Saturday, June 28, 2008

Take, Take Me Home

continued from yesterday...

When you last left Hillbilly Mom, she and 23 cohorts were being held hostage at the casino by Ebony and Ivory, drivers of the short bus.

Since Ivory had told us "Two forty-five" as the departure time when we disembarked onto his little blue stepstool, we believed him. After all, that's what it said on the mailer we got concerning the new route for the Old People Gambling Bus. So like all good old people, we met out front at 2:30. That's how it worked with the other drivers. We loaded the bus, and LEFT when he told us. Ebony and Ivory must have gotten their wires crossed. I stopped gambling at 2:20. I was out front at 2:30. So were most of the other risk-takers from the short bus. We waited. And waited. At 2:45, Ebony pulled up to the OTHER door, the one where we were not waiting, and Ivory got out his stepstool. We followed the lead cow to the short bus, and got on. Twenty of us got on. After a head count and a recount of his precious clipboard, Ivory stated that we were missing four people. He asked us who they were. One lady volunteered that her landlady and the landlady's son were missing. Another said the guy in front of her was gone. That's all we could think of. The rowdies in the back seat asked if we could leave them.

When we rode the Husky bus, we left two people.
It's not like we're kids. We were told when to be here.
Who do they think they are?
I'd like to be gambling right now, too.
If they have a problem, they'll just have to walk home.
That's really inconsiderate to the rest of us.
Leave them!

Ebony said that we couldn't leave until 3:00. At 2:55, the landlady duo came out, followed by a guy who seemed simple. They received a cold reception. Ivory tried to decide if he had miscounted. Then one white-hair said, "Hey! Aren't we missing that guy who got on with you?" The simple guy kind of nodded. But he didn't speak up. Rowdiest said, "I hated to leave my machine. I just hit it big at 2:20. I know it was going to pay more." I told her that the missing guy had sat down to play it when she left, and was at this very moment collecting his giant jackpot. She shuddered. At 2:59, the bald guy in the green Hawaiian shirt came walking toward the bus. "He isn't in a very big hurry, is he?" "Why should he be...he still has one minute left!" The guy across from me mumbled, "You almost had to walk home, Bub." But not loud enough for Bub to hear it distinctly. Old people can be so cruel.

Ebony ripped out of the parking lot like he was getting a bonus for each minute he was under schedule. He ran the first stop sign. I can't say any of us were surprised. We held on for dear life down Harrah's slalomy entrance/exit road. Ebony hit I-270, and made a bee-line for the next-to-fastest lane. Our bodies swayed back and forth in a sideways sine wave, like a 24-ducky pull toy at the hand of an inebriated toddler. Every couple of minutes, a car on our right side lane would honk, and Ivory would say, "Here comes another one." I was seated right under the emergency exit. You better believe that I had those instructions memorized in case I needed to blow the hatch. In addition, my window was an emergency exit. LIFT BOTH HANDLES AND PUSH OUT, it assured me. I turned to the rowdies. "We'll be the first ones out." They knew what I was talkin' about. Every so often, we hit a bump and caught some air.

I looked two seats in front of me, and saw Bub sleeping with his bald head resting against the window. I told the rowdies. Rowdiest proclaimed, "Well, he'll be black and blue tomorrow! I hit my head, and I was just sitting here." Rowdier said, "I don't know HOW he can sleep." I told her he was tired. He must have fallen asleep with his head on the slot machine, right after winning that big jackpot, and that's why he was late for the bus.

The next thing I saw froze the blood in my veins. By now, we were on a two-lane highway. We were fast overtaking a yellow behemoth of a highway department vehicle being towed on a low-belly trailer, with flags announcing OVERSIZE LOAD. Sweet Gummi Mary! We were all going to die! I warned the back seat. Rowdiest closed her eyes and started praying. Rowdier held her breath. We squeaked by. I don't know by how much. I couldn't watch. Rowdiest grew bold after her near-death experience. She said, "My ring tone is a police siren." Rowdier told her, "Don't you dare. It will scare him. He might stop right in the middle of the fast lane." Rowdiest took no heed. I'm guessing that her favorite movie is The Year of Living Dangerously. She set off that ring tone. You could hear the crack of arthritic necks throughout the bus. Rowdiest held up her phone so they wouldn't panic. Then she switched it to a fire engine. My aunt said, "Is there a fire truck coming?" She's a bit slow. Everybody heard it but Ebony. It must have been the rush of air at 100 mph that kept the sound from making it all the way to the front.

Ebony pulled onto the exit ramp to let off the one lady from the last/first stop. I told her, "At least YOU arrived in one piece." The guy across from me said, "Not so fast. You aren't to your truck yet." At the top of the exit ramp, a small SUV had stopped at the stop sign. A guy got out of the passenger seat, went to the back, and took something out. FOOL! He had no idea we were driving the bus from Speed. I say that, because I don't think we drove under 50 mph the whole way from Harrah's to that exit. At the turn-in to the commuter parking lot, two young fools were standing in the middle of the road on their Razors. I mean the metal scooter-type Razors, not the phones, which would be kind of pointless, not to mention having a different spelling. They skedaddled right into the weeds of the right-of-way when they saw us careening at them. After we dropped off Rowdy, and pulled back on the road, Rowdier said, "I wonder if she kissed the ground."

We made it to my stop in about 10 minutes. That's 15 miles in 10 minutes, on a Holiday tour bus. Let's just say we made good time. My mom was there to take me home, because HH and the boys had my new LSUV at a family reunion picnic. HH's family.

After my mom got back to her house, she called me. "I was waiting at the stoplight on the outer road [the one where Rudy Giuliani, the inflatable rat, sits each day] and I heard a 'roar'. I looked over at the highway, and a short bus flew by. I think it was your bus going back to the city. It went so fast I couldn't see the driver."

That was him. I have no doubt.

No comments: