3/27/12

The Bus
By Daniel Vlasaty


Chris rides the bus around the city for three days. He likes looking at the buildings but only from behind the safety of a bus window. The bus driver doesn’t mind. Chris doesn’t cause any trouble. Plus the bus driver thinks Chris is at least a little off.

The bus pulls up to a red light and Chris has to pee. He hasn’t peed in he doesn’t know how long. His bladder is full. The bus driver notices Chris doing a kind of pee-pee dance in the rear-view mirror. “You OK back there, buddy?” the driver asks like an older brother.

Chris smiles and tries to act cool. “Be cool,” he tells himself. The bus driver is probably the coolest, most popular person Chris has ever met. Chris waves the bus driver off with a cool-guy shrug.

It starts to rain suddenly. And the sound of water splashing against the side of the bus only makes Chris have to pee even more. He thinks he is able to feel the urine sloshing around in his body. He feels full to the brim.

He tells himself this is it. He has to get off the bus now. It’s now or never. “But what if the world has changed since I last ventured out into it,” he say to himself. He doesn’t pull the cord in time and the bus hydro-planes past the stop. A handful of people huddled under one very large umbrella scream out in frustration. One man throws a shoe at the bus. It gets caught in the bumper and the man never sees it again. He cries, but pretends his tears are just drops of rain.

Chris does it. He pulls the cord. He is very proud of himself. He’ll finally be able to pee and maybe call his wife. She must be worried about him by now.

“Sorry, buddy,” the bus driver calls back. “No stops for a while. It appears my brakes have taken the day off.” He pumps the brake pedal like he’s squashing bugs. Nothing happens.

The bus plows into a row of cars stopped at a red light. The bus jerks forward and keeps moving, pushing with it a small Smart Car trapped under its front wheel. The sudden jerk does it for Chris. He can no longer hold it. Urine explodes out of him like a giant water balloon. It begins to fill up the bus. It is up to the bus driver’s knees in a matter of seconds. He tries to open the front doors to let the urine run out into the street but the crash has wedged the doors shut.

Things swim around in the urine. Big see-through fish. Their bones show through their skin. They have human faces with just the right amount of beard stubble. They swim together in a small circle, creating a whirlpool. The whirlpool grows ever stronger and begins pulling things inward. Bus seats rip out of the floor and are swallowed by the whirlpool.

The urine level reaches the bus driver’s shoulders and he pulls on a scuba diving mask.

The bus continues to plow through anything and everything in its path. The bus driver swims away from the steering wheel. He paddles over to the doors and kicks at them to get them open. It is useless. His mask falls off with the force of his kicks and he drowns in the urine.

Chris is in back holding on for dear life. The whirlpool is still getting stronger. The sides of the bus are pulling in. The whirlpool is going to suck the bus in on itself. The urine whirlpool is a black hole.

The windows shatter and the see-through fish escape the confines of the bus. They jump through the windows and grow legs before they hit the ground. Their bodies begin to resemble that of something more or less human. Blood pumps in the clear skin. They look plastic.

Pedestrians scream at the fish-humans. The fish-humans shrug at this. They don’t care about these people. They are free to follow their dreams. They want to be movie stars and doctors and garbage men.

Their bodies are not used to breathing air. They were born and raised in the bitter warmth of urine. This new world is not as warm, and they miss that. They are sad and scared.

Chris is struggling against the pull of the whirlpool. He knows he will not be able to hold on much longer. This is almost the end. He thinks of his wife. Her beautiful blonde hair and long red fingernails. Then he remembers that he does not have a wife. He has been alone his whole life. This bus is his home. But it has been destroyed. It will be gone in no time. He stops fighting and gives in to the whirlpool. It swallows him whole and he falls through the bottom of the bus. He hits the street like a wet blanket and his jacket gets caught on something under the bus. He is dragged along with the bus for eleven miles.

The fish-humans have developed a heroin addiction. They were not ready for life in the real world. They were not ready for all the freedom.

The whirlpool swallows the bus and moves on to its next victim.


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Daniel Vlasaty lives in Chicago. He works at a methadone clinic and reads comic books. His stories have appeared online in The Mustache Factor.


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