My Tarry Friend
by Lily Murphy
raining and I suppose that was a good thing but
there was a cold bite in the air as I waited at
the bus stop for my friend to arrive.
our traditional day for going to town and the bus
stop was our usual meeting place where we would
board the bus to embark on our trip.
There was no
bench at the bus stop because it had been pulled
out and dispensed over the bridge and into the
river by a gang of hoodlums a few nights before
so sitting to wait for both the bus and my friend
to arrive would not be an option at the bus stop
anymore. There was also a strange smell of shit
about the place and believe me its not a
very nice smell to have wafting up the nose on a
pleasant Saturday afternoon.
I had arrived
at the bus stop at exactly two o'clock, the time
both my friend and I had agreed to meet up at,
and so there I stood at the bus stop and began
the waiting game.
gentleman came along clad in a bizarre attire of
mixed colours. This gentleman wore purple shoes
and over his brilliant blue shirt he wore a
radiant red t-shirt with a bright tie of all the
colours of the rainbow dotted on it.
I thought this
individual would be one with a rainbow
personality without a doubt and he came towards
me in all his strangeness.
morning isn't it!?!? he both asked and
stated to me and I nodded in agreement even
though it was two o'clock in the afternoon but I
thought to myself it would be better to agree
with an insane man rather than disagree with him
and possibly end up on his bad side which once
happened to me when I disagreed with an elderly
lady shopper who one day asked me in the shop
where the wireless sets can be found. I informed
her that we call them radios these days but for
my big mouth I got a whip of her handbag across
The old man
shuffled around for a bit on the footpath and
then approached me again. Lovely evening
isn't it!?!?! and again I agreed that it
I looked at
the watch on my hand, ten past two, where was my
friend? The one who suggested that a meeting at
the bus stop should take place at two o' clock
precisely. Then the bus came.
The old man in
all his craziness came over to where I was
standing and stood uncomfortably too close to me.
Lovely night isn't it!?!? he
whispered and before I could answer him the bus
had pulled up right next to us and the door
looking bus driver wearing a massive moustache
glared out. Are you two getting on the bus
or what? he barked out.
I meekly stated while the old man made his way
onto the bus where I heard him say something
about a lovely afternoon to the bus driver.
The bus pulled
off in the direction of town leaving me there to
wait for my friend and the next bus.
waiting long before I was joined not by my friend
but by a woman and a child in a stroller. The
woman was a young mother and the child was a
little on the obese side of things. She glanced
in my direction and I glanced back. She gave one
of those polite smiles strangers give and I duly
gave one back. I was hoping that she would not
start up a conversation with me as I have nothing
in common with a young mother and child but I had
no need to worry as the child and mother both
suddenly erupted in a volcanic explosion of anger.
The child had
been pestering his mother for sweets or toys or
whatever a toddler pesters his mother for, but as
he began an ear piercing whine the mother
retaliated with an even louder one.
scolding of the highest proportions took place
within feet of where I was standing and the
awkwardness I felt right there almost smothered
shut up you little brat!!! the mother
screamed at the child.
The child with
his big bulging red head squalled back uck
you!! uck you!!
then went on to use every profanity available to
scold him with and did so in a high pitched voice
which was punishing the air around her.
I began to
sweat and I don't know why but I did. Maybe it
was the type of situation I had found myself in
which was for me anyway a rather uncomfortable
The woman with
the child stormed back up the road in a vicious
speed, back home I presume, but as she departed,
two elderly ladies came along and stood at the
bus stop. I felt somewhat safer with them but I
had to remind myself that I did have my run ins
with elderly folk before.
The two old
women were already deep in conversation when they
arrived to take up their waiting positions at the
bus stop. Their talk was one which was focused on
the youth of the day, their style of dress and
lack of manners. One of the women, one with a mop
of grey hair on her ancient head said to the
other one, with a head full of badly dyed pink
hair, Did you know that Mrs Morkan's
grandson went and got an ear ring?
The lady with
the badly coloured hair gasped in horror Why
did he do that!? Oh poor Mrs Morkan must be
ashamed to have a grandson who has his ear
haired old lady who wore a knitted scarf around
her scrawny neck and the darkest kind of red
lipstick on her lips nodded her little head
before answering back, Well Mrs Morkan
informed me that her grandson got the idea to
pierce his ear when he went to a concert, oh,
some rapper fellow from America, and he was
sporting an ear ring in his ear and Mrs Morkan's
grandson decided to get his ear pierced just like
that rapper singer fellow.
I could not
but crack a grin on my face as I thought to
myself that Mrs Morkan, whoever she is, should be
lucky that it wasn't a Lady Gaga concert her
grandson went to!
The two old
women nattered on and then the next bus arrived
and I was still waiting for my friend.
The bus pulled
up and the two old ladies boarded it in a dainty
getting on? the bus man asked me, no
He was less
gruffer than the last bus driver but still had a
discourteoustone in his voice. Another
delinquent hanging around bus stops the old
woman with the dyed hair said to the woman with
the natural grey hair and while throwing a look
of disgust in my direction she and her friend
made for the seats at the front of the bus.
closed, the engine revved and the bus left for
town leaving a cloud of smog for me to choke on.
That was two buses I had missed and I was
starting to feel irritated. I had sent numerous
text messages to my friend and even rang twice
but the replies all came back the same, I
will be there in five minutes and I
will be there soon just hold tight.
A very loved
up couple arrived at the bus stop next. He had
his arm draped over her shoulders while she
planted little kisses on his cheeks every now and
then. I felt kind of embarrassed as the couple
carried on the way young lovers do, a mere two
feet away from me, but my embarrassment would be
enlightened by the awkwardness which was to
I didn't know
how it began because I was too occupied with
trying not to take notice of the young couple but
they suddenly broke out into an almighty
altercation. Words were said and before I knew it,
she screamed, he howled, and I was still stuck at
the bus stop waiting for my friend.
him of something I don't quite know what, while
he called her hysterical bitch.
Whatever had happened between those two it had
resulted in a fight which made the troubles in
the middle east look like a tea party.
meantime a dishevelled looking character arrived
at the bus stop. A middle aged man dressed in a
white dirty stained bathrobe with fluffy pink
slippers on his feet. He was mumbling something
to himself about rabbits and acorns and I
immediately knew that this fellow was off his
He paced up
and down in front of me while the young lovers
were fighting like crazy next to me. The
irregular looking man then approached me and
asked had I seen his bag of shit. I said no and
then he ran off shouting that he wouldnt be
caught dead boarding a peasant wagon while
pointing at the bus coming down the road.
lovers were now in a state of fisticuffs as she
took a swing for his face with her hand but he
stopped her by grabbing her hand and massive
beads of sweat began to form on my brow.
I looked down
the road to see the mysterious man liberate
himself of his bathrobe and walk down the middle
of the road wearing nothing but a suit of snow
white skin and fluffy pink slippers. I then
looked up the road and saw the young lovers
taking off, him ducking every time she tried
hitting him with a swing of her handbag and she
had a tongue which could have cut down a tree, it
was that sharp.
Then the bus
The third bus
since I had been standing there pulled up right
at my feet and the doors swung open.
getting on? asked the bus man, the third
one to ask me the same question that day.
I sighed I am going back home and as
I turned around to make my way back up the road I
stepped into a plastic bag full of shit.