This guy gets on my bus. He’s wearing a white robe and rope sandals. He ‘s a white man with long hair and a beard. He says to me, “I’m Jesus.”
I say, “Oh, uh-huh.”
He says, “No, really. I’m Jesus Christ. Let me show you.” And he shows me several credit cards issued to Jesus Christ.
I’ve found that it is best not to engage with these characters. If he needed help, that would be different, but, really, I’m an equipment operator, not a therapist. I said, “Oh, yeah, uh-huh”
A few minutes later a hippie girl got on. She looked quite a bit the worse for the wear. She sat down next to Jesus and Jesus asked her how she was doing.
“I was just up at Reggae on the River, man.” She replied.
“Oh cool,” says Jesus, “How was it?”
“I got, like, dysenterry...”
“Wow, bummer.” Jesus replied.
They got to talking. At one point Jesus said, “I used to ride a Harley!” The hippie girl allowed as how that was pretty cool.
A few minutes later the dysenterry ridden hippie girl got off the bus. Jesus followed her off with a smirk on his face.
Another night a bunch of guys who’d just been released from San Quentin got on my bus. The last one on the bus was a tall skinny white kid. It was cold and pouring rain. The kid was dressed in prison issue surgical scrubs and paper shoes. He was shivering pretty hard.
There was a crazy lady in the front seat. She had her stuff stacked up all around her in plastic garbage bags. She’d made a sort of a nest out of old newspapers and garbage bags. Crazy people do that a lot, build nests.
The kid couldn’t find a seat. When the crazy lady saw that, she started rearranging her nest and yelled, “Here, c’mere, sit down here. Plenty of room!” The kid thanked her. “Just let you out of the joint. Huh?” She bellowed at him. He shrugged his shoulders. “They’re letting guys out of the joint so they can put more guys into the joint! Am I right?” He shrugged again. “Where you gotta get to?” She asked.
He mumbled back, “I gotta catch a train to San Jose.”
“San Jose! That’s a long fuckin’ way. It’s cold out! Here, I got something for you man!” And she started digging around in her garbage bags. She came up with a Pendleton wool shirt that had been washed and shrunken down to toddler size. “Here. Try this on!”
The kid squeezed into the shirt. It was so small that the sleeves barely reached his elbows, but he was so skinny he managed to get it buttoned up. He looked a lot warmer. Just before he got off the bus, he dug around in his manilla envelope and came up with a twenty. He handed it to the crazy lady.
“Far out!” she yelled. “I can get a fuckin’ room tonight!”
Cat To The Rat - Danny Barnes