If I were a mystery writer the universe would have been handing me a story on a silver platter today.
I stood in the cool early morning waiting for the bus that takes me to the metro train station. The bus arrived seven minutes late. I got on the bus a little grumpy but wished the driver good morning anyway. Instead of replying good morning back, he said, “Miss, could you please sit at the front of the bus.” A surprising request but ok. I looked down the aisle to find a seat and saw the five people already on the bus were all sitting at the front too, no one in the back. Odd. Maybe there were mechanical problems?
The driver made the same request of the next person who got on the bus. And then a group of people got on and he asked the same. One of the people in the group was Mary, a woman who likes to sing hymns on the bus and praise Jesus and talk to someone loudly on a nonexistent cell phone. She ignored the driver and went and sat at the back of the bus. The driver became agitated, asking several times very loudly if she would please move forward on the bus. Mary completely ignored him. He began driving but kept looking back through his mirror at Mary, clearly worried. Then Mary sings out, “Praise Jesus!” a few times followed by “I’m not afraid of witchcraft!” Then she began talking on her imaginary phone about I couldn’t hear what. The driver continued to be upset that Mary would not move.
Finally we arrived at the train station and I got off the bus. The driver asked everyone to exit the bus. The man leaving in front of me said to the driver, “That was the longest ride to 38th Street I’ve ever had.” The driver replied, “I didn’t know that was back there until I started driving the bus.” What was at the back of the bus? There wasn’t any smell but obviously it was bad.
I stood on the platform waiting for the train and watching the bus driver. There was another bus on the way to replace this bus. While he waited to trade buses, he closed the bus doors and stood on the bus at the front looking down the aisle to the back. He’d pace around a little, open a window, close a window, then stand still looking at the back of the bus.
The replacement bus arrived at the same time my train did so I don’t know what happened after that. But I have been wondering all day, what was back there?
If you do write mysteries, feel free to take this story on the agreement that you have to tell me what ends up being at the back of the bus.