The Driver on the Bus

By Foster Trecost

They must want me to feel important, why else would they stack my seat so high? But it don’t work. I don’t feel even a little bit important.

I like the early morning folks best. I call them the Five-O’clockers. Like me, they’re wearing uniforms with names on the pocket–they always put the names nobody cares about in plain sight. When they get on, they don’t look at me because they don’t want me looking at them. We’re all a little bit embarrassed but still, I know their names and they know mine. The Eight-O’clockers get on my nerves. Neckties and perfect hair, smelling like too much cologne. They don’t care who I am but they look right at me. So proud of themselves, just hoping I look back, but I don’t.

My boss thinks he knows how long my route should take and he’s always hiding some guy on the corner with a stopwatch. I get a report every month, says I’m never on time. The Five-O’clockers don’t say nothing. It’s the Eight O’clockers always complaining.

How many times I got to say exact fare only? What I want to say is buy a pass. If someone takes the bus twice a day, why don’t they just buy a pass? But I say what I’m supposed to say: Busses don’t give change. I guess he won’t be buying the fancy coffee. I guess he’ll just have to drink the regular stuff like the rest of us.

Now this little girl’s staring at me. “What do you want?”

She looks at her mom. “Why doesn’t he say it?”

Her mom looks at me. “She wants you to say Move on back.”

“That’s right,” says the kid. “The driver on the bus says Move on Back, like the song.”

They don’t pay me enough for this. “Go sit down!”

She starts to cry and her mom says I’m a mean man, but I don’t say nothing, I just point to the sign: Do Not Speak To The Driver.

More Eight-O’clocker’s, all lined up. Someone says good morning, but I don’t look. I never look.

“I said good morning,” he says again.

You can take your good mornings to work because there’s nothing good about

mine.

“Can you hear? Good morning!”

No need to shout because I can hear just fine and I can see just fine. And I don’t

like none of it. I don’t even like the smell of it. “Move on back,” I mumble.

“Excuse me?”

Now I’m pissed-off. “The driver on the bus says move on back!”

If they stacked my seat any higher, my head would hit the ceiling. But the truth is, they can’t stack it high enough.

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Foster Trecost writes stories that are mostly made up. They tend to follow his attention span: sometimes short, sometimes very short. Recent work appears in Potato Soup Journal, Right Hand Pointing, and BigCityLit. He lives near New Orleans with his wife and dog.

Editor