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The Bus Is Full

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

I was second last in line to the overnight bus.

I needed to get to the next city over for a school run climate emergency convention.

My 100% cotton Hawaiian shirt was sticking to me.

Thankfully all the bus windows were down.

The old lady behind me asks, ‘Do you think we’ll make it through this storm?’

I hunch and fumble out, ‘Probs. We’ll get through this like every other bus ride.’

Tickets were ripped and the full line fed into the bus.

I hand mine, then the ticket guard put his hand up to the old lady, ‘The bus is full.’

I enter the low ceiling corridor of squat pews to my seat.

I was three seats from the portaloo; I should have booked earlier.

A group of pastel suited businessmen file pass me to the upstairs seats, one holds a dog.

Our cramped compartment cries, chatting, complaining, and chorus’ of coordinating chimes.

Hostesses glide by holding canapés for upper deck, while throwing peanut bags at us.

The ticket guard screams while slamming the door, ‘All aboard!’

The bus pulls from the empty depot and we start careening to our destination.

I slot on my headphones and slip into Nirvana, close my eyes, and make my own scenery.

The rocking of the chassis combined with vibrating glass means I can’t fully nod off.

Businessmen keep descending to open the lav and leave bottom deck their effluents.

We must be hours in cos I’m albums deep when the smell emerges.

An oily brown puddle with a blue reflection starts pouring from the dunny.

Flecks of prawn tail and half masticated oysters bob in the brine that soaks our ankles.

Lower deck starts vomiting in the aisles and spitting but missing the windows.

One passenger screams at the bus driver to stop, the loud mic says, ‘No can do.’

A suit sinks his flight and asks the screaming rabble, ‘We’ll pay four of you, for your two best fighters and dancers. Come upstairs where the canopy air is clear, and the views are wild.’

People fight for position, but two men and women are selected.

We can hear rounds of ‘ughs!’, ‘aghs!’, and shrill yapping pulsating from upstairs.

That’s when we hit the storm in the mountains.

We skew one corner, and a fighter went over but clung on, and a dancer flew free.

And then I ask the ticket guard, ‘Can I get off?’

He says sharply, ‘No refunds!’

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