About Bus Stories
Author: Sean Michael
Word Count: 13600
Page Count (pdf): 50
Date Published: May 17
Publisher: Sean Michael
Series name and number: n/a
The image of two men spark six different scenarios in this Sean Michael classic.
Jonathon and Benny get on the bus separately, but are clearly together as Benny wears a tattoo on his neck that is the exact match for Jonathon’s scarring. What follows are six short stories that each explore a different tale of why they got on the bus and where they go from there.
Originally published in the Bus Stories anthology and released as a stand-alone by a different publisher.
Okay, so I was on the bus, right?
And this guy stomps on, so pissed off that you can smell the anger, you know? Body-building kid, blond and buzz-cut, fucking melt in your chair blue eyes. He’s got the whole package, you know? Worn khakis, plaid button-down with the sleeves cut off, combat boots. Neat enough to suggest that he chooses to dress this way instead of has to, but not a poser. Sweaty, nostrils flaring, sheer fucking primal man.
He stomps on, walks down and sits, staring out the window. He’s got some odd scarring on his cheeks, but his neck is badly carved up — interesting and rough edged — this doesn’t have the intent of razor work or even that fabulous somehow snake-like violence that knife wounds leave. This is a mark of an accident.
At any rate, the bus toodles on and heads toward the next stop. There’s this skinny guy, holding a skateboard, running in the sun like the hounds of hell are after his ass.
He makes the bus, steps up — boarder all way: orange and purple spiky hair, eyebrow and lip pierced, tats, t-shirt, baggy jeans, canvas tennies — bright red and panting. He’s searching through his pockets — no change. The bus driver (a big old black man who maybe has smiled three times in his entire life and all three of those were during blowjobs) barks at him to get off and the kid just sort of blinks and a couple of tears start and he turns to get off the bus.
The big guy sighs, stands up, pays the kid’s fare without a word and takes the kid’s transfer. He walks back and sit in a 3 seat row and the kid sits beside him — not one word. The big guy looks out the window, the boarder sniffling.
Then the kid (although they were about the same age) turns his head. The kid has a tat on his neck the same size/shape as the big guy’s scar.
Pretty fucking cool, huh?
And so the Bus Stories were born. Six different tales that all begin in the same place.
Bus Story One
Jonathon was going to kick Benny’s ass.
Kick it hard and brutal until that thieving, lying, lazy, ungrateful, selfish little son of a bitch landed into next week. Maybe next month. Maybe next fucking…
Benny sniffled again and he made the fatal mistake of looking down.
The only thing that broke his heart faster than those big eyes filled with tears was seeing those big eyes looking up at with that blind fucking faith.
He handed Benny the bandana out of his back pocket. “Stop it, Benny. Right now. We’re fixing to have to get off at the transfer center and I don’t want you getting your ass kicked. That’s my job.”
“‘m sorry, Jonathon,” Benny told him for what felt like the five millionth time. He dabbed at his eyes and then blew his nose on the bandana before handing it back. “‘m sorry.”
Johnathon tucked the bandana away and shook his head. He needed to stop at the payphone at the 7-11 and call Momma and ask if he could come do laundry this weekend. If they spent the day, that’d be a whole day of meals they wouldn’t have to buy. Hell, Benny was looking skinny enough; she might buy a bill of groceries. Maybe. “I know, Benny. Just let it be for now. Let’s go home, ‘kay?”
Benny sniffed again and nodded his head. A soft, brief touch slid against Jonathon’s arm, just above his elbow and then the kid was clutching his board with both hands.