Friday, August 17, 2012

The Bus

The following is a continuation of the post titled "The Ache". If you would like to read the tale from its beginning, please scroll down.

Kerry had memories of him that came from no where. They would find her in unguarded moments, and she would go vacant and catatonic, like a victim of silent seizures. She could hear the Billy Joel song on a Sunday morning coming from the speakers by the open window. He would sing about silence and euphoria and she remembered she had no idea that lyrics that wordy could ever sing so well. They would go for hours without talking on Sundays. Neil Young and Stephan stills sang about being on the bay and that took her away to places she thought she might finally get to see with him. He was older than her and a true man of the world. A sailor, a surfer, educated and kind. He played music she'd never heard and read passages from books and he opened her mind up with out being mean or condescending. He loved her. He wore it like a coat and he could not pass her without a slight touch, look, or a kiss. She remembered coming in wearing a Springsteen concert jersey from "Born In The U.S.A." she had found in a thrift shop. She bought it because it was vintage and when he saw it he pulled and old record out and put it on the turn table. "Darkness on the Edge of Town" rolled out of his speakers like a fog into her soul. He had changed her forever. From that day on she could not bear to hear the radio. She wanted to find new songs in his collection for the rest of her life. She was listening to Joni Mitchel the day the call came. The baby had been kicking all morning and she would glance at the time and imagine his plane was landing at elevn O'clock in Puerto Rico. By three O'clock, she figured he was over the Bahamas. As Joni Mitchel sang about false alarms and jet tracks across desert skies, the phone rang. She rubbed her tanned swollen belly and wondered why he would be calling so early, and then like a bad dream he was gone forever. They found wreckage but no bodies. She had nothing to bury and nothing to morn except the possibility of what might have been. They found a single surfboard floating twenty miles from the wreckage and a suitcase that did not belong to him. She gave the board to his best friend who hung it, in his Mexican restaurant. There was a short paragraph on a plaque about him stuck to the deck.

"Friend, Brother, Partner, Father, we are lost without you. 1965-1999"

Mike told her she would never pay for a meal in his place as long as he was alive. She would come here with the boys, and sit under that surfboard, with sand in the wax from his last surf. It was in a corner by the window and looked a little out of place among the other longboards from the sixties. The entire ceiling was covered with vintage boards. Sometimes she would look up and a shiver would run down through her stomach, like a breeze through the windows of all their lost Sundays. Kerry shook her head as she walked, turning to check  the boys, behind her on the sidewalk.

Roscoe puttered along oblivious to the guy riding his bumper. Had Roscoe looked in his small football shaped rear view mirror, he would have seen the man behind him beating his steering wheel and holding both hands up in a angry gesture, wondering why the hell Roscoe was driving so slow. He put on his blinker and a small semaphore came out of the metal between the door and the rear window. The amber tail lights low down on the right rear fender blinked sporadically. The frantic man in the truck nearly hit him as he  floored his truck, shot a bird and crossed the double yellow line  to come around. Roscoe turned onto April road because he had never been down it. The road was impossibly muddy and his little bug shimmied from one wet rut to the next, down the dark orange road. He veered and slid and somehow pointed the car down a side road, hoping for relief from the clay that had turned to peanut butter in last nights rain. He took his foot off the gas and let the idle dictate his speed. He saw little houses back in the trees, but no evidence of an exit road. His crept along and then he saw it back by an old garage. It was covered in all manner of vines leaves and there was a tarp and lumber stacked on top of it. He pulled in slowly and wondered if anyone lived there. The front roof had fallen on the porch and there was a beat up Toyota Echo parked on the other side of the house. A pit bull walked up to his car with his head down, wagging his tail so hard that it jerked his whole body and made him walk side ways. Roscoe laughed and held out his hand.

"You ain't nothing but a big baby are ya?"

The dog licked the air and stared up at Roscoe, waiting to be petted. He opened the door slowly and swung out a leg. the dog nuzzled the door open and Roscoe waited while the dog smelled him. He scratched his ears and the dog stopped moving.

"I guess that's your off button huh? Good Lord you are falling down on the job, if you are guarding this place."

There wasn't much to guard. Everything on the property was falling down or about to. It was a nice house once, an old Cottage style from the thirties. It'd be pretty if someone cared for it and freed it from the plants trying to drag it down into the dirt. He walked slowly over to the garage. The drivers window vent was open so he slid it back and reached in to pry the door. A "For Sale" sign fell out landed on his foot. He looked under the wheel wells and knocked on the floor with his old dark brown knuckles. He peered over his glasses at the rain gutters. It wasn't bad, a little surface rust but the car was all there and no one had ruined it yet. It had survived the sixties and seventies without the humiliation of having a peace poster painted on it. It had made it through the eighties and nineties without some punk removing the chrome and seats. No one had put a God awful Corvair or Porsche motor in her. The dash hadn't been cut for some dumb radio or had a fan screwed into it. Over all it was pretty good. It wouldn't stay that way out here though. A couple years of sitting under mossy oaks and Tallahassee rain would wear her down and take her away.

"I got here just in time, didn't I?"

He rubbed the roof with his hand and wondered if he could save another V.W. He hadn't done a car in a long time but he'd never found a bus that wasn't ruined. He heard a moan and the dog ran off to the other side of the house. Roscoe followed the sound and the dog to the far side of the porch. He rounded the corner and saw something, it took a minute for the form to be clear in his mind. A woman was unconscious on her back covered in ant bites and leaves and he hurried to her once he realized it was a person. He got up and moved the ants away from her with his foot. He could smell dog droppings and cleared a wide path around her before he realized she was exposed.


He back stepped away from her and looked again. There was no mistaking that auburn triangle of hair and the white legs spread open to the whole world. He turned and ran back to his car. He opened the hood on the front of his 56 bug, careful not to hit it on the old chrome bumper. There was a blanket he used to lay on when he worked on the car. He reached in the car and grabbed a gallon jug of water (he carried with him to drink) and an old towel from the back seat (to sit on for hot days). He ran back to the woman who was moaning again. Pulled out a cell phone (his daughter had bought for him) and called 911.

"I need an ambulance! I found a hurt woman on Laga Way off of April Road in between St. Augustine and Apalachee Parkway! Hurry shes unconscious and shes got a broke leg and she ain't wearing no damn pants! Never mind! Y'all hurry!

 He rushed back to her side, knelt down to help her, and checked her pulse. She was breathing well and her color was good. He had a habit of sticking his tongue to the right side of his mouth when he was working. Her left leg looked broken by the hip, but other than that she was fine. He poured water on her legs and wiped them off with the towel. He covered her privates and body with the blanket. He moved around in front of her wiping the bugs, dirt and droppings off of her, all the while biting his tongue out the side of his mouth. He was in between her legs kneeling and sprinkling water on her, in a mad rush to get all the ants off. In all his hurry, he spilled water on his crotch and instinctively wiped between his legs as Gretna finally came to.

Gretna awoke to Roscoe kneeling between her legs, biting his tongue and rubbing his man parts while looking down at her. It took a minute for the fog to leave her and slowly the horror of her new situation overrode the pain and she began to scream and so did Roscoe.

Roscoe looked down and then at the lady and then he realized what he was doing and why she was screaming. It was gusty and had looked like rain all day. He felt a breeze come up and the blanket floated up and her business was once again out in the open. She was still screaming and Roscoe was trying to form words but all he could think to do was cover her. He pushed the blanket down and now his hand was between her legs. She screamed louder


Roscoe was in a full blown panic and he pulled his hand away from her crotch and stood up. The blanket once again picked up in the wind. He stamped his foot to push it back down and she screamed from pain. She kept screaming as Roscoe motioned to her with his hands, to calm down. He was saying "wait" over and over but she just screamed. She tried to move but the broken leg hurt more than ever and as she twisted, a cramp welled up in her gut. She farted loudly and it startled her and Roscoe. She stopped screaming for a second and Roscoe looked down (perplexed) and then back at her face.

Get off me.!!!!.....

Gretna passed out again, so Roscoe ran to the car and retrieved a few wrenches and ran back. He knelt down and covered  her back up with the blanket and placed the wrenches on it, to keep it from blowing back up. He sat down in a heap and tried to catch his breath.

"Sweet Lord!"

 He leaned back on his hands, as his chest rose and fell, shaking from adrenalin and fear.

"Good God! What did I get myself into?"

He heard the sirens and moved to his right and leaned up against a tree. He looked around for ant piles and realized (after the smell hit him) that he was covered in dog mess. He wiped his face with a hanky and closed his eyes to breath.