Short Realistic Fiction
It was a perfect day for resting in a heated tub or relaxing on an overstuffed chair, blanketed by a familiar novelist.
The late autumn air had brought a chill plus it had within the previous hour, sprinkled briefly and left the roads slick with dew.
A sweater or jacket was needed but most sun lovers still clung to their tee shirts and cut –off jeans.
That afternoon, I arrived at an isolated spot wanting to catch the bus that routed along the Parkway and at the Western edge of a huge park where the iron fencing was bent and broken down by the innumerable bodies of men passing through it in pursuit of an evening of throaty blow and stranger sex.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, I left the Historic Society’s Brownstone and walked up the sloping hill towards the bus stop.
While looking at the bus schedule which listed the arrival of the next bus in fifteen minutes, I thought to venture to the stop at the very end of the park and about a quarter of a mile away.
Two blocks from my starting point, my feet complained to my back and my head warned my backside to turn aside before I stumbled from pain and exhaustion to miss the bus but I pushed on to the spot.
Feet hurting causing my back and head to throb terribly, so much that I leaned my old self against the part of the fence that was still erect and had not been very much manhandled, as I watched for the scheduled bus.
At first, I thought the approaching figure was a woman because of the thin silhouette but the long, wide gait suggested differently.
The stride was too stiff and too long to be a woman’s.
Whoever or whatever was storming towards me with a vengeance so I watched with curious alarm.
About a block down from where I was leaning, I spied him coming out of a break in the fence and filing across the empty boulevard in my direction.
Thinking, how I wished that I hadn’t ventured out so far from the more populated spot as he came clearly into view.
From a distance of about 200 feet, I noticed the kidney shaped cheeks that ballooned out from the sides of his face and also that he walked like Wyatt Earp gunning for Ike at the O K corral.
Extremely thin, as I could see the background through his slightly bowed thighs. His black jeans were a tall, loose fixed, size 34.
He wore grey canvas high-top crocs sneakers. On his bony arms were fading blue tattoos and nothing else where the loose skin hung and muscle had long since fled.
He stopped his march inch for inch and stance for stance, directly in front of me as I had come to an alert, erect attention as he came near.
Not next to me, not to the left of me, not to the right of me but directly in front of and in my line of vision, blocking the street, the trees and the sidewalk from my sight. So, close that I could smell his frequented sex.
I wanted to put my hand out to ensure my space but something told me that he was not wrapped tightly enough, so I perched myself since there was no one but me in all directions.
To myself I thought,” Why stand in front of me when there’s a mile of empty space around us?
What’s this about?
And finally, I answered myself with, “Some things not right in space, Will Robinson!”
I chuckled with disgust of my own precarious situation with this thought, “How do all the nuts find me?”
Do I have a sign on my forehead asking, “If you are crazy or cracked, join me”
Standing so close and with his back to me was as a wall of offense, unnerving and quite alarming so I was posed for action or anything.
I planted it in my right hand and dropped my bag on the tilted fence to my left, just in case.
I am too old to still win fights but at least everyone would see that I had stated my case in blood.
I knew only one thing, if he turned towards me the file was going to be the last thing he ever saw out of that eye.
So I prayed, “Lord, don’t let me have to hurt this man. Let this foolishness pass and let him be still, so I don’t have to hurt anyone, today.”
Waiting, for whatever, I scanned his back for any turning movements. In neon metallic grey letters on the back of his tee shirt were written- It takes a bitch, bitch!
To which I thought, “Oh shit, that hag, don’t know the half of what it means to be bitch!”
But before I could stop my mouth, it said, ”Bitch, my ass, Wannabe!”
His head jerked around like someone had just slapped his face and I heard his fingers snap the air, signifying, as the bus rolled up and in front of the two of us just as the imitation of a woman was about to be microwaved.
He moved onto the bus with a flurry of motions and exaggerated body contortions while I released my nail file into my pant pocket and grabbed my bag.
As I dug in my purse for the fare, I wondered if I’d ever get the chance to show the hag a thing or two about being a real, certified, bitch.
To be in the pussycat club, a certified one has had to have dropped some blood, first and must have graduated from a monthly period to having the life sucked out of you via your breast, day and night, then have your ass on fire from fucking, giving birth and receiving swift kicks from the same creatures that exited from the afore-mentioned ass.
“Could you please stop “bitching” in the morning while they demand a hot breakfast, while being alerted to the fact that you could lose a few pounds, if you really tried?”
“Could you loan them a few dollars because they are short this week?”
After all that, your mate thinks, he needs a break from you and the creatures he helped create because.
He has lost his Mo’ Jo to the 9 to 5 impotent grinds.
Then haggardly hag, you too, can be a certified one, only with a vengeance, Honey!
He climbed onto the very crowded bus and bounded straight to the back and to the only available seat and only a child could fit in.
I watched him as he went like a guided missile through all the female passengers hanging on steel straps, to that one, tiny seat.
It looked like all the men were seated and all the working, tired were standing.
Not intimidated by him, I followed him and stood a few feet to his left, to watch and bide my time.
Almost immediately, he started with his shit talking to everyone and especially the women.
He winded in falsetto with,” You mustn’t bring baby carriages onto the bus cause people have to stand and people can’t get around them,” as the women pushed themselves and their children pass the sitting thing.
Then as the bus careened, he shouted out, “Easy on the gas, driver the road is messed up, go easy!”
All the while, the other passengers and I hung like bats as the bus jerked in and out of traffic and dollar vans, as he sang out in choking fashion, ”I have no friends cause I’m a pretty boy.
Everyone‘s jealous of me ‘cause as you can see, “I’m pretteee.”
The bus exploded with teeth sucking women.
He stiffen his already hard spine and he indignantly asked the roof of the bus while rolling his eyes, “Uh, you hear dem skinning up dem teeth at me?”
No one said a word, the men were busy looking at their phones and the floor and the women stared and rolled their eyes in unison and derision towards the hag.
Breaking the tense air, he burst forward with, “Poor Whitney, poor little rich, Whitney, dead and gone, what a shame.”
“People, so jealous of beauty!”
Rolling his small frame around like a piped serpent with his flapping eyelids at the same time like a human wave of desperation, bullshit and confusion. I waited for the hags’ rendition of, “I’m Every Woman” but that song didn’t play that day.
Instead he reared back and belted in a winding Calypso voice, “I know what the boy’s dem want.”
When a squeaky voice from the front bus broke through the hag’s spell with, “Jesus, Jesus, don’t tarry, this world is full of meanness and wickedness.”
The man- hag decided to argue to the voice, “Who dem say wickedness, Meee?
Leaning to his right with his bent waist and fingers touching his chest, he cried in falsetto with upturned lips, “Ohm, all dem go da church ain’t righteous!”
“Uh, yep. Before dem cry Jesus, dem done fucked for the Devil, first!”
I said to myself,” Uh, oh, boy, here it comes. The devil was just waiting for the opportunity to lay someone low and with some shade, added.
I looked at the super senior who had just voiced the prayer and watched as the other woman quietly admonished her to leave him alone.
Sneakily saying with their hands flapping downward, “Don’t say nothing he’ll get tired and go away. ”
“Hush, hush, just let him be, Man, don’t boddar him, he crazzzy!”
Her taut mouth and rigid posture was like a rebuking wall to the frighten women.
She looked to be at least 85, her feet didn’t reach the floor but there were no wrinkles on her face except for her hand and neck.
She wore no make-up, no lipstick, only a pair of old gold earrings and an old straw like hat or bonnet.
She wasn’t more than four feet nine and had the frame of a small girl but when she spoke her voice was that from way back, old times.
The bus women warned her not to make a fuss about him and on and on.
She bowed her head and raised her withered, nutmeg colored hand for them to stop. Slapping her two old hands together, she slowly raised her gravel voice in a song. “Won’t somebody tell me, answer me if you can, what is the soul of a man?”
By that time, the whole bus was a still night in a cemetery.
I was stunned so I just stopped, inadvertently held my breath, leaned and listened.
She sang a question, “I’m gonna ask somebodies child a question, you answer if you can, I’ve traveled to foreign lands and nobody to tell me, what is man that God should consider him?”
It was as if a bomb had hit instead of her voice which was so rich, so strong and clear that I felt like Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood and The Clark Sisters were backup singers to this woman.
I looked to the hag but his mouth was hanging open like a hole in space or the time continuum.
His eyes pensively staring inward as the voice rose in prayer.
Abruptly springing up, he grabbed hold of the mental strap, pressed the tape and escaped, a banshee running from the dawning light.
Photograph by Mariona Campmany