Bad Trip

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Prompt: Take a simple event: A man gets off a bus, trips, looks around in embarrassment, and sees a woman smiling. Tell it in two different tones.

Content: Two paragraphs of a man tripping off a bus.


Misjudging the depth of the last step sent Gregory stumbling forward, arms outstretched to balance himself lest he completely topple over. Then he stopped, abruptly straightened up again, and glanced around the crowded street as he smoothed his jacket out. He caught the smirk of a woman out of the corner of his eye, prompting him to flush, tug discursively on the lapels of his jacket, and briskly start toward his destination, leaving the embarrassment behind.

Ms. Evans wasn't in any particular hurry this afternoon. In fact she was quite relaxed as she waited for a friend as the bus-stop outside the mall. It was taking much longer than expected - good thing she wasn't in a rush - and with a sad lack of anything to entertain her, she'd taken to watching passengers disembark and trying to guess their stories. One woman balanced a baby in one arm, a folded stroller in the other; a heavy-set man carrying a heavy-set case and hiding nervous looks with sunglasses. A young man, in a dress shirt and tie, missing the last step off the bus and careening forward, arms outstretched. She was so absorbed in trying to decipher what his story might be that she failed to notice that he was falling in her direction. That is, util it was already too late, ad with a sound often described as 'coconuts', he hit his forehead against hers and they both fell to the ground.

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