Your Ticket Please

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
It was an average wet night in Flag Staff, but Tom was uneasy about the bus ride to Tucson. Did he have reason to be?

Submitted: November 26, 2016

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Submitted: November 26, 2016

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Tom had boarded this bus from Flagstaff many times, but this time it made him feel uneasy. Maybe it was the fact that he hadn't slept in the last twenty hours, or had not eaten for that matter.

Tom did manage to stop at the vending machine in the bus depot's lobby, but all there was, was stale looking little doughnuts. But hay, they resembled food so he bought a package of the chocolate covered ones and wolfed them down before the bus started boarding.

He didn't want to admit it, but Tom's uneasiness may have been due to the fact that it was the holidays and he was going to be away from the family this year.

But business is business and sometimes you have to grab the brass ring when no-one else wants to be on the merry-go-round.

 

The bus Tom boarded travels from Flagstaff to Tucson, Arizona, then back again.

Tom's potential client was stuck in Tucson due to a banking glitch and Tom saw the man’s delay as an opportunity. He could take an easy bus trip to Tucson while grabbing some much needed sleep during the ride. Doing that would leave Tom well rested and fit to wine and dine the guy when he got there.

Opportunities to make some points with a big named potential client doesn't happen every day, so Tom needed to grab that ring before the guy boarded the flight to China.

If he could secure a client like that, then Tom would have connections to many more potentials along the way.

 

Tom settled back in a seat near the window and looked out to the wet, cold, bus terminal. The raindrops were trickling down the window and Tom was thinking how nice it was that he didn't have to drive in that weather.

A little wisp of a woman, somewhere in her sixties, took the seat next to Tom.

"Hi, I'm Laverne," she said with a sleigh little smile.

Tom grunted a response and closed his eyes while trying not to begin a conversation; --- he soon fell asleep.

 

Some time later Tom was awakened by the sound of air-brakes and people saying something about a man on the highway.

Tom looked out the window and saw an Indian man and his squaw holding up a bus ticket. They soon boarded the bus and took seats behind the driver.

Laverne asks Tom, "Do Indians do that all the time, you know, get on the bus in the middle of nowhere?"

Tom replied as quickly as possible, he was hoping to answer the woman and then get back to sleep. So he stated, "This is not unusual on this bus route. There are Indian reservation lands along this highway and they have a unspoken agreement with the drivers that if they buy a ticket to go the full length of the route, which is the only ticket that they can get at the depot, then the drivers will let them keep their tickets when they get off in the middle of the route.

The drivers will stop for them anywhere along this route if they see a ticket being held in the air.

The drivers will then take the ticket when they get back on the bus to return to the city. It is a win, win, for Indian and Bus Company alike."

Laverne mumbled, "OH," while eating little doughnuts and drinking something from a Thermos. From the looks of her top lip Tom thought that it might be milk.

With no further interruptions, Tom drifted back to sleep listening to the sounds of a kid's RAP music coming from some ear-pads that were leaking sound, and Laverne slurping milk.

 

Suddenly Tom was jolted awake by the fact that there were no sounds at all. No RAP music, no milk slurping, and no tires sounds on the wet pavement. There was only the gentle swaying of the bus as it traveled down the road.

Laverne wasn't in her seat, and as Tom looked around he saw that there was no-one on the bus. Not even a driver!

Tom slipped out of his seat and as he was about to move toward the front of the bus someone said, "Ticket please!"

Tom looked to his left only to see a boy dressed in a driver's uniform and the kid was asking for his ticket.

"Ticket, are you insane, where is the bus driver?" Tom blurted out while franticly looking around the bus.

"Why, I'm your driver sir, but I need your ticket or I'm not allowed to drive the bus," said another voice.

Tom knew that voice, it was Laverne and she was sitting in the bus driver's seat eating little doughnuts and drinking from her Thermos.

That is when Tom realized that the motion of the moving bus had stopped.

"Ticket please!" Laverne said while taking another bite of a doughnut.

"I'm not giving you my ticket, so I guess you will have to let me off this bus. Now open the door!" Tom demanded.

"Thank you for cooperating sir, you may be seated again," said the boy, now holding Tom's ticket.

"Hay, wait just a cotton-pick-in minute, I didn't have a ticket," Tom replied.

The bus started swaying again and Tom thought that he could hear the sound of the engines, very faintly.

"I got to think about this," Tom mumbled to himself as he sat back down in a seat.

"Now, I never got off of this bus so I can't be on a different bus. And all the passengers are gone. So maybe we arrive in Tucson and I slept while they departed; nah, that doesn't explain the kid and Laverne. Besides, the real driver took my ticket as we boarded in Flagstaff."

Tom sat there thinking for some time, and then said, "Ah, I'm asleep and having a stupid dream, that's it!"

With that said Tom closed his eyes and pinched himself real hard. "Ouch, that smarts," Tom stated as he opened his eyes.

The bus was full of people and Tom felt much better. Well, he felt better until he noticed that they were all Indians wearing Driver's uniforms and eating little donuts.

"Ticket Please!" 

(Pinch)

"Ouch!"

"Ticket Please!" 

"Ahhhhhhh ! (Pinch), Ouch!"

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

11-23-2016

2020


© Copyright 2020 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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