Friday, August 28, 2009

A Busmas Carol

In media res.

“You will be haunted,” resumed the Ghost, “by Three Bus Drivers.”
Randal’s countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost’s had done.
“Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Dante?” he demanded, in a faltering voice.
“It is.”
“I—I think I’d rather not,” said Randal.
“Without their routes,” said the Ghost, “you cannot hope to avoid work. Expect the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls Six.”
“Couldn’t I take ’em all at once, and have it over, Dante?” hinted Randal.
“Expect the second on the next morn at the same hour. The third upon the next morn when the last stroke of Seven has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more for I have to close the Quick Stop; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us despite your copious toking!”


“Before I draw nearer to that scrapheap to which you point,” said Randal, “answer me one question. Are these the tire marks of the buses that Will be, or are they oil stains of buses that May be, only?”
Still the Bus Driver pointed downward to the boneyard by which it stood.
“Men’s fares will foreshadow certain stops, to which, if persevered in, they must roll,” said Randal. “But if the fares be departed from, the stops will require an all-day pass. Say it is thus with what you show me!”
The Bus Driver was immovable as ever.
Randal crept towards it, trembling as he went; and following the finger, read upon the nameplate of the neglected bus his own name, Randal Graves.


“Hallo!” growled Randal, in his accustomed voice that was so frightening to little children their heads rang with the horror of the mill for days, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?”
“I am very sorry, sir,” said the Permanent Temp (So As To Avoid Paying Benefits). “I am behind my check-ins.”
“You are?” repeated Randal. “Yes. I think you are. Step this way, sir, if you please.”
“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded the Permanent Temp, appearing from the Shelf. “It shall not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday with one of the coeds, sir.”
“Now, I’ll tell you what, my friend,” said Randal, “I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, not exactly leaping from his stool because he was lazy and middle-aged, and giving the Permanent Temp such a dig in the clip-on tie that he staggered back into the Shelf again; “and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”
The Permanent Temp trembled, and got a little nearer to the book cart. He had a momentary idea of knocking Randal down with it, holding him, and calling to the people in the court for help and a syringe of thorazine.
“A merry Busmas, Permanent Temp!” said Randal.
And so, as Random Patron observed, Cthulhu bless Us, Every One!


Dean Wormer said...

That story brought a tear to my eye as unbelievable as it is. Raises? You might as well write about dragons or compassionate conservatives or other such nonsense of the imagination.

Christopher said...

I admire anyone who takes public transportation.

While I support the public option and I think we need to fund public transit everywhere as an alternative to driving a car, you couldn't get me out of my SUV.

I drove a tiny Toyota Tercel for 12 years (I'm too cheap to buy a new car every 3 years, so I at 323,000 miles, I donated it to Habit for Humanity and bought new) and I feel I earned a larger, comfy ride, big enough for our entire family who includes our 100lbs. Lab.

Mary Ellen said...

Wow...I feel all warm and fuzzy inside now. Thank's Randal!

(I left you something on my blog so you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside, too. ;-) )

Holte Ender said...

Dear Ebenezer - I dare you to get happy and fuzzy with "Bleak House."

That Face! said...

I liked the part when you wrung your hands!

Randal Graves said...

dean, two words for you, hippie: George and Bush. Are you dead? No? There's your compassion.

christopher, it sure beats driving to work. Let someone else deal with the lunatics.

nunly, oh, I hope it is what I think it is!

holte, dude, that's 800 pages and I don't want this blog requiring effort.

TF, you want to get that extra moisture out before hang drying.

Tom Harper said...

Bah! Humbug! I say fire all those Permanent Temps and outsource their jobs. A call center in Bangalore can easily handle all the mundane tasks previously handled by these lazy unproductive Americans.

Mauigirl said...

Truly a heartwarming tale, Randal!

Utah Savage said...

Almost better than Dickens. Well, I never fell asleep while reading Dickens. I did so love that nap half way through this lovely piece of priceless prosish. But when you got to the Perm Temp, I perked right up again. For a moment I thought there was going to be hankypanky.

sunshine said...

My favorite Christmas movie! My favorite blogger.
Combined = perfection.
Loved it. I even LOL'd for real!

thatgirl said...

awesomeness as usual.

thatgirl said...

awesomeness as usual.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

All this clap-trap and fol-de-rol will get you nowhere! This is why I take light rail instead of the bus. That and you meet a better class of lunatics.



Übermilf said...

Did you have beer and pierogies instead of plum pudding and rum punch?

susan said...

Walking is preferable but sometimes the distance to be trekked requires a motorized wheeled conveyance of some type or other. Buses have cradled my butt more than once this simmering summer and my sympathies lie with those who missed payments on their dragon wings. It's obvious such ceaseless gallivanting to and fro causes disturbance beyond the common ken.

Ricky Shambles said...

You somehow have the ability to bestow reality-bending horror with hope and redemption. Bless it and hope others can learn from your tales.

Demeur said...

I'd take the bus and leave the drivin but with a trunk full of PPE that's not happening. Doesn't matter I don't have a job to go to anyway.
A raise? Fire us all and bring back the chinese cooley labor. A dollar a day is more than enough. Rice is cheap you know.

S.W. Anderson said...

That was a fun read, Randal, nicely done.

For Dean Wormer's edification and in keeping with the times, you didn't mention how much of a raise. Let's see, 0.5 percent or maybe 1.2 percent?

Final thought: The Ghost of Buses That Passed is only seen during downpours.

Beach Bum said...

I like the dig at "permanent temps", it the 21st century's very own form of indentured servitude.

I somehow have pictured Bob Cratchit being played by Billy Bob Thornton, who takes a knife to the newly repentant Scrooge as he enters the Cratchit household on Christmas Day morning with Tiny Tim eating Scrooge's still beating heart and saying his famous words "God bless us everyone."

Randal Graves said...

tom, now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout, Scrooge!

mauigirl, why should December hog all the holiday cheer?

utah, I've heard of a Dickensian workhouse, but Dickensian porn? Oh, those naughty Victorians.

sunshine, if I'm your favorite, I thank you for your low artistic standards. ;-)

thatgirl, libraries just don't get enough literary love, you know?

tengrain, I don't know, round these parts, I think the red and blue line trains go to/from the swankier burbs, but I'm always in favor of more field research.

übermilf, pizza and brats.

Oh boy, does that sound good right about now. Minus one point for bringing up food.

susan, have you thought about constructing your own pedal-powered flying contraption to save on bus fares or gas? Even cheap particle board will work. As long as you douse it with a few drops of ichor of wyvern, of course.

ricky, oh please, direct your praise towards the source I pilfered. Actually, he's dead, so who cares.

demeur, enough out of you, lunch is over, this railroad track needs more spikes!

SWA, I figure after federal, state and municipal taxes, Christmas club, monthly health insurance that covers nothing beyond a splint and gauze and the increase in the cost of everything else - oh, and general fees, don't forget general fees - there will be a real net raise of -5.2%.

BB, I would pay my not-hard-earned money to see that flick. Start working on the screenplay!

Dr. Zaius said...

Jeepers! I want a merry yesterday with a beautiful young coeds, as well.