New Rider

Posted: July 4, 2010 in writing

The usual suspects had boarded the bus: the elderly woman with her Bible and her big purse and her long dark stockings; the brush cut boy with his skateboard; the gaggle of giggling schoolgirls, all prepped out for the mall; the morose man with the day-old beard and dirty jeans; and the shy teenager girl who got on and sat apart from every one else.

And one other guy – a new rider – got on the bus.

At first, he wasn’t noticed at all. Various riders had their earphones on, and were rocking out to whatever Lady Gaga song had caught their attention. The giggling girls were just where you’d expect them to be: sitting at the back of the bus, whispering and laughing with each other. The old woman was just sitting there, prim as could be, face forward and feet together. The very picture of studious grace, unflappable.

Even though there were plenty of empty seats on the air-conditioned bus, the new guy had elected not to sit at all.

Instead, he stood there, eyes bugged out as he stared at the rest of the passengers.

The old woman noticed him first. Hard not to, really. He was middle-aged at best, yet he sported a younger style: he wore a wife-beater t-shirt, and bright yellow shorts, no socks and tennis shoes. When he scratched his face, she realized he had a tattoo of an anchor on his arm. As he whipped his head around, alternating between watching the road ahead, and checking out the passengers, she saw his blonde mullet doing its level best to keep up with his head. The corners of the old lady’s mouth threatened to break out into a grin, but she kept it firmly in check. She recalled her mother’s words so many years ago. “Eunice, we don’t know why people look the way they do. There’s always a reason, though we may not always know what that is.” She recalled her mother taking a deep drag of her cigarette, and then raising her head before expelling the smoke. “So don’t let me catch you making fun of them.” She paused, then continued. “Maybe you look funny to someone – would you want them laughing at you?”

She surely would not. So she kept her mien as neutral as could be.

She watched as mullet man stared at the passengers, then took a deep breath and roared “I WIN!!!”

She cocked her head to the side, looking at him more closely.

“YOU DON’T DIS ME!” he shouted.

The girls at the back erupted into giggles.

“STOP LAUGHING!! IT’S NOT FUNNY” The man’s face twisted into wrinkles and red red rage.


The woman watched as the bus driver glanced back. Everyone could feel the bus slowing down.

The mullet man whipped his head back to the driver. “DON’T STOP DRIVING, MAN. I GOT PLACES TO BE.”

“Sir, you’ll—-”


“Sir, I–”


The bus went back to normal speed, while the bus driver said nothing.


“No sir. I don’t want to die.”


The girls at the back had stopped giggling at this point, and were now staring at the man.

In fact, everyone was staring at him. He had won everyone’s attention.

The old lady had had enough. She stood up and began walking toward him.


“Young man. I think you’ve scared us enough. Please sit down and be quiet.”

His eyes bugged out even more. “WHAT?”

“You heard me, sir. Sit down and stop scaring everyone.”


She put her frail hand on his arm. “Oh I suppose I’ll die eventually. But not today.”

“SAYS WHO?” – and with that, he raised his other hand into a fist and swung at her.

She ducked and grabbed his pinky finger and twisted it hard. He shrieked in disbelief, as she quickly got into his instep and levered him over her hip and onto the ground. She then stomped on his crotch, and he doubled over in pain.

No one had any idea what she had in her oversized purse. Whatever it was, the passengers all realized it must have been heavy because when she clocked him with it, he passed out cold.

The stunned passengers stared in disbelief as the bus pulled to the side of the road. Shortly, they could hear the sound of the driver calling dispatch and asking for police assistance.

The young skateboarder broke the silence with a grin. “Way to go, lady!!”

Even the morose dirty man smiled. “What made you go up against him like that?”

The old woman frowned. “Well, I suppose it’s like the Good Book says. ‘The Lord helps those who helps themselves.'”

The shy teen cleared her throat. “Excuse me, ma’am, but, um, if you mean the Bible – it doesn’t say that at all.”

The girl looked at the suddenly frowning other passengers. “Well, it doesn’t! People think it does and they all say it, but it’s not in there.”

The old lady sat down with a heavy sigh. “It doesn’t?”

“No ma’am.”

The old lady shrugged. “Well it should.”

  1. Roger says:

    Great story!

    Never underestimate the power and wisdom of a little old lady.


  2. MousE says:

    OoO I so want to learn me some martial arts!!!

    Good on her!

    Craziness everywhere, eh?


  3. Claudia says:

    Never mess with grandmothers! I should know…I am one!


  4. JustKate says:

    *grins* I think Granny was packing a King James and she clocked him with it. Gives new meaning to the term “bible basher.”


    • Not one of them there paperback editions either. We’re talking iron and steel.

      I picture Samuel L. packing one of these things. “This is the word of the Lord, mutherf**ker!!”. *WHAM!*


  5. contoveros says:

    God Bless the grannies of this world.

    Never, never underestimate them.

    michael j


  6. Abe's Blog says:


    It was the mullet that did him in. I was just telling my wife last night that I was going to bring back my mullet. (It will have to be a wig).


  7. Abe's Blog says:

    Oh, I would also like to add that I enjoy these short fiction pieces when you post them.


    • Thanks for saying so. You know – this was built upon a guy who actually was very much like this, on a bus ride I took recently. He was just as described, and he was belligerent and loud and kept bothering the bus driver with his observations. Quite a character. :)


  8. carmenlezeth says:

    Good Morning Wolfie —

    I love your story-telling! Vivid, so very vivid and I love that I’m not so much reading as absorbing your work. Sweet talent for sure and a fun piece — I love the little Bible reference at the end and that you made it the shy teen be the one to correct the prim and proper Rambo-esque little ‘old lady! Fun.



    • So glad you enjoyed it, Carmen. :) It’s fun writing these things. When I saw the guy on the bus (upon which the character was based) I couldn’t help smiling, and the wheels got rolling.

      How many times have you heard that phrase “the Good Book says that God helps those that help themselves”? I’ve heard it countless times.


  9. Oh my, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a while!!!! I can’t believe that’s for real. Is it for real??? That’s bloody awesome!!!!!! *giggles* I think I need to mention this on my blog. Hysterical!!! :)


    • *grin* No, it’s not real. The main antagonist is based on a real guy though – that’s what prompted this little fictional flight. I could hardly keep the smile from my face as I watched him, all bug-eyed, angry, and a tad ridiculous. Forgot to mention that with all of his get-up, he was also sporting a pair of white rimmed sunglasses. Bizarre and a little frightening at the same time.


  10. Well, it’s an awesome story – wld make a great short movie, or a scene in a feature :)

    Some people are comedy in motion…then again most of life is from one angle or another, but some people just naturally are comedic, no matter what angle!!!


    • Thank you so much for saying so! I think I may have to do some more of these. You must have had experiences that yourself, right? Where you’re in a crowd and something happens that makes you chuckle inside yourself. And you realize you have to do something with it. That’s how this one started. :)


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