right heheh now.."

And the guy who stepped out of a Daumier poster, and the man with the grave, mature voice who walks like a three-year-old girl needing to pee.

The bus descends into a rough-ish neighborhood, and a crowd gets on, these are people not to piss off, I could swear they're all giants, six feet tall and more, scars and burnt-out cigarillos hanging out the sides of their mouths, thirty-year-old leather jackets and thousand-yard stares, men and women, black and brown and white, don't mess with these people as they squeeze their way in to the bus, packing in tight around me.

The girl on the inside seat needs to get off, so I get up to let her off, book in one hand, backpack in the other, but then I realize I'm getting off at the next stop, I offer the seats to two of the standing crowd and now I'm standing, my hands are full and it slips through my brain that the bus is about to move & I have no hands to reach out and grab a rail, & just as I think it, the bus lurches ahead & I'm going down, no balance no purchase, I'll be laid out flat.


I never touch floor. It feels like fifty hands catch me, softly, gently, those rough characters helping me up & laughing with me, the whole bus laughing & asking if I'm all right, they right me and hold me steady, see me safely off at my stop, and one man gets off at the same time, saying, "One advantage of a crowded bus, huh?"

He moves his cigarillo to the other corner of his mouth, and saunters away down the street.


jkirlin said...


Sylvana said...

I liked the way you wrote this story. It has a very good rhythm and the imagery was wonderful. I got to your blog from TheLastNail. I look forward to reading more.

Chemical Billy said...

*blush* thank you both.

Sally said...

Lucky lucky you.To have been caught that is.

I am Princess of the kingdom of Falling Down.
Ive fallen down drunk, sober, becasue I always overestimate my own strength and carry too much shopping, and other reasons I wont mention.
I like your blog.

Nicolas said...

Fake smile muscles, I love it. Sudden vision: 2 AM TV infomercial about Smile Kreme: build up those smile muscles! Never look sad! Boost your career!

Joseph K said...

Sounds like the bus was filled with life. Makes me rethink my bourgeois aversion to taking the bus. Subway? Yes. Bus? walk.

jay said...

Thanks for the writing, Chemical Billy. Great stuff. I love it - the hands catching you softly.