The bus arrives at the corner of 4th and Oak every morning at 6am. The bus driver, his name is Pete, wakes up at 4 in the morning, makes himself a strong cup of coffee, lets out the dogs, combs his hair, kisses his sleeping wife, lets the dogs back in, packs his lunch, drives to the bus barn, and still has time to let the bus warm up before it’s even 4:45.
But not today.
Today, Pete had a heart attack just after 4am. He was pouring himself that strong cup of coffee he likes to have in the morning. Heart just gave out on him. He flailed around, knocking over the kettle. Eventually dropped dead on the kitchen floor. Face first in the boiling water he spilled. His wife wouldn’t find him until 7am. Long after the rigor mortis had set in.
The bus stop at 4th and Oak consisted of a single bench. The rust exposed. The orange rubber peeled off the bench. Sharp pieces of metal poked out for whoever was foolish enough to sit down. So no one sat down after their first time waiting for the bus on 4th and Oak. Everyone sat on the sidewalk using the bench for a back rest and a place to put their bags and cases.
Three men sat in front of the bench today.
The first man was named Otis. He had long arms and legs. Small torso. Like his body forgot to grow with his limbs. He sat on the sidewalk with his knees bending tall enough to reach the top of his head. Otis was an ugly man by all definitions of the word. He had piano key teeth. His black cavities almost rotting the entire tooth off his gums. Guitar string hair. Unwashed, stiff, and thick. His lips protruded from his face like the mouth of a recorder. They hardly moved when he spoke. He wants to be a famous sailor one day. He also lives in Montana.
The man next to him was Bigsby Wright. A British fellow from 1766. His descendant, goes by the name of Joey, invented the time machine in the year 4002. See, the people before Joey didn’t understand time travel like he did. Not only does one have to travel back in time, but one also has to teleport to different positions in Earth’s orbit. The first iteration of the time machine came in the year 3877. People signed up left and right to be the first few hundred people to attempt time travel. Once the day came, all volunteers were given specific instructions to build a time machine to their designated times and travel back to ’77. No one heard from the hundred people once they were sent to whenever. What had happened is that people successfully traveled to their respective times, but they missed the Earth by thousands and thousands of miles. This left the volunteers to either freeze or asphyxiate to death. Whatever happened first. See, the Earth orbits around the sun. Earth was in a different position in the solar system in 3877 than it was in 3000. It wasn’t until Joey came along and invented teleportation when time travel could exist in its perfect form. Regardless, Joey traveled back in time to 1766 to visit his ancestor, the aforementioned Bigsby Wright. When he arrived in 1766, it was the dead of night. Joey broke into Bigsby’s cottage and into his bedroom. He shook his ancestor’s shoulder to gently wake him up, but Bigsby used to sleep with one of them Brown Bess muskets the British used to carry during the American Revolution right above his headrest. The long rifle shot a lead bullet right through Joey’s Adam’s apple, leaving him a mute mess of red syrup on the wood floor. Bigsby searched his property for other intruders, but found nothing but a twelve-foot-high time machine stationed right outside the front door. Must’ve been those Americans laying siege to Bigsby’s cottage. He went back to Joey’s carcass and searched his body. In Joey’s back pocket, he found a photo ID. Joseph Wright. Bigsby ran back out to the time machine and pressed every button on the damn thing. He had to go to the future to stop Joey from travelling the present to kill Bigsby in the past. The machine shook and beeped back on and took him to the future.
And no one ever noticed.
Next to Bigsby was a man named, Saul. He was late. Saul usually drives to work, but he found his tires slashed when he walked out this morning. Probably his neighbor Nicolas’ kids. Dicks.
The three men sat in silence until Saul remembered he forgot his briefcase.
“I forgot my briefcase,” Saul said.
Otis turned his head over to Saul. “Sucks.”
“I’m going to get it from my house real quick. It’s like two block down the road. If the bus comes while I’m gone, stall while I get back,” said Saul. He got up and took off his backpack.
Otis showed his cavities. “Sure can.”
“Thank you, man. I’ll be right back. I’m also leaving my backpack here. Don’t look inside. It has something super important in it,” said Saul. Otis held up his fingers and slowly pinched them together as Saul became the size of a bean. He turned to Bigsby.
“You better not be getting any ideas, guy,” he said to Bigsby.
Bigsby shook his head no.
“That’s right, I’m the protector of that there backpack. You touch it, consider yourself a hung. I know how to tie a reef knot and a Clove Hitch.” Otis leaned in close to Bigsby. His guitar string hair dangled in front of the lips of Bigsby. “You understand?”
Bigsby shook his head yes.
And there the two men sat. Otis fiddled with his fingers. The backpack seemed to have grown in size. Just in the few seconds that he was left in charge of it. The zipper was about to pop. He needed to open it. He salivated at the thought of what was in the bag. Otis reached over for the bag. Before he could get his long fingers on the strap, seven gunshots were heard down the sidewalk. The two men looked over to see a bean grow into the size of a man with a briefcase and an automatic rifle in his hand.
The bean-man pointed the rifle to Otis.
“Gimme that bag. Damn you’re an ugly motherfucker, you know that?” the bean-man said.
“Sorry, this backpack does not belong to me nor you. It belongs to a friend of mine. He’ll be right back so you can ask him for it,” Otis said.
The bean-man shot a bullet through Otis’ throat. He covered the bullet hole with his palm and ran down the street. The bean-man looked at Bigsby. “You got something to say?”
Bigsby shook his head no.
“Damn right.” The bean-man took the backpack and ran away.
The bus pulled up not too long after. The doors opened and Bigsby loaded in. He looked out the window as the bus traveled down the street. Through the window, Bigsby saw Otis’ carcass lying face-first with his limps sprawled out like a starfish.
A little later down the road, he saw a gunned-down Saul at the corner of 6th and Oak. Two kids were poking him with a stick.
Bigsby whispered to himself.
Times are a-changin’.