Sunday, 23 September 2012

Fire in the Night - Part 2

    I got on the bus, past the rather stunned driver, and glanced out at the hippies who were now hurriedly putting their equipment away. I found a seat near the back and watched the hippies climb onto the bus amid the stairs of the passengers and take some seats near the middle of the bus. The bus pulls off, and everyone begins going back to sitting and waiting for their bus stop. I pull out my book and start reading.

    I promptly stop reading when somebody screams. I glance over to see a distraught passenger pointing to a fluid leaking out of one of the hippies backpacks. It is clear that the passenger feels that it is lighter fluid of some kind, and that it is now leaking down the bus. Passengers begin to shriek as the stuff slowly along the floor. Since I’m sitting near the back, I’m out of range of the liquid and watch with mild amusement as it rolls down the bus.

    Now the bus driver clearly can’t see what’s going on and I’m not entirely sure he would do something anyways. So the bus is continuing on while people grab there bags and put them on the seats and inch there feet up to avoid getting kerosene on them. Meanwhile, the hippie is fiddling around in his bag, but I guess he can’t find the leaking bottle under all the clothing he is pulling out. Meanwhile, on another seat a passenger is fidgeting with a lighter.

    Now I’d rather not do the stereotypical thing, but it is hard to one the guy playing with the lighter is wearing an expensive shirt, several chains, and smells of beer. Clearly disillusioned with the transit system and seeing an opportunity to exact some petty revenge, the guy has his lighter out and is trying to light a reciept on fire. Sitting there clicking the thing, which must be nearly out of fuel because he can’t get it to light, he begins to draw the attention of everyone around him. He grins, a little maniacally, as the lighter lights.

    I glance around hurriedly. If the bus bursts into fire there isn’t really a good way off but I’m assuming the bus driver will stop and I’m still a fair distance away from the fluid. Still, escaping a burning bus does not sound like a good night. I glance around hurriedly for a solution. Another passenger screams. Someone begins begging him not to do it. I open my bag and hunt furiously for something to throw. I glance up to see a large man grab the boy from across the aisle. In one hand the boy holds the lighter and in the other a burning reciept.

    I watch, along with the rest of the horrified bus, as the receipt leaves the boys hand, wafts down onto the floor and lands in the fluid. Which promplty extinguishes the fire. We all sit there stunned, including the boy. In the silence of the bus the hippie pulls a water bottle out of his backpack, then looks around at the tableau of horrified faces with confusion. “Sorry about leaking water all over the bus,” he says, “But its just water. Its not like I was leaking the kerosene or anything.”

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