The Bus Driver 1,600 Crime Remourse


Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: The Bus Driver 1,600 Crime Remourse

  1. #1
    Member hvysmker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Fremont, Ohio USA
    Posts
    694
    Blog Entries
    2

    The Bus Driver 1,600 Crime Remourse

    The only dishonest thing he'd done in his entire life was to get involved with those crooks. They had made it seem so easy -- and profitable.
    -------------
    An old man stopped in at a local liquor store. It was the last Friday of the month and he carried his monthly Social Security check, payday for him. He appeared well-dressed in a brown suit with a green tie and carrying a briefcase.

    If you looked closely, you would see the worn and patched condition of the suit. Holes in highly-polished shoes were hidden on the bottoms. The man carried a black briefcase thriftily patched by matching Duct tape but with only one catch still working. At first glance, he looked like a typical office worker on his way home to a waiting family.

    Michael looked over the large selection of liquors, mouth watering in anticipation. His eyes settled on a bottle of "Four Roses" blended whiskey. Why not? he figured. It was a special occasion, being his seventy-fifth birthday.

    The clerk looked over, eyes bleary from sampling his own wares.

    "Got yer’ Muscatel 'ere, Mike.” The clerk reached for an open case sitting near his feet, on the floorboards.

    "No, Larry,” was Michael’s somewhat reluctant reply, “give me that fifth of Four Roses.” He had almost backed out, considering the expense.

    "Gettin’ up in da’ wol’d uh, Mike?”

    "Na, Larry. Payday and my birthday, both,” the old man told him. “Guess I’ll splurge for once.”

    "Eight-seventy-nine.” Larry took the bottle down from a shelf. “Wan’ me ta wrap it fer’ ya? How old ya’ a gettin’ anyways?”

    "No need. I’ll just put it in my case, as usual. Seventy-five years old today.”

    "Dey’ sure do go by, don’ dey'?”

    The oldster paid and, saying goodbye to the familiar clerk, left for the short walk home.

    Michael shuffled across a darkening street toward the “Majestic Hotel,” where he had a cheap room paid for by City Social Services. The Majestic had once been a grand edifice, one preferred by visiting aristocracy. In its sunset years, it now catered to the hoi polloi. The once magnificent frontage was covered by graffiti and rust, one of its large windows boarded up from when a vandal broke it years before.

    His entrance was unannounced, the last doorman long gone to his eternal reward. The old man trudged across worn carpeting toward an open stairwell. An equally ancient desk clerk looked up from a racing form as he passed the counter.

    "Back so soon, Michael?” She smiled at him. He was one of her favorite tenants, never giving any trouble. Not like some of the lowlifes she had to put up with.

    Many of her customers were alcoholics like Michael but, unlike the old man, they often got into trouble that involved the police. They and a constant influx of hookers and Johns kept the night clerk busy. The day clerk had little to do except paperwork.

    "Too chilly for the pigeons today, Myrtle,” he replied, reaching a huge ornate staircase. The building's elevators hadn’t worked for at least twenty years. Being a longtime tenant, he had one of the choice second-floor rooms.

    Michael had worked for the transit company for over forty years. After getting out of the army at the end of WWII, he'd gotten a job as a mechanic’s helper. An industrious worker, he soon advanced to a master mechanic’s position. A little later, Michael had applied for and finally, after putting up with a long waiting list, become a bus driver.

    He had loved the job, helping people along his route. Often he'd gotten into trouble for letting the poorest ride free.

    Not being too bright or ambitious, it had taken a long time but he'd eventually risen in the hierarchy to an office job. A couple of years short of retirement, shy Michael had been talked into joining in a scheme to defraud his employer.

    When the plot had been discovered, as most are, Michael had taken his share of the blame. He had escaped prison but did find himself out of work. Blacklisted, and in his sixties, Michael had never found another decent job.

    He often sat by himself in a tiny park across the street from his old employer, daydreaming of redeeming himself to former coworkers. Michael never seemed to realize that all of them had moved on, retired, or were deceased.

    The old man found himself living on Social Security, the city paying for his single room and bath apartment. Michael had never married and his immediate family had long ago passed away. What remained lived across the country, so he was left to fend for himself in poverty.

    He still prided himself on his personal appearance and in having a nest egg for emergencies. Michael had learned to live frugally, saving whenever possible.

    Arthritic legs protesting from the climb, he walked slowly down a long, cavernous corridor to his room at the end. His steps sounded loudly on bare wooden floorboards. The carpet had been removed years before to facilitate repairing a rotting floor, and had never been replaced.

    Michael opened a padlock on his door, the original lock being broken long before, and entered the lonely room. It was filled with mismatched furniture he'd scrounged from the many empty rooms on the upper floors. Because of the lack of elevators, management couldn’t find many tenants for the top floors. They were simply left open and unlocked -- to prevent vagrants from busting doors to get in.

    Occasionally, a clerk would inspect the upper floors, along with a patrolman, and chase out the crackheads and homeless. Some always managed to sneak past the clerk to take up temporary residence between evictions. It was a constant routine. At least fear of immediate eviction kept them quiet.

    Nobody had yet bothered to break into Michael’s apartment, apparently not figuring it was worth the trouble. Even low-life thieves seemed to realize that if a person had anything worth stealing they wouldn’t be living there in the first place.

    The old man sat his briefcase down on a scarred dresser and, opening it, removed the bottle of whiskey. He would celebrate alone. Feeling an urge to relieve himself -- it came more often those days -- he went into a small bathroom and did so, filling a glass half full of tap-water while in there.

    Returning to his room, he poured good whiskey in until the glass was full. Settling gratefully into an overstuffed chair, he propped both tired legs onto a wooden kitchen chair and peered out of a lone window. His tired old eyes could see a panoramic view of the street in front of the hotel.

    Idly, he watched cars rush by, along with an occasional pedestrian. Michael could identify the regulars. Mr. Thompson, from a Mom and Pop clothing store, stuck his head out of the shop, looked around quickly, then hurried out with the day's receipts to take to the bank.

    An ancient bag-lady he knew slightly rushed from one side of the street to another, disappearing like a fugitive down a convenient alley.

    Four black boys walked along, taking up the entire sidewalk and forcing two young women to walk in the gutter. He could see the boys talking and gesturing. The nervous-looking women looked straight ahead and kept going, trying to pretend the boys didn't exist. As he aged, Michael spent more and more time in that chair. It was preferable to an extremely lumpy bed.

    He did miss the pigeons. In warmer weather, they would settle on the windowsill, eating candy and peanuts from his aged hand. Jeffery, the tamest one, would even occasionally come inside to eat from the can.

    Finishing his drink, Michael poured another and sat back down. That time propping tired legs onto the windowsill, he leaned back in his padded nest, mind drifting back to thoughts of better days. Days when he was young and adventurous....

    When the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor, he was at the head of the line at the Recruiting Office. He fought with honor all over the Far East, rising to the rank of master sergeant. After the war, Michael had moved to this city, far different than his home town in Iowa. He had then gotten his job with the Transit Authority.

    The only dishonest thing he'd done in his entire life was to get involved with those crooks. They had made it seem so easy -- and profitable. The police were waiting when the one named Arthur left work one day. They found a lot of money in bearer bonds from the bus company in the trunk of Arthur's car. Arthur turned in the others, including Michael.

    That was the end of all their careers. Michael wasn’t one of the major players or planners and avoided jail time. No whining for him. He took his punishment stoically, like a man, just as he'd taken three bullets in the attack on Wake Island....

    Feeling his age, the old man sat, thinking about his life, regretting nothing but that one slip. Except for that, Michael had lived a full and long life.

    And, after all, he thought with a rare smile, not everyone can sleep on a mattress stuffed with a half-million dollars in negotiable securities. The bottle empty, Michael staggered to the lumpy bed.

    Maybe the pigeons would be back tomorrow?

    The End.
    Charlie -- hvysmker

  2. #2
    Really good work - you've a nice eye for detail, and capture the melancholy mood perfectly. It's an idea you could maybe expand into something longer, fleshing out the earlier part of his life with flashbacks.

    Three very minor nitpicks...

    matching Duct tape
    I don't think duct is capitalised, not being a brand name.

    That time propping tired legs onto the windowsill, he leaned back in his padded nest, mind drifting back to thoughts of better days.


    Just on an instinctive level, I feel "This" should be the first word instead of "That".

    When the plot had been discovered, as most are, Michael had taken his share of the blame. He had escaped prison but did find himself out of work. Blacklisted, and in his sixties, Michael had never found another decent job.


    That was the end of all their careers. Michael wasnít one of the major players or planners and avoided jail time. No whining for him. He took his punishment stoically, like a man, just as he'd taken three bullets in the attack on Wake Island....


    I feel these two passages are giving roughly the same information, which should be avoided in a short story.

    As I say, though, these are only nitpicks, which stand out because the quality of writing is high.

    HJC


    My novels Hidden Content , Hidden Content and Hidden Content are available from Amazon

    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

    You can find me on Twitter: Hidden Content

  3. #3
    The story seems to be passive, I like the set up though. I think using this set up you could have the fraud story be a flashback. You start the story out like you did, but the flashback is what he did to earn this punishment. It'll give everything a more active voice. I also think it would be a good idea to maybe add in a family he had. A wife or a girlfriend, just make the stakes higher. The nicer you make him, the more we will feel when he decides to defraud his boss. I do really like the descriptions in this story, they make the present day world seem really grey and gloomy from his perspective. Giving this story much more of an active voice is a good direction to go.

  4. #4
    Good work, an easy read,1600 words flew by, which makes it a page turner and thereís nothing better than that.

    On plot points, the question that isnít answered is why,with so much money, a lumpy bed and arthritis, does he live where he does and drink muscatel 364 days of the year, when he obviously prefers quality Bourbon?


    As a reader, a clue is necessary, or at least an 'indication'.
    And donít tell me itís Jeffrey the pigeon!

  5. #5
    Yes, it is everything the others say, but I am thinking 'What might I edit?'
    I have a rule, put the things together that go together, look

    The old man sat his briefcase down on a scarred dresser and, opening it, removed the bottle of whiskey from the briefcase before putting it away.

    No he didn't open the dresser, or the whiskey at that point. I would construct it something like

    Crossing to a scarred dresser the old man sat his briefcase down and, opening it, removed the bottle of whiskey.

    I wouldn't list the people he could see in separate paragraphs. 'He could identify the regulars' puts them all in a class for me, it is almost a list.

    I would look for 'extra' words, words like 'Had'

    The carpet had been removed years before to facilitate repairing a rotting floor, and had never been replaced.

    The carpet removed years before, to facilitate repairing a rotting floor, had never been replaced.

    None of this stuff is vital, in some ways it is a matter of style. Really it is just a way of looking at it that may, or may not, be helpful.

    I had no trouble with the money etc. for me you established a frugal character with enough nonce that he didn't look like the organiser of the rip off, but maybe you should state it more clearly for some.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.