The bus to El Paso was called and those of us who had waited for an hour or more for a choice seat tore through the gate.
I made my way to the rear of the bus and took my usual seat: the last seat on the left.
As the bus filled with people the laws of bus travel went into effect.
- There is one blistering drunk.
- There is one loud and miserable baby. This law is never broken.
- A junky will go on the nod in the bathroom. This law varies in certain states.
The community shifted in Tucson.
A line of forty people waited to board bus #1732.
A screaming toddler clutched a mangled doll.
Two drag queens whose troubled beauty had fallen on hard times whispered to each other and giggled.
A drunk tried to slip past the ticket agent with a gallon of vodka.
He was trying to negotiate with a station guard who snatched the vodka from his hands. “Then give me three Pepsi’s then!”
“Passengers holding boarding pass 157–”
Those of us who had boarded the bus in Los Angeles were called back on.
The drag queens and their entourage settled around me.
One of them snapped at a boyfriend:”Don’t start jacking off Jason!”
Jason snapped back: “That’s what I brung your lips for, Theresa!”
And the bus chugged out of Tuscon.
The drag queens switched on their overhead lights and began trading makeup.
Jason announced that he had “free condoms for three dollars.” This caused waves of nervous titters to cascade up the bus.
Two young guys in their late teens sat across the aisle from the drag queens.
One looked at Theresa as if assessing possibilities.
He leaned across the aisle and tapped Theresa on the arm: “Ma’am. You shore are pretty.”
His buddy buried his face in his arms and snorted.
The drag queens babbled happily to each other in Spanish.
“I get the Playboy channel on my laptop!” announced Jason.
The drag queens applied blush.
The ride to was agony for the woman in front of us.
She rolled her head back and began to moan: “Oh Lordy!’
She was too big to get into the lavatory and had to go.
Jason leaned forward to comfort her: “Ain’t you got no pot to piss in!?’
‘Ohhhhh Lordy!’ she replied.
Jason rolled his eyes, ‘Hopeless!’
Her agony ended when we pulled into Albuquerque.
Sleepy anxious people stumbled into the waiting room.
I scouted a McDonald’s and ordered an Extra Double Whopper with Bacon, Swiss, American, and Roquefort Cheese.
I sat at a small fold out table covered in napkin doilies.
Jason joined me. “Hey Dude! You give me a twenty an’ I’ll take it an’ double it.”
I laughed: “Take your own twenty, double it, give me half and I’ll give it back to you to double.”
I picked up my Whopper and watched it pour through my fingers.
Jason looked starved.
I assumed that he was too proud to ask straight up for money.
“Here Jason, take this. I’m not hungry.”
Jason took the whopper, bit into it and examined me. Special sauces, lettuce and cheese streamed down his chin.
“Dude? ‘r you like–um–European? Like–umm. French?”
“Because of the Cheese?” I asked.
Jason shook his head no.
“…I thought you was French is all. Ever notice how folks stare at you?”
“Because I look French?”
“Nah–because –well, you look like a fag.”
“Like a fag?”
“Maybe your face.”
“I have a fag face?”
“It’s kinda soft.”
“Like a French fag?
“Kinda soft but not—well, not now!”
I nodded. “So, I look like a pissed off French fag?”
Jason laughed and our bus was called.
to be continued….
Rob Goldstein (c) 2016