Episode 21 – The Bus

I’m waiting in front of my building. See the yellow bus turn the corner and pull in front of my building. My outfit’s sort of a sell-out…school logo hoodie, white ruffled shirt, maroon velvet trousers and black loafers. It’s definitely not perfect. The hoodie’s a discordant element, but hey, I’m walking a fine line…don’t want to risk a second suspension.

Immediately, I see Scott and Max pressing their faces against the window…mouthing nasty shit like: “You fucking queer! No Hooker’s allowed!” Kissing the window. “Oh, Hunter! Blow me!” My heart sinks…I hear shouts. “You gotta see this. What a flaming asshole!” Multiple faces peer out every window…the driver’s struggling to keep order.

As I climb in, the slurs and catcalls are deafening. The guys are going crazy…but not the girls. They definitely sympathize with me. For some reason, Max appears in the aisle. Offers me a seat. No fucking way I’ll sit there, but got to get past him to reach Chloe and my friends. “No thanks,” I say…suddenly he grabs my shoulders and rams his knee in my nuts. Blinding pain shoots up my body. I stagger forward. See something flying out of nowhere….a sandwich splatters against my hoodie…gooey mayo’s dripping down. I try desperately to brush it away, but instantly, there’s a fucking bombardment…a food fight with me as the target…guys are cackling like fucking demons. I’m in agony…bobbing and weaving to avoid the onslaught… a fucking mess. Yell at the driver: “Stop the bus!” And he does, gladly.

I charge down the aisle…another fucker tries to trip me, but I kick the shit out of his leg….scramble off the bus blinded by flashing cell phones. As it pulls away, I stand on the curb, heart pounding…relieved to escape from the fucking animals, but still in mortal pain. Check my nuts. They’re so swollen, I can’t tell much, but at least they’re there. I’m probably sterile, but in one piece.

Can’t believe my day’s deteriorated into a total nightmare. I’m a fucking mess…stained everywhere…butter, mustard, jello, yogurt! Jesus! Not sure what to do. Can’t bear the shame of going home. Figure I’ll sit in the park until everybody’s gone…take refuge in the apartment and get cleaned up. People stare as they walk by. Obviously think I’m a street person, maybe an addict or something. I feel like crying…seriously. What a fucking disaster!

I limp into the park…worried my nuts are ruined…actually, my dick’s not great either. Shit! Flop onto a secluded bench and chill. Cease caring what I look like. It’s pointless trying to be me…the cool fashionista! What a joke! Hours pass. A bag lady sits on the adjoining bench..catch a whiff of urine. Normally, I’d take off, but who am I kidding. She looks better than me.

“Want a cigarette?” She croaks. Opens a cracked arthritic hand, revealing three half-smoked butts…take one. What the fuck! Look into her face…old, crinkly…gray curls spilling from a rag around her head. She smiles…creases radiate from her eyes.

“Thanks, Mam,” I say. She hands me matches and I light up. Never smoke, but have nothing better to do.

“You sick?” She asks, glancing at my clothes.

I shake my head. “No. I got attacked.”

“Oh Lord!” she exclaims. “Are you hurt?”

I shrug. Obviously, have no desire to share details.

She studies me sadly…eyes deeply concerned, then digs around in her garbage bag. Pulls out a bottle of Poland Spring water. It’s only half full…have no idea if it’s the real deal. “Wanna drink?”

Wonder if I’ll get infected or something, but I’m really thirsty. Don’t want to act like a snob. Take a sip. It’s totally fine.

“Keep it,” she says. “You’re a nice boy.”

I study her face. Nobody’s ever been so spontaneously nice. It’s impossible to tell her age…forty, seventy? “You don’t need to do that,” I say, handing it back.

She won’t take it. “It’s for you.”

I stuff it in my pocket. She grins happily…reveals a bunch of missing teeth, but my heart goes out to her.

We sit in silence. I don’t want to go home. I love my sister Ava…but my parents, and school, are too much. Can’t believe the kids treated me like a fucking leper!

Suddenly, I want to get rid of everything…backpack, books, pens, all the bullshit…every symbol of my life. Empty my pockets, except for forty bucks. Toss everything in the nearest trash. Fuck everybody! Split the forty bucks with the street lady and head off. Gotta clean up…feel disgusting. Find a park bathroom and stand in front of the sink trying to get all the shit off. People glance at me like I’m a twisted freak, but I could care less. The ruffled shirt’s stained every color of the rainbow, so I yank it off…trash it. The hoodie’s enough.

To be continued….Read next episode!