Sunday, July 15, 2012

BUS STORY # 297 (“It’s All On The Web”)

Dangerous Relationships by busboy4
Dangerous Relationships, a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.

I’ve just boarded at UNMH and found a place on the bench seat across from the back doors.

I’m barely settled when the woman I’m sharing the bench with asks me if I’ve just come from the hospital.

No, I tell her. It’s just where I caught the bus this afternoon.

Oh, good, she tells me. You know the doctors and the lawyers there are in cahoots...

She is off and running, and I will spend the rest of the ride desperately trying to keep up.

I’m also trying to take her all in. It’s hard to tell her age. She’s wearing a shawl over a baseball cap. The shawl covers the sides of her face as well as her neck. Under the bill are intense dark eyes framed by black plastic. I look at her mouth and chin and guess “middle age.”

She also has a grocery cart which looks full, but is covered by a blanket.

She does not look like she’s on the street.

She looks me directly in the eyes, and she speaks coherently, articulately, rapidly, non-stop. I’ve now learned the UNMH docs and lawyers are in cahoots because they got rid of the incriminating x-rays that showed the fractures she suffered after her then-husband beat her up, which happened just six months after a court case involving the murder of her former boss and her husband’s co-worker was finally resolved after a six-year ordeal, the two linked not just by employment and marriage, but also by a shadow CEO of a front company who paid the attorney fees for both sets of lawyers...

She spins out a tale too rapidly told and too complex for me to keep up with. The story is larded with names -- first, last, and sometimes middle initials -- and with dates -- day, month, year. There are details like cops who show up from another jurisdiction and don’t Mirandize when they take someone away. Or the discovery of a notebook with diagrams of those x-rays that later were said to never have been taken. Or a manager trying to recruit an employee to dump someone else's newborn baby in a dumpster.

The constants are high-powered people involved in skulduggery and cover-ups, fixed court cases, suspicious goings-on behind the scenes of a nationally-known mega church, psychiatric institutions that combine insurance-looting with testing experimental drugs on hapless patients, a publishing company in Florida involved in shady business and getting away with it, and more...

It’s crazy talk, of course. We all know this kind of stuff doesn’t go on in real life, especially not here in the Good Ol’.

In fact, the story is so crazily tangled and obscure, and so tantalizingly conspiratorial, that I’m thinking it would make a pretty good Thomas Pynchon novel. Even the hero -- heroine, in this case -- is a Pynchon character: a schlemihl, whose seemingly innocuous choices of a spouse and a job send her tumbling down the Rabbit Hole, and how could she possibly have known where that was gonna lead...now finding herself on a bus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and bearing witness.

I’m thinking if I’d had a tape recorder and she a longer ride, I’d have enough material for my own first novel. Assuming I didn’t run out of tape and had enough time to sort it all out.

But I don’t have a recorder, and she gets off about two-thirds of my way home. She gets up and grabs her basket, but she is still half-turned to me and still telling the story. She has another point to make, and the back doors close while she is talking. Without missing a beat, she calls out “Back door! I’m getting out,” and then continues until she is finished.

She steps off the bus, turns to look at me and, before the doors close a second time, tells me, “I’m not making this up. It’s all on the web.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous Brenda said...

And if it's on the web it must be true! As I started reading your story today my thought was this lady is writing a mystery novel and is trying out the plot on this hapless bus rider!

9:04 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

That's a thought, Brenda. If so, I'd have to say I see a TV series or movie rights in her future!

3:31 PM  

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