Off the Busses
A: Stockton Heath
B: What about Stockton
Id like you to take me there.
B: Im sorry,
youre too heavy.
What? Im only twelve stone.
B: Ah yes, but if
you look carefully, this isnt a real bus.
You see if you look down there, theres a
hole in the floor and Im walking along on
A: Oh yes, so you
B: And, furthermore,
this whole bus is made entirely out of cardboard
and the wheels are just painted on. They dont
go round and round.
A: I see. So why
would anyone want to do that, I wonder?
Ah now. Now there is a question. You see:
Im, very much, of the avant-garde
school of bus driving.
A: The avant-garde
school of bus driving? Theres no such thing.
B: Granted were
a small, underground movement at the present time
but we are growing in number. Take the
work of Schönheimer in the sixties, for instance.
He served his time with the traditionalist in the
establishment and showed that he was capable of
making great advances in conventional bus driving.
Then, one day, he walked up to a queue of people
at a bus stop and started taking fares.
A: Oh really? Why?
B: He felt that bus
driving was stagnating- becoming stale. He wanted
people to think about bus driving. He
wanted to challenge peoples ideas about
what is and what isnt bus
A: And presumably
they all agreed that what what he was doing wasnt
bus driving. Would I be right in saying that?
B: What makes you
Because he wasnt driving a bus.
B: Thats a
valid point, of course. Certainly that was one
school of thought.
There was another?
B: Indeed there most
certainly was. The second school of thought was
that part of the function of bus driving is to
make people think. Schönheimer certainly made
people think that day.
A: I doubt that they
thought hard or for very long.
Aha! Yes. Indeed yes. That
is exactly what happened. No-one thought very
hard about it or for very long. That was his
genius you see.
A: No, I dont
B: Well, it proved
his point: conventional bus driving had stagnated.
No-one was thinking about it anymore. Very sad.
He committed suicide in the end. He was very
He was a bleeding nutcase you mean.
B: Yes, thats
the tragedy of his death. No-one really understood
that he was a bleeding nutcase. That idea was
only floated after his death.
A: Have you always
been an avant-garde bus driver?
B: No, no, only took
it up after I was sacked. Used to push trolleys
A: Really? Why did
they sack you?
B: They saw me
leaning against the wall of the shop all day and
accused me of malingering. It was most unfair.
A: Im terribly
sorry but if you were employed to push trolleys
at Sainsburys and you spent your time
leaning against the wall, you only have yourself
Yes, well as I explained to them at the time, I
was experimenting with pushing Sainsburys
at the trolleys. I was, very much, of the avant-garde
school of customer services vehicle collection.
Even after I explained it to them they didnt
understand. Philistines! I think that was what
led me to commit suicide.
A: You commited
A: Youre not
B: Thats a
valid criticism, certainly.
disbelief): A valid criticism? Its
a matter of absolute fact, mate.
B: Indeed. But you
have to realise that Im, very much
A (cutting in):
Of the avant-garde school of
A: So is there a lot
of money to be made as an avant-garde bus
now. Im glad you mentioned that. There is,
indeed, an awful lot of
you mention it
Come to think of it: no. No
there is no money whatsoever to be made in avant-garde
A: So how do you
make a living then?
Ive wasted my life, havent I?
know you very well. I mean to say: weve
only just met. However, I would have to say that
yes. Yes, you have, indeed, probably
wasted your life.
Oh. (brightening up): Oh
well. Chin up. Never too late to turn things
A: Thats the
B: Stockton Heath,
you say? Eighty-five pence, please.
A: Certainly. Here
B: Marvellous. Thank
you. Hey! Where are you going?
A: Stockton Heath.
why are you getting off the bus?
A: Chase me.
B: Chase you? All
the way to Stockton Heath?
B: In a big, red,
B: Are you mad?
A: No, Im
just, very much, influenced by the surrealist
movement of public transport customers.