Things you see at bus stops – on the night bus – 14-part 1

One black tap shoe, black ribbon fraying, curling back into the secret shoe interior.
It’s partner nowhere to be seen.
I put my hand inside, tap a little 1 and 2 and 3 and think of Charlie Chaplin.

A woman, hair and most of her face hidden, covered by Hijaab.
Her heavy eye make up is running, a trail of glittery green which vanishes into the heavy fabric.
A tear falls from her eye and looking more closely, I understand that her veil is sodden from crying.

Slumped against the back panel of the bus stop, her hand runs absently along the metal mesh of the empty seats, until her fingers find something, hard, plastic, unexpected.
She looks carefully and her hand jerks back in surprise.
A pair of false teeth.
She runs her tongue against her own teeth, furry from too many cigarettes, smoked too late at night,sticky with an ill-considered double baileys.
She wonders if these teeth, the ones almost in her hand would be clean, minty, fresh.
She imagines biting into a sharp green apple with someone else’s teeth.

He knows he is very drunk, has that careful, mannered walk of a drunk trying to fool himself into sobriety. He has the bus stop in his sights now, deep breath, onto the home straight. He sighs with relief and then looks down and finds that he has fallen into a very old joke.
Next to him is a chicken, matching him step for step, same upright but slightly off kilter walk is a chicken.
They arrive at the bus stop together and with the terrible logic only found at the end of very long nights he watches the chicken cross the road.

2 girls sit back to back on the red plastic chairs at the night bus stop. They lean into each other, keeping each other warm. One is half asleep, eyes almost closed. She is humming the last track they heard at the club, still lost in music and the smell of sweat and fading perfume on her partners skin. The other girl is awake, watching the boys, waiting for the bus, watching her.

The pantomime horse is drooping now, weighed down by the heat of fake fur and tired of trying to talk through the mesh of the horse heads.
The front hopes that the north bound bus will come first and that he can convince the back end to come back to his place.


About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

8 responses to “Things you see at bus stops – on the night bus – 14-part 1

  • tottnm

    I enjoyed this, am warming to your writing. Will try to work out the numbers.

  • tottnm

    No thanks, I think that will emerge. What intrigues me is your rather erratic use of the apostrophe. Some people don’t like being corrected – are you one?

  • tottnm

    “it’s” means “it is”, not “belonging to it”, which is “its”. “mothers’ ” means “of the mothers”; “of the mother” is “mother’s”. If you knew all this already it must just be rather regular typos. Enjoyed the e—–a.


    • cathi rae

      Thank you …
      Sadly my iPad refuses to recognise the first usage type and periodically repairs these to the ownership not the construction use.
      Would love to see your work.
      Have a lovely day

  • Stephen Wright

    The scoring star system cannot cope with four and a half stars. I’m not sure, but I think a previous responder/commenter is confused by you numbering each story, looking forward to number 15. This one is up with your best.

  • Stephen Wright

    Oops, just seen half stars are possible – or is that the blog averaging out scores… ?
    I’m old, what do I know??

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