Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Bus Stops Here - #FridayFlash

This is a minor character from my NaNoWriMo WIP.

The last of the group made their way up the three steps and onto the bus. Thomas shut the door and studied the happy faces behind him from the rearview mirror. Like kids on a field trip. He hoped he could still summon that kind of excitement at their age. The youngest of the lot was 75.

The Sun and Fun Retirement Home had chartered this trip up the mountain for a day at the casino on the reservation. Thomas would earn time and a half as their driver. Maybe a few tips as well. He really needed the money but, after a restless night with little sleep, he didn’t feel well. In fact, the pleasant greetings from his passengers annoyed him. Nothing was fine about today, as one old woman had remarked. Nothing was fine about his life, when it came right down to it.

The gears ground as Thomas shoved the old bus into first, pulling away from the curb with a slight sway and shudder. As they made their way up the hill, he tuned out the excited chatter, turned his thoughts to Jenny instead.

The bitch didn’t deserve both house and alimony – she was the one who left. Normally, he didn’t spend time dwelling on the inequities, but for the last few days he couldn’t seem to think of anything else.

The dark mood started right after the accident in the store, when he got the stitches. Thomas brushed his fingertips against the bandage gingerly, although it didn’t hurt. He still had a headache; nothing seemed to touch it, not even the pills the doc prescribed for him. He hadn’t told his employer either, since the bottle said “do not drive.”

None of that had anything to do with his present state of mind. On any given day, Thomas could stuff his depression into a dark corner, ignore it and move on. Not so for the last four days, when an unfocused revenge dogged his every step.

As the bus wound around the last steep curve to reach the top, clarity breached Thomas’ thoughts. He knew what he had to do. The bitch wouldn’t get any more alimony out of him.

Laughter gave way to stunned silence in those first few moments. The bus jerked hard to the right. The tires left the pavement. Then the screaming started.

Thomas watched the view change from clouds to rocks as the bus nosedived on its way to a flip. His mad grin widened. He thought about the time he executed a belly flop in much the same way. It had been painful, too. Then his head hit the wheel. Thomas missed the rest of the action.

The bus didn’t make it all the way to the bottom. It landed on the road some 1500 feet below the top. No one lived to give thanks for that small mercy. The resultant explosion took care of that.

©2009 Laura Eno