You meet a lot of interesting people on a downtown bus…

So – I expect you are all expecting me to yell at you some more about picking up NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY for FREE!!!

Well – I’m not.



I want to tell you folks a little story. I was heading home from work – having just managed to get out in time to catch my bus. The only problem was this bus was mondo-funky. The stiff ammoniatic reek of cat pee. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if a cat had actually peed on the bus or if there was some kind of crazy cat person who had recently been peed upon forty or fifty times or so.

Well – I did not see the point in making a fuss. I fished a tube of peppermint lip gloss and smeared a little on my nose and around my nostrils and that masked the funk nicely. I had a fifteen minute ride home and I figured I could put up with a little cat funk.

Too bad the next person on the bus was not so philosophical.

This short dumpy woman with a face like the business end of a Mack Truck and the figure of a stumpy lawn gnome stomped onto the bus at the next stop and began to loudly rant.

“Pheeeewwww!” she exclaimed. “That’s cat pee. I can’t sit up here!”

So she stomps to the back of the bus.

“Pheeeewwww!” she repeated. “I can smell it back here too. It’s all over the freaking bus.”

By now I could see the shoulders of the bus driver start to move quietly up and down as he chuckled to himself. I could see the old boy sitting sideways in front of me biting on his lip trying to hold back a grin. Everyone else was playing poker face – mostly unsuccessfully.

“That’s cat pee!” the woman shouted out. “I know it. I can smell it. I have the nose of a hawk!”


The nose of a hawk…

I’m still shaking my head at that.

Then the bus stopped again and a little old lady walked on and asked the bus driver a question in one of those quiet whispered little old lady voices.

They talked for a minute and then the little old lady got on and found a seat.

“What did you ask the bus driver?” asked the cat-pee lady. “Did you ask him about the smell of cat pee?”

I should mention that the cat-pee lady had one of those screechy nails-on-a-chalkboard tones of voice that generally make me want to cringe. I am a great believer in looking on the bright side and trying to see the good in everyone but my sympathies were being sorely tested.

“Was that it?” the cat-pee lady went on. “Were you asking him about cat-pee?”

All right. So you folks think I am exaggerating – but the truth of it is she said cat-pee so often that I swear she must have been getting paid a dollar for every time that she said cat-pee.

“No,” the little old lady replied. “I was just asking for directions.”

“Where are you going?” the cat-pee lady asked.

“Spryfield,” the old lady replied.

By now we were pulling up beside the St. Agnes Church – which is directly across from a bus stop where the Spryfield bus stops.

“Come on with me,” the cat-pee lady said. “I’m going to Spryfield too. We can go together.”

Well, that little old lady tried to protest but the cat-pee lady was driving a big old verbal steamroller and would NOT take no for an answer. I’ll swear she threw that little old lady over her shoulder and followed that sharp-as-a-hawk-nose of hers right out the front door – pausing only to loudly reprimand the bus driver – whose shoulders were STILL shaking up and down – either in fear or repressed hilarity.

“This whole bus smells of cat pee!” she loudly proclaimed, just in case he hadn’t heard her the first fifty-eight times or so. “You ought to wash it out.”

And then she was gone – dragging that little old lady across the street to the bus stop where she undoubtedly hold forth on the virtues of un-cat-peed-buslines.

I waited until the door was closed to finally speak.

You can call me chicken-shit if you like but I prefer to think of myself as a diplomat worthy of Henry Kissinger.

(you kids run off and Google him, would you?)

“Well I believe she is the foreman wherever she goes,” I said just loudly enough for everyone to hear.

It wasn’t THAT funny – but the old guy in front of me started chuckling and the woman beside him did a half a dozen spit takes and the two women in the bench across the aisle giggled like they were wearing a quartet of feather-duster-wielding-monkeys beneath their armpits.

I think the bus driver peed himself.

Although might just have been the cat-pee talking…

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


4 responses to “You meet a lot of interesting people on a downtown bus…

  1. What a lovely descriptive piece Steve even if we could have managed without the subject matter.The nose of a hawk eh?


    • Thanks, David. It was such a mind-blowing slice-of-life truth-stranger-than-fiction moment that I just HAD to share it. Besides, I was getting bored with writing “Buy-my-book” posts”.


      Still, within the next day I intend to write a summation of my freebie experience, with my results and some tips on how I achieved those results and how I might have possibly improved upon those results.


  2. Too funny! We’ve all met her type (hawk nose and all) but you made it into a great story.


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