Sunday, September 23, 2007



BUS STORY # 51 (Ambush At Skateboard Park and Willa’s Bus Story # 3)


Skateboard Park is what it sounds like: a skateboarding facility built and maintained by the city with all sorts of skateboard-challenging terrain like stairs and handrails, ramps, trick boxes, pyramids, variations on sectioned pipes, and other trick-oriented constructs. It’s a popular place. I usually keep my eye on it when the Lomas bus passes it by on the way home because someone will probably be trying some sort of acrobatics – either on a skateboard or one of those BMX bikes.

And I do have my eye on it one evening on the way home when there is a sudden CRACK! and we all see the curbside window at the front of the bus granulate into a million little opaque diamonds. “Awww, maaaaaaaan!” from the bus driver, and he pulls over just past the park. The woman and her child sitting by the window move quickly to the other side of the bus. “Y’all ok?” the bus driver asked them. The mother shakes her head yes. There is a small dot marking the point of impact. I’m thinking BB or pellet gun. Everybody else says “rock.” How can they tell?

“Anybody see anything?” asks the driver. The guy across the aisle and one seat up from me answers, “Same thing happened two weeks ago at this same spot. It was the eight pm bus.” The driver makes a phone call to his dispatcher. “They’ll catch him,” the guy continues. “Those guys can’t help bragging how they nailed a bus.” When the driver finishes his call, he announces we’ll have to disembark and catch the next bus. He has to wait for the police. We disembark and wait another twenty minutes for the next bus. It beats out the police.

A few days later, I meet Willa* on the inbound Lomas and tell her my story. “Same thing happened to me on the Rapid Ride a few months back,” she says. She tells me how she heard this loud report about the same time the front window to the right of the bus driver sort of exploded. She was sitting in one of the seats facing the aisle, and the guy beside her dove for the floor and took her with him. “Sorry,” he apologized. “Reflex.” She asked him what happened. “Gunshot,” he replied. “There was a hole in the windshield this big,” she explains, making a circle with her thumb and forefinger.

The police arrived and interviewed each passenger. Willa missed a meeting at the hospital that morning, but she considered that a positive consequence. Plus, she was amused by the interview one of her fellow passengers gave the police. Willa describes this woman as rather mean-spirited and having a loud mouth. “Not a pleasant person,” she concludes. The woman told the cops she was sure whoever had shot out the bus window was gunning for her. “And why is that, ma’am?” asked the officer. “Not many people like me,” she explained. Willa laughs. “She sure got that right,” she tells me.

__________

*Real name changed.

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