This character emerged when role modelling out a writing exercise to a group of Yr 9 students – the task, write about a character on the night bus.
I’m not quite sure where it’s going, but this is very much a first draft of a first idea of a fragment of something.
Distance is important in the nightbus, don’t get too close, this time of night, things can get messy.
So that man, he’s six, seven seats behind you, you notice him when you’re checking the bus, watching out for obvious mentalists, men alone, carrying the anger of a bad night out.
First glance, you think, office worker, back from a jolly, missed the bus, missed the tube.
Stuck on the night bus
And this is the good bus, good choice – the 12.30 bus, post pubs, pre clubs, quiet, safe, warm.
Him, the man behind you, he shouldn’t be on this bus though, it’s not right, not with his neat grey suit and his briefcase and little metal glasses.
He should be at home, tucked up, telly, glass of wine, a dent in the sofa in the place he always sits.
And then you look more carefully, pay attention,feel the image start to unravel. His feet are sticking out, sticking into the aisle and he’s got no socks on and there’s newspaper sticking out at the heel and the toes.
That’s night bus territory, you almost nod ” One of us” and you stroll, dead casual down the bus, past him, but you get a good look.
The suit is frayed, shiny with dirt, stiching fraying at the collar and cuffs, no button left on the suit jacket.
His glasses are bent, badly mended with a filty sticking plaster, but the lens are surprisingly clean, clear, the eyes behind them calm, quiet, almost friendly.
The briefcase is open, gaping and you see a tangle of twisted wire scavenged from skips, 3 or 4 flattened coke cans and a little stack of cigarette butts.
You get off at your stop, stretch, light a fag for the walk home.
The bus is halted at the trafic lights when you pass, and there he is, staring out of the window.
Going nowhere, riding the nightbus.