The driver accelerated, and the bus belched loudly before Tucker could find his feet. This was the first time he'd ridden a bus, and already he knew that it would be the last.
Luckily he'd grabbed a pair of grab handles in time after putting the spare change in his coat pocket. Luckily, he thought; the scene betrayed his thoughts: he did not wish to be here, and yet he held onto the grab handles, the cold, metal cylinders as though his life depended on it.
He seated himself in a double-seat with deceptive coushions, for they were not coushions at all but empty bags of hard felt with patterns upon them that looked like vomit. Behind his kneecaps he could feel the metal frame, lined with jagged bolts, protuding. It was not pleasant, but at least he did not need to sit beside anyone.
Somewhere to his left there lived what seemed a fourteen year old mother and her toddler. Poor child, he thought. And from the back of the bus he heard the pair of men laughing and bickering that he'd noticed earlier. He could not recall their faces, but he'd seen the shadows snickering when handing over his five pound note at the counter: one held a donut, and the other was asking if he could try some.
They argued still, loudly:
"Come on, give me a little, just a little."
"Are you retarded? Buy one yourself."
"You didn't buy it yourself, fuckin' dickchop! I'll make you give it' me."
"Try it, then."
There was some mumbling before:
"I heard they'd chopped off Old Crab's clit and left it in' middle, with her bloody tampon."
"Ah," heard Tucker. "Bastard."
"Old Crab's bloody, cheesy clit!"
At that loud footfalls fell behind him. A body came swinging through the bus. Tucker caught sight of a clenched fist with red jam ejaculating through sticky, sugary knuckles and onto the floor. The apish form seated itself one ahead of Tucker, and ate. The slurping and chomping, and between that the strenuous intakes of breath through a severly clogged nasal, was audible, even over the terrible noise of the bus.
Without looking, Tucker felt the man turn, his fixation likely upon his friend in the back seats.
"Snooze ya lose ya dopey fuckin' prick," he shouted, in the rhythmic timing of a winning jest.
The remark seemed to implode from somewhere within Tucker's skull. 'Snooze ya lose'? The familiar phrase had no relevance to the act of stealing one's donut through use of unpleasant imagery, and yet it seemed inplausible to Tucker that the context could escape him, that such an expression could exist as an inside joke between such morons, and that he could not grasp their intended meaning. Perhaps it meant nothing at all; perhaps it was a failed attempt at sounding ballsy and shrewd, an attempt that to the bus, not only the speaker, was accomplished, for there was no one to challenge him, the innappropriate use of words, or the needlessness for such profanity...
Curiousity overcame Tucker. He looked up -- just a glance, he thought -- he looked up, up at the human being that knelt waiting, facing the back of the bus, eating open-mouthed with amusement, the donut between his teeth like naked bleeding flesh in a washing machine, the texture of his grey skin like damp tissue paper wrapped too tightly around a deflated football with black stubble crawling above like lice in the undulation of his seat and the smacking of thick bubbling lips.
The low morning sun fell through the windows, and for a split second he saw her face in his -- a female face he'd seen earlier, drowning in tears mascara and semen. Yes, she was unattractive too. Tucker liked that; he liked her thick, bubbling lips. A beautiful face is a normal one. The nose of an attractive human being is neither too small or too large; the lips are not thick or thin; the cheekbones are not high or sunken: by extension Tucker could never help but equate beauty with boredom, or nothing. And though he'd had always been capable of noticing beauty, or the common conception of it, it had never aroused him.
But the actress faded. The Donut Eater, and reality, reappeared. He felt no arousal, only an urge to be sick.
With the risk of being noticed looming Tucker looked away quickly, feigning an interest in his fingernails. He nibbled at them. The short glimpse was enough for Tucker to deduce his character. He was one to spend his days playing with his computer, calling his fellow primates no-lives and being called a faggot by angry American counterparts; he spent his time browsing day time television, laughing into the familiar looking glass whenever his kind were degraded and objectified for their unemployment; he did nothing but drink beer and wank.
The eating stopped. And then Tucker felt it; he didn't need to look, but he could feel the eyes of the man upon himself. It was horrifying to him.
What do you want? he wanted to ask, but didn't. He started to panic, but maintained eye-contact with his chewed fingernails. Why are you staring at me? I'm nothing to do with you. His heart fluttered and flayed inside. What are you expecting? I don't care. With a feverish hand he smeared at his cheeks. You want me to laugh at your joke? Tucker heard him inhale, or try. It was disgusting. That's it, isn't it. Yeah, I won't laugh. Please go away. Please.
He looked to his left. The teen-mum, oblivious or indifferent to foul language in the presence of her offspring played intently with her mobile phone. The child (Tucker could not determine its gender) was staring at himself. It raised a soft hand with small pink fingers that opened and closed, straining like a flower for sunlight.
It said "come on, give me just a little," and its hand folded away. From it formed a curled index finger that prodded from afar at Tucker's face.
© Copyright 2017 Geoff T Metcalfe . All rights reserved.
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