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A System You Can Count On
Alone on the Midnight Bus, 7/26/17

As an ambling ape of the lesser pale sort, making his crooked way through the warren-like streets and pretentious boulevards of Inner Absurdistan, I make certain to keep quarters for the bus meter in the inner zip flap of my various backpacks.

On returning to my toxic tree house on Caucasian Avenue from the weekend in the Green Hills of White Guilt in Southeastern Pennsylvania, I changed out my backpacks so that the ancient one that makes a better shield and flail would be brought back into the fractional autonomy toolkit.

Upon reaching the bus stop and leaning the pack against the light pole, I noticed a wanted poster for Jinx, an adorable mutt puppy that had been snatched from its yard earlier that day. I checked my wallet and found a $20, a $5 and a $1. The bus ride costs $1.80. No problem! I unzip the change pouch and find 60 cents in small coin.


The last time I put a $5 in a bus meter, after showing it to the driver, he only credited me for putting in a $1 and told me to put in another or get off. That was a $10 bus ride!

With the five in hand, I waited for the bus and it blew by me as I waved, the driver in a stuporous trance with no passengers.

He stopped a hundred feet on and after I hobbled on board, apologized and began to explain and I simply said, "Thanks for stopping,” then noticed that he had a bus ticket folded and jammed in the coin and dollar slot of the meter, the universal driver method of putting an out of order sign on the meter.

I rode for free.

How often does this happen?

It happens so often that I knew a boxer, Curtis, who failed to make lightweight [135] and scaled 137, because, anytime he found himself riding a bus home from the gym that did not have a working meter, who would buy a sandwich off the dollar menu at the McDonalds at White and Belair Road, where his stop was and eat it on his way up the street to his house!

My honest estimate is that 1 in 10 buses have a non-functioning meter, one of the reasons I do not buy a bus pass.

A pretty young girl with backpack and bible, dressed like a person of moderation and dignity, boarded at Kenwood and Golden Ring, wished us both a good evening, stayed on for 2 miles, and blessed us both as she left, hunched against the night, her bible pressed against her breasts with both hands as her dark skin blended with the surroundings and she darted for wherever she lived.

At six minutes to midnight, as I off-loaded and the large bear of a driver and I bid each other a safe night, he began shutting down the bus, checking the windows, and securing it for the lonely ride to the end of the line, from where he would head back to the terminal.

I thought, as I ambled off into the dark, still night, the only creature in sight, that I quite enjoyed having my own giant limousine with a driver of a size to match.

Narco Night Train Kindle Edition

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