On an ordinary day, on an extraordinary bus, there occurred a most curious occurrence. On this bus was a collection of unlikely passengers, composed of a variety of people from a variety of stations in life: from the highly privileged to the lowly scum of society; from the bold and daring to the cowards lurking and hiding in any recess sufficiently willing to shield them from the world, especially those bold and daring folk; from the beautiful to the ugly; from the young to the old; from the enlightened to the benighted.
As the news reports would have us know, a tragedy occurred on that ordinary day. But we know better, or shall, at any rate, for we are about to read the rest of this story. While many of the elements are quite unbelievable, we must nonetheless proceed. Arguments could be had, maybe should be had, about which elements were more fantastic than others—that a single bus could carry such a diverse cargo of humanity, for example; but that would be misleading and beyond the scope of your author’s powers. Instead, we shall proceed as if the series of fantastic and outrageous events happened, despite their immediate recalcitrance towards being labeled as anything anyone might at any time call the truth.
This bus carried its load on a route it traveled every day, through an industrious city far too busily employed in the matters of the day to notice itself. It was the morning of this ordinary day, and for many on the bus it was their last moment of freedom before the duties of the day took them away and kept them occupied with the various tasks that awaited them. Perhaps that was a bad way of putting it, ‘their last moment of freedom’, because some of them certainly didn’t feel free on the bus, for they usually didn’t ride the bus; for some, in fact, it was their first time on a bus since they had ridden in one of the yellow versions, these leviathans of public transport, as children; but even there there were some who were without such memories because privilege had bestowed upon them a fate which would ensure such memories were never made; they had homeschooling or were shipped away to some boarding school. But this story is not about that, and being the modern readers you are, the new sophisticated audience that visits blogs and despises the long-windedness of times past, needing instant gratification, avoiding the prolixity abandoned long ago for the terse, laconic style so prominent in the recently departed century; we, exposed to five second sound bites, fifteen second political plugs, thirty second ads, sixty second PSAs, two minute warnings, ten minute rice, and twenty four hour news channels, high-speed internet connections, TV on demand, open-ended encyclopedias at our disposal, we can’t tolerate, won’t tolerate, such teasing, such willful desertion of our current sense of time, our present-day worth of time, our contemporary work ethic, one that teaches us the value of time, for we value our time, like those passengers awaiting their day’s work we don’t want it wasted on long run-on sentences and never ending strings of clauses lest our lives be cut short, again, like those passengers awaiting their day’s work, though they don’t know what awaits them, what’s already been alluded to—that their lives will be cut short.
And so, let it be known that this extraordinary bus on an ordinary day was involved in an accident which ended the lives of all those aboard, and some not aboard. The details of this crash, however, will have to await the next post.
To whet the reader’s appetite, to give reason for return, let this be shared: the story does not end with the death of these passengers, but merely begins. Well, there’s an exception or two, but that’s to be expected. You see, some of these passengers passed on to what some might call Heaven, while others, the majority—sadly enough—went to what others might call Hell. Who went where and what did they find upon their arrival? That is what the episodes that shall follow will reveal. Please join in and read on...