Recently, I borrowed a thirty dollar Harry Potter book. That morning, I arrived at the bus stop and began to read the book which weighed at least five pounds. After reading only two paragraphs, my phone rang, and I placed Potter on the bench. When the bus arrived minutes later, he had vanished.
Now, while Miami might have some of the best criminals in the world, this made me doubt my mental stability. Son, you got to get up pretty early to sneak up on me and I was at a remote bus stop, where no one was nearby, and there was no way for them to sneak up on me if they were. I searched for the book so diligently that the bus driver and the passengers got off to help. It was never found, I now magically owe a friend thirty bucks, but at least I am a believer.
My next stop was to transfer buses at the downtown station. Normally I am so immersed in whatever book I’m reading I hardly register the transfers from bus to train and back to another bus. On this day, I was painfully aware of the entire reality of the process.
As the doors closed, and we attempted to pull away, we found ourselves looking into the bus stop at such a poor example of humanity that it was hard to tell where the greasy, grimy rags he wore stopped and where the shaggy, smelly man he was, began. The poor guy looked much like Cousin It and was totally covered with long, filthy hair. With a quickness that defied explanation, another such example of humanity appeared, Cousin It two, I suppose. Hairball number two began slamming hairball number one against the bus stop. He pounded and punched until, when released the jumbled mass of hair and filthy clothing crumbled to the sidewalk. We sat on the bus, helplessly watching as one old man beat another senseless and then after rifling his pockets, number one sprinted across the parking lot and disappeared.
If I had Harry’s wand, I may have been able to do something, but as it were, I simply watched in disbelief as the bus eased into traffic and moved away. The day was becoming stranger as it progressed.
Later, as the sun disappeared, I was standing at yet another bus stop waiting to return home. Somehow I was not surprised to notice a full moon hanging in the sky, holding court over the early evening.
For some reason I cannot fathom, the bus never actually stops at the bus stop. The riders have come to understand this concept and extend about twenty feet ahead of the stop in an attempt to be the first to board. Even with this, the bus passes them by and parks at least twenty feet ahead of the last person. Ah, the power of driving the bus instead of riding it.
So here was a gaggle of thirty various, assorted people stretched out over a forty foot area trying desperately to understand or adjust to a system which has no rhyme or reason. Suddenly another bum who desperately needed a bath, a haircut and something that more accurately resembled clothing appeared at the farthest end of the line. He smelled terrible; in fact, he smelled much like a dead deer does after lying on the side of a hot Georgia highway for a week, in the sun. Starting at one end, he stumbled down the line, harassing and bouncing off of many as he moved along undoubtedly leaving microscopic traces of smell, filth and things I’d rather not imagine on each one of us.
Where’s Potter when you need him?
Eventually he insulted enough people to start an argument. His opponent was a young man, who might have been otherwise invisible in the crowd, if not for the fact that he had only one arm. The ensuing argument, once started, was not ended by the arrival of the bus. Both boarded, the standing room only bus and continued to argue with several people standing between them. The fight got louder as the trip progressed and eventually broke out into a three fisted brawl.
Even Shakespeare or Mark Twain, could not have made up something this hilarious; I tried not to laugh because it certainly was not funny. Ok, scratch that, it was funnier than an old woman pooting during dinner. The fight eventually ended with a bum, a one armed man, a bus driver, several police officers and a crowd of people, some scared, some highly entertained, fighting and spilling out into the streets of downtown Miami.
Since Shakespeare did not witness this, I guess I’ll need to write the story. Should I call it, A Midnight Summer’s Bus Ride or A Miami Stankee In The Bus Driver’s Court or Harry Potty And The One Armed Gnome?