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I’ve finished it! I’m going to post this short story, and not look at it again for a few days. I want to enter it into a competition and the cut off date is the 1st of May. So until then, I might look at some more short stories and edit them… or do my assignments for uni. Lol.

Anyway, read, enjoy, tell me what you think.

Lenny’s Graveyard Run

By: Lisa Harte

April 2015.

The bus barrelled down the dirt road; the driver hunched over the big clockwork steering wheel as close as he could get.

His scrawny fingers were wrapped around the cool lack metal so tightly that his knuckles looked ready to split his skin.

His name was Lenny, and his mood was foul, not that there was anyone to notice but such was his lot in life.

He was a bus driver. So he drove.

And he fumed.

– Goddamn sell-out corporate company. Work like hell, put in the hours, the days, the weeks, for years and years, but does that count? Noooo. It sure don’t. One lousy ‘mistake’ and it’s like you’re a newbie they can push around. You get the goddamn, stinking, graveyard run. –

Lenny hauled at the wheel

– And that prick of an inspector. He was just one of those grunts, and they promote HIM and every word that comes out his his ass is like pure gold. A stupid PC price that probably wipes his ass on brown paper just to show he’s integrated. And anyway. I was right! I did NOT make a mistake. When it’s the job I am always right, they’re just too stupid to know it. –

It looked like it may rain.

– And that dumb tramp, the complainant? What a world we live in when somebody like HER is believed more than a professional. It don’t make sense. All I did was stand up for the now good old fashioned, and solid values. Then BANG. Everyone hates me. –

It was raining for real. Unregulated, and uncontrolled rain started to pelt the panoramic windshield of his bus. Lenny could feel the blood pumping to his face, in the reflection he was red. Vermillion red.

So red that it could have a pulse.

– Great. Just great. If this were my regular route there’d be nice controlled weather for for city life and business needs. Out here it’s chaos for God’s sake! It rains where and when it feels like it!

Lenny could just imagine the dirt turning into mud that would splash up against the lovely chrome sheen on his bus. The mud would cover the ungrateful passengers and unregulated water, and they would then stomp and trek through his lovely pristine bus.

– Don’t they know how hard I work to keep their stretch out? Don’t they appreciate that I clean the floors and scrape their leftovers from the bottoms of the seats! Nooooooo! –

The angrier he got the more he stomped on the accelerator.

The dashboard bleeped and a light flashed red to get his attention, the computer overload the mute he’d activated as soon as he boarded.

“Caution, Comrade,” Lenny muttered, snarling his lips up and making his voice sound high and winy, imitating the voice that he knew was going to come.

Caution, Comrade. Speed has now exceeded Federal Regulations. Please rectify or lose manual control as per Company regulations.”

– Naturally, the damn computer’s voice is delivered in the nonsensical drone of a woman. Of course it is. There is always a woman nagging you.-

The bus driver continued to mumble about the injustice of women and their ‘nit-picking’, but still he complied and eased his foot off the pedal.

After the ‘incident’, Lenny was sent to the company’s counsellor to teach the man some calming techniques. At first it was all corporate bureaucratic nonsense to him, he was furious when they told him he had to take some anger management sessions with shrink or else he would be in danger of losing his job. The anger drained out of the Lenny with that information, he was for once afraid. He went to the appointment, he sat in the waiting room and he sweated more than he had ever before.

It was now or never. Lenny gave it a try.

            – Breathing colours, for God’s sake. What a joke. Then the shrink tells me that the colours will change as I breathed in, and then out. I was meant to imagine that the negative colours were being filtered out… Or something like that. I tell ya, I’m so glad it was a guy telling me this crap. It’s the only way that it made sense. It was a bit prissy, but whatever. –

Lenny was starting to feel calm again after imagining that he was breathing in a bright, fluorescent pink and when he exhaled the colour turned into a very calm, and soothing blue.

Then the computer bleeped at him, a cyan blue light flashed and the computer again spoke in her honeyed voice.

‘Approaching fare stage. Boarding passenger imminent.’

Enraged again, Lenny glared through the rain flowing down his windshield. Then his eyes narrowed to slits as he scowled at the dashboard.

Then he snarled.

“Computer. Unregulated weather conditions are not optimum for passenger boarding.”

“Detroit State Incorporation Company Regulations, Section 10, Paragraph 9, clearly state that -“

“Yeah, yeah.”

Lenny muted the computer again. He knew the Detroit State Incorporation Company Regulations by heart. He knew exactly what the computer would have said to him. He has nightmares about that computer’s voice.

The bus eased to a stop.

Lenny took one more calming breath and touched the dashboard, the glass doors whooped open.

The passenger was wet.

And muddy.

The passenger was a woman.

Lenny rolled his eyes heavenward and sighed.

– Mighta known. –

“Destination and stand still for ID scan. On the mark.”

– Oh shit. I forgot to say please.-

The woman stepped to the mark, she was holding herself in a way that made her look small. Lenny was instantly on his guard. In his mind, women only made themselves seem vulnerable and demure for a reason.

“Sir, I desire to go somewhere I can find shelter. As to my destination, I have no idea where I am.”

– Great, this is really my night. NOT. –

Lenny said nothing. He sat scowling at her doe a few uncomfortable seconds.

“How much money you got?”

“Please excuse me, Sir. But I have none.”

Lenny gave a tortured sigh.

“Then why did you wave me down?”

His words came out in a screech, but the woman was unmoved.

Lenny glared at the dashboard. Readout said that she was registered as female, her name – Carma something that he couldn’t pronounce or even tried to. No present employment or residential status.

– Goddamn itinerants. Weird names and no money. It figures. Only somebody like this would be out here, in the sticks, at this time of night. –

While this battle was going on in Lenny’s head, the woman, Carma Something, was not phased by his instructions and alighted the bus, and out of the rain.

Then all deference gone, she shook her wet hair, water splattered against the glass. No fear. She looked Lenny the bus driver straight in the eye.

“I can pay in other ways.”

Just in case he was unsure what she meant, the woman began to unbutton her coat.

Lenny fell back on Company Regs.

            “You WILL desist, madam!”

            – My God. Did I just say that? –

Lenny didn’t get a chance to finish.

He didn’t get a chance to finish because when the woman unbuttoned her coat it was to draw out a Police Pistol Mark 5 with witch she shot the driver neatly between the eyes.

She enjoyed it. Every little bit of it.

The way his eyes popped, the way his jaw sagged onto his chest and the way he flopped back when the bullet hit.

As if he had enough and leaned back, weary of it all.

Carma had lifted the pistol odd a foolishly trusting detective. She persevered it to the MArk 3 she carried before. It had much better action and a decent silencer, thus a much better, and a calmer shot.

She opened the driver’s booth and looked at the body. Neat and tidy, hair greased back, uniform immaculate.

It was likely to be all his own work.

Mark’s like this – she scanned the ID plate – Leonard Bronsen, were getting rarer.

Control freaks, the right guy if the right guy’s always right. A man who would beat a woman down into submission. Why not? He would think that is how things should be.

Carma frisked the body and got nothing she could use.

House keys on a ring.

A wallet.

Empty of course, except for an appointment card for a downtown shrink. It figured. Too little too late, Lenny, Carma thought. Yes, Mr. Leonard Bronsen saw women as drudges, whores and bitches. You got one right.

She dragged the body out into the night. The boots clunked as rattled on the metal stairs and then Lenny’s lifeless body squelched as he hit the mud.

Back on board, Carma tapped the dashboard.

“Confirm present location please.”

A map appeared.

She let the computer auto-drive her to some more congenial spot and sat back.

It certainly felt good to be out of the rain.

La Fin.

1, 490 words.