Friday, January 25, 2008

Taking The Bus Stories Chapter XXXVII: All My Convictions

"A twenty-two, four-ten over/under, huh? Sounds good? Need to get one of those."

It takes me a few seconds to decipher the subject of the wildly grinning man's energetic monologue on the #222 bus making the short trip from the South Valley Rail Runner stop to the Walmart on Coors. While he continues the phrase "twenty-two, four-ten over/under" and the bus driver interjects with "yeah" about five times in succession, I visit the brain vault of bad childhood memories and remember that "four-ten" is a gauge type for shotguns.

The wildly grinning man on the nearly empty #222 bus (just him, the driver and me) continues:

"Yeah and he was looking for a .38 snub-nose and I told him @%#% man those things are everywhere. I can get one of those anytime you want it. I like me some guns. I got 'em all over the house. And the .38 is really easy to get. Because of all my convictions I'm not supposed to have 'em, but that doesn't stop me. I really like guns.

"I like to carry the .38 because I have this leather trenchcoat. I used to wear it all the time when I was dealing crack, and the .38 would fit perfectly in the pocket, nice and smaller than my .357. Anyway, I wore that coat all the time and one time at this big time crackhouse, I mean big-time, like they sold $20,000 worth in, like, a night, I was wearing that coat and strapped, you know.

"And this guy sees my coat and he wants to take it. Really wants it. I was the only white guy selling crack and we're at this party, money everywhere and he talks about wanting that coat. And all these other guys at the party go up to him and say 'don't #%($ with this guy, he will shoot you &%$#%^%#$&^%'. Dude was spending his last twenty dollars and wants my coat. He was bigger than me and all, but you can't beat up a gun. You can't win that fight."

While the wildly energetic man catches his breath and laughs, the bus driver breaks in again with "uh-huh".

"Man, those were crazy times. Crazy. Don't know how I made it out of there. You know what it was. It was God. God is what it was, I certainly believe that. He got me out of there and he got me here. I believe it. I believe he's here right now. Really."

Then the wildly energetic man in the mustard yellow automotive overalls, giant smile full of equally wild teeth and sizable beard changes subjects as he pops up from his seat across me and heads for the bus driver.

Standing just behind his right shoulder now he tells the driver "You know, you're the only bus driver I talk to. You know that? I take the Atrisco bus every day and never say anything. But I like you. I look forward to this part of the day. I really do."

Having stared straight ahead without affect all the way from the Rail Runner stop, I see my stop along Rio Bravo, and hit the "stop requested" button.

On a bus of two riders it's pretty conspicuous, but I'd rather not interrupt the monologue and prefer the digitized bus voice speak for me. After some laughter and a "I didn't do that" from the wildly energetic man in the overalls, the bus slows, I scoot by the guy near the doors and sneak through them the nanosecond they begin to open.

"Thanks much" I say, leaving, though the wildly energetic guy has already started back up with something about "the desert in Texas". I don't think the driver really heard me.


Gerald said...

I think I've met the guy, or somone like him on the 66. Or, there's the guy who used to stand right behind the yellow line and tell the story of an accident where a man standing right behind the line flew through the windshield of the bus, landed on the street and walked away, never to be seen again. I never learned what city that happended in.

Kelsey Atherton said...

I hear more testimonials to the power of God on public transportation than I do anywhere else. It's remarkable, really.