Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday Flash: Bus Stop


“Where are you going to?” a voice asks.
“Oh, just the city centre,” I say, as vaguely as possible, instinctively drawing my handbag further onto my lap as I wriggle back on the seat at the bus stop.
“You just missed your bus,” the stranger continues. “The next one’s due in thirteen minutes.”
“Hmm,” I say, gazing ahead.  I just want to sit and enjoy the warmth of the setting sun, but now I’m wishing I’d driven and not risked getting mugged… or worse.
“Did you know you can get the 31 into the centre?” he asks.
I glance at him now. “No I didn’t,” I say.
“Where are you headed?” I ask, simply because it seems rude not to.
He mentions a town a few miles away. The number 31 bus.

I get my mobile phone out of my bag. The basic, cheap one that’ll tell any potential thief I’m not worth mugging. I pretend to send a text.
He mirrors my behaviour, reaching into his pocket to get his Blackberry out.
“I’ve been trying to get hold of my other half all day,” he says. “I can’t contact her.”
“Maybe she’s gone out?” I say, looking at him properly for the first time. His chin is covered in soft down. I realise he can’t be more than fourteen.
“But it’s weird though, I’ve been trying to contact her on Facebook and she hasn’t responded,” he says.
“She’s probably had a busy day, you know. Gone out without her phone or something,” I suggest, wondering if this boy-man is being dumped for the first time but doesn’t yet know it.
I want him to talk more now, to find out more; work it out.

“Oh look, that’s me,” he says. “See ya,” he yells over his shoulder, and he bounds over to the approaching bus enthusiastically.
“’Bye!” I yell at his back.
I hope she’s just been busy.
I guess I’ll never know.

22 comments:

  1. I like how he went from potential mugger to sweet teenager, and her anxiety switched to concern.
    I guess being a writer one can't help but wonder about other people's stories!

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  2. Really enjoyable, Rebecca, now I want to know more!

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    1. Thanks, Gina! I want to know more too. This story was inspired by real life events...

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  3. Rebecca, this reminds me of all those times I've kicked myself for having read while in a waiting room instead of paying attention to the conversations around me. So many times I've caught just the ending and wished I had been listening.
    I too like how she sees him as a potential mugger until she decides to pay attention. Well told.

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  4. like the switch in tone of this. I too would jump to the worst possible case scenario, adjudge the worst in people, before cutting them some slack and acknowledging them their humanity.

    marc nash

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    1. It's so easy to do isn't it, Marc. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  5. Easy to make snap judgments isn't it? I hope she's just been busy too!

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    1. Thanks, Nat. Me too. Fingers crossed!

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  6. I also liked the way the guy transitioned in the story from being something annoying, to possibly ominous, to a bit intriguing. Nice writing!

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  7. Sweet, very sweet. I think you need to change the name of your blog....You are so NOT rusty!

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    1. Thanks so much, D.J. I think the title suits me because of my hair colour ;o)

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  8. It's nice to be reminded that not all seemingly potential threats are actual threats, and some strangers are just genuinely friendly. :)

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    1. Thanks, Steve, and thanks also for visiting. I'm glad you're still taking part in #fridayflash :o)

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  9. Loved this, Rebecca! You captured the moment perfectly.

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  10. Loved the transitions you handled so deftly, and intrigued by a teenager that would refer to his young girlfriend as ' his other half' - for that alone I hope that girl does call him soon :)

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    1. Thanks very much. I hope she does/did too.

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  11. Nice job of changing perception and expectations.

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