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Out Where the Buses Don't Run Anymore

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Out Where the Buses Don’t Run Anymore

Ian Kraft

“Breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!”  The smoke detector was ringing out like an air raid siren and John flew into waking like a frantic swamp sparrow leaving the quagmire of his dreams which had suddenly become uninhabitable for a still unknown reason.  As he opened his eyes in alarm, he looked to the other side of the small, plain, wooden room with an unidentified panic and saw flames engulfing the window curtains and climbing up the wall in a hurried sprint like a runner jumping into motion as he leaves the starting block.  Rebecca ran in with a panicked, wide-eyed rush and screamed like a woman watching her child being executed for no reason.  “John!  Get out—run!!!”

John threw himself from his laid out position on the couch, digging both of his arms into the cushions below him, and propelled himself towards the exit.  He ran to Rebecca and she began to turn and flee downstairs just as he reached the grass green doorframe.  Rebecca fled to the kitchen, passing by the counter and the cabinets above it, and grabbed her purse instinctively.  She immediately went for her phone and led the way from the house and the flames in it.  They ran outside and stood on the ripe, green, vivacious lawn where they watched flames rise and build through their upstairs window.  Rebecca flipped open her phone and began to dial, speaking as she hit the number with frenetic fear, “9-1-1.”  Her slender face was tense under her shining, dirty blonde hair and her green eyes were exploding with the tension of the moment’s panic.

John heard her begin to send out her SOS, but that didn’t seem to matter to him.  Instead, John simply continued to stare at the house, fearing for what more the day would bring.  John was a businessman although he hated the word.  He hated what it represented to him: a person who only measures gain in profit margins, a man who thinks in dollars and cents.  Yet that was what he had and what he was stuck to being, a businessman.  He looked at his watch with torn confusion as it began to beep in realization that he had to go to work.  His home was going up in flames and yet the pull of another awful, yet crucial meeting at his company was calling him away to give him more to feel distraught about.  “I’m sorry, Rebecca, but I’m going to have to leave.”

“What?! she began with acute incredulity.

“The fire department will come and there’s nothing I can do about the fifer anyways.  I have to go to an important meeting today; I’ll lose an enormous deal if I don’t.  I’m sorry—I’ve got to leave.”

He finished his rapid, hysterical words and she looked at him angrily and with a shiver of frustration and disappointment she pushed him away.  “Fine.  Leave.”

When her disconcerted words had finished falling like men being pushed off of a building John ran to his car and began to drive with a horrible pain in his chest, which he considered a gift from his situation.  He hoped that the fire department would show up soon; he hoped that everything would be alright.

John drove down the road with clouds in his car that were fogging his view.  They misted over his eyes and the path became less definite, less visible, less distinct.  The only thing that was clear in the entire vehicle was his rear view mirror through which he could still see his home in flames.

John approached his office.  It was quite literally his because he was the head man of the whole operation who had the power to make any and every decision that the company was to make.  He pulled up before the building and saw a vulture of a man standing off to the left of the structure.  The vulture man stood readily waiting for some great weight to fall so that he could feast off of whatever was crushed.  John exited the car cautiously fearing that the vulture of a man would come sweeping forth and devour him without a second thought.  He stood up next to the vehicle and stared at the bird-like man who gave him no return glance.  Leaving the vulture man, John passed through the doors and into his office where he was greeted royally by friends who he saw on a daily basis.  Passing through the main hall of the building, he made a turn into his grand, VIP style office that was tucked away in a corner room of the first floor.  He sat down and remembered the day he had founded the company.  It had been suggested to him by a friend that “Anyone who could make a car that ran smoothly and almost never broke down could make a killing” and so John, being mechanically inclined, undertook what he felt in his mind was a challenge.  He could picture himself on the day that he finally perfected the design.  There he had been, sitting in the garage and as he wrote out some information on a paper, a great revelation had occurred to him about how to prevent the car’s part from taking too much damage from daily wear and tear.  He had run his hand back through his short, brown hair and felt the car grease slide against his head as he began to fix his blue eyes on the page of design modifications.  Rebecca had come out into the garage momentarily after and had seen him working while staring at his papers pensively.  She turned back inside momentarily, came back out and had then, with a quick glance to his rugged, well-shaven face, offered to get him a drink.  He remembered saying “No, no, I don’t need a drink—I’m about to figure it all out by myself.”  But although he had declined the offer, Rebecca had brought him a glass off water anyways.  It was only shortly after that that everything had fallen together and John began to figure out how to make his friend’s notion of a better car a reality and his life began to evolve as a result.  Once he had tested his designs, he put them up on the market and now, only six months later, he was making his way to the top.

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