Morning Rush

A short story about the morning, trying to get a bus, and the panic that ensues when running late. Contains content which may offend.

Image Credit: 
© 2011 Sam Slattery / Used With Permission

Late for bus.

Bernie, ruddy and rotund, is outside on the stairwell, smoking a roll up. He splutters a hello and how are you, I say I’m fine but late for bus and rush on.

Bottom of the stairs. Have forgotten laptop charger. Back up, ruddy, out of breath and getting rotund. Grab charger, out door again. Quick, get that bus yells Bernie down the stairs as I nip out the back gate.

People in the way; always in the way when you’re late. Move across alleyway to avoid terrier on the left. Owner is young and angry-looking. Manoeuvre round old man with newspaper, avoid lady wielding one crutch out in-front as if impersonating dalek, step right to avoid man who is walking fast with head immersed in paperback (how can he walk so fast and read?).

No money in purse due to unscheduled pub stop last night. Wonder how this always results in nothing left, not even a penny. Bar tab? Maybe a bar tab, not sure.

Look up, bus is there, driver ready. Join shortest queue at cash machine, not reckoning on old lady in front not knowing what cash machine is or does or works. It’s not that hard, it can’t be that hard? Offer to help? No, would appear threatening. Man on other cash machine to left; dithering. Does not understand concept of cash machine either. Lady retreats into bank, defeated.

Jump to machine. Talking machine. Beeping at me. Too loud. Volume may attract attention. Volume unnerves hung-over brain. Unnerved, armed with ten pound note, to bus.

Engine starts. Pulling off. Run and wave at driver; two metres away; must have a heart? Does not have a heart. Pull angry face at driver, saying “arsehole” out loud as he points behind.

Behind…another bus. Ticket. Upstairs. Sit down. Feel guilty for arseholing other driver. Hope will not meet again but do not remember face clearly. Perhaps he was brown of the hair. Must get to work on time one day. I am The Manager. Not the manager of time, alas.

Rosie writes in her spare time and is currently working on a collection of short stories. She lives in Margate.

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