On A Bus

Most people use buses as a means to get from one place to another. Bus stops, primarily. Thomas, however, uses them for a different reason: meeting women. He sits on them by himself (buses, not women), partly because no one likes him, and partly because he gets on the things early in their journey in order to observe subsequent passengers. He sits upon a seat about halfway along the vehicle because of a conviction that it lessens the risk of dying if the bus is involved in a collision, as becoming sandwiched in a soft cushion of mashed passenger is presumably less dangerous than being impaled by serrated dashboard and loosened fender.

Now, although Thomas is a virgin, it’s not by choice, and he has an extensive history of trying to rectify the fact, many of which are recounted in the second Wrong Book Wrongly Writing. Sadly, all his attempts have resulted in slaps, ridicule and the odd hospitalisation—and that’s just from being arrested. He doesn’t try and humiliate himself in public, it just comes naturally. And sitting halfway along a bus is one of the less mortifying examples of doing so. When an attractive young woman embarks upon the bus and wanders down the aisle, Thomas stops slouching and looks enigmatically from his window. As she nears, he smiles wistfully at nothing, feigning recollection at how moved he was by some of his recent imagist poetry. While she hesitates in deciding upon a seat beside him, he sighs, rests his forehead upon the glass and increases his dreaminess until it borders on vascular hypotension, after which he mutters things about exhausting charity work. Although she chooses the seat behind him, Thomas doesn’t mind. After all, it’s easier to admire the passenger in front than risk serious neck strain from repeatedly glancing sideways. Moreover, it provides opportunity to reinforce his deep and alluring romanticism by pretending to watch something they pass so she can see his smile more clearly while muttering things about puppies and having too much money. Although he can’t see her reaction, he’s convinced she has one. More importantly, he’s convinced that enough feigning will result in him being invited to partake in a bout of intercourse when she disembarks. Thomas is doubtful that intercourse is as exciting as the media makes it out to be, but he’s keen to give it a go so he can write about it in his books. One day, when a woman actually physically sits next to him, he’s going to ask if it really is as exciting as the media makes it out to be. Not verbally, of course, as previous queries were responsible for the aforementioned hospitalisations. Instead, he’s written the question on some cards, which also include his telephone number, some inverted commas around said question, followed by a short statement insisting that there’s no need to involve the police.