man on bus

From Monopole [formerly Theodorus in Excelsis]

…The bus ride is slow and there are many stops. The time, too, is slow, but Teddy enjoys watching the city-street day go by.

A man who is seemingly homeless, or else he just cares very little for his presentability and personal hygiene, boards the bus, pays the fare with twenty or thirty coins (grumbling to himself all the while), sits down beside Teddy, and begins saying things to him, leaning over in his seat so as to place his whispers closer to Teddy’s ear.

“Have you ever had a conversation with a dog?” the man then asks. “The thing just sits there like an idiot while you pour your brains out to it, and you’re never going to have any fucking clue whether or not the thing has any idea what the hell you’re saying.” The man bursts out in a hysteric of laughter at his own remarks, folding himself in half at the waist and grabbing his stomach to do so. “I guess that’s about how I feel right now talking to you,” the man manages to utter between his fits of hysteria, laughing so uncontrollably as to project saliva onto the side of Teddy’s face. “You stupid fucking dog,” the man bursts, adjusting himself in his seat in order to point a finger at Teddy. The man falls out of his seat laughing. His laughter is so uncontrollable it almost seems contrived.

“You calm down back there,” the driver says authoritatively, turning from his seat to make certain the man’s acknowledgment. “I’ll kick you out right here,” the driver threatens.

The man’s laughter and hysteria subside, as though disappointed that his fun is over. Then, once the driver’s gaze returns to the road, the man throws himself from his seat to the aisle floor of the bus, so that he may drag his ass across it like a dog would. As he does so, the man’s tongue hangs from his mouth and he pants—like a dog. The moment before the driver turns around in reaction to the mild commotion, the man leaps back into the seat beside Teddy, avoiding validation of the driver’s suspicious glare. The man then chuckles to Teddy familiarly.

“I’m just fuckin’ with ya, anyways,” the man tells Teddy, his conversing now more restrained and his tone less accusatory. “I know you’re not a dog and I know you know what I’m saying. You sure do act like a dumb fuckin’ dog sometimes, though. You know that? Sure ya do. That’s some bullshit they been putting you through, though. I’ll tell you. In their defense, though, I guess they had to, you know? You know what I’m saying here? Ya smell me on this one? Sure ya do. I sense some sort of thought coming out of that brain of yours. That brain of yours, indeed,” the man says and, although the decibels he allocates to his voice do not constitute much more than a whisper, the man’s conversational demeanor approaches a rant. “That’s why they’re doing this thing to you, you big fuckin’ idiot. I guess I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t, though, but would any of us really be here if you hadn’t? Wouldn’t we? You know what I’m saying here? Ya smell me?”

“Eh cann cewtunuly smeh ugnu,” Teddy manages to utter. A momentary silence hangs about the air, then the man bursts out a quick, hard laugh, and then quickly contains himself, covering his mouth with both his hands to do so.

#prose #monopole #scifi #handicappednarrative

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