Hell Bus

Ahhh... finally a night of rest, even if it is on a crappy Greyhound. After working on a production for 47 days, being stuck in shitty Alabama for 3 days, and getting stuck in a ditch while being bungeed to the back cab of a tow-truck, all I cared about was doing nothing. Route: Memphis, Tennessee to Chicago, Illinois. It was the midnight express route that normally takes about nine and a half hours. It must of been about five hours into the trip, when everyone on the bus was rudely awakened by an the violent 'fishtailing' action of the packed speeding bus. I remember sitting approximately five seats behind the driver, watching down the aisle white streaks criss-crossing across the headlights on the road, while the driver is flailing from left to right trying to regain some sort of control of the beast without hitting the only other vehicle on the road. Passengers begin to comment at this point; I find the situation somewhat amusing. At some point the front tires of the bus get sucked into the large grassy ditch on the right side of the road. This is when the ride starts to get down right ridiculous. I have to admit, I was thoroughly surprised that the bus continued to barrel through the small trees without noticeably slowing down. I calmly reach up and grab a hold of the overhead baggage compartment just in case the bus tips over. In fact, I wonder if the driver out of panic and confusion was pressing down on the gas pedal instead of the brake. The driver jerks the bus back toward the road, out of the ditch, and I guess while trying to straighten out, we plummet back into the ditch and take out a few more bushes and trees. Babies and children are crying. Passengers start to get a little more vocal, yet everyone is attentive to the next split moment with the horrible notion of dying in such a stupid way. This time the bus stays within the ditch rocking from one side to the other, barely tipping over each time. I briefly turn back to see a commotion of bodies like ragdolls flop across the aisle and into other people. Finally, the hulking jalopy comes to halt, facing into the ditch. There is a brief moment of silence and then people start to murmur. Everyone appears to be fine, just a little shaken. An old guy with a Polish accent starts screaming out at the exhausted driver, "I see you! I see you fall asleep!", repeating, over and over. I hear other people comment that she saved the bus and passengers, so she was a hero. You decide. I was at that point no longer tired. The driver starts the bus back up and tries to back the bus out the ditch, but the slope is too steep. With our hand bags and luggage, everyone slowly files out of the bus out onto the dewy early morning grass. I acknowledge the sun as it starts to peek over the horizon to what looks like will be a beautiful sunny day. There is dirt, leaves and remnants of branches over the front grill of the bus. The front bumper is halfway under the earth. People slowly spread out and discuss the harrowing event. I place some ointment and a bandage on the shoulder of the one woman that was injured. A state police officer pulls up and radios somebody. Some small nearby town newspaper reporter shows up at the scene. A giant tow-truck pulls the Greyhound out of the embarrassing situation. An hour and a half later passenger are shipped to one of the regular stops: Boomtown. The trip to Chicago took about fifteen hours.

-wheat