>On the Bus

>[En lignende, dansk skriveøvelse kan findes her]

1. Write a short text about a bus. Third-person narrator, max 250 words.
2. Rewrite the story, using a first-person narrator. Max 250 words. Time: 2 x 10 minutes.

On the bus.

The driver let the wide door slide open with a wheezing sound. Half a dozen passengers were queuing up. The young ones jumped on first. Four or five with satchels or rucksacks, colourful and loud like parrots in the rain forest. Next a couple of housewives in sensible shoes and bulging Tesco bags in both hands. Then a male passenger with attaché case and quality paper under his arm.

A plump woman with a wide-eyed child in a pram and two large bags stood waiting patiently. The driver rose half-way but noticed yet another one. Last man in the queue, a skinny fellow in jeans, grabbed the pram and helped the little family onboard.

“Thanks a lot”. The young mother sent him a bright smile before pushing the pram aside near the door in the middle. She bent over the child, and for a second her happy gooogligooo drowned all other sounds.

Purring, the bus rolled along while the doors slid back. The driver squinted at the digital watch above his head. Twenty minutes past five. Only two minutes behind schedule, and in less than an hour he could be with his family.

Next stop. The bell rang, and automatically he registered the four passengers in the queue. None looked drunk or aggressive. A handful left the bus via the middle door. An easy day he thought, exactly when the middle part of the bus rose from the street in a blinding light.


On the bus

I have chosen a crowded stop. I stay behind in the queue while I study the other passengers. Five teenagers with supersonic mobile phones to their ears who are capable of chatting among themselves simultaneously. That bunch won´t notice anyone over twenty.

Two chatty shoppers and a clerky type. I ignore the two but stay outside his field of vision behind the mother with the fat child in the pram. Without a word I grab the sticky handle, and in one precise movement we lift it over the two steps. I move in between her and the bags, only for a moment, but long enough. I put them on the floor next to her. She thanks me profusely and I send her a short smile. She will be able to remember me, but if everything happens according to my plan that won´t make any difference.

The woman pushes her messy menagerie as far aside as she is capable of and bends over the little lump of fat. Nice thighs. I slide into a seat next to the middle door while I squint at my watch. Twenty minutes past five. Two minutes behind the schedule but it will be okay.

I get up early so I can push the button with my knuckle. Never take any chances. The bus pulls into the curb. I can feel my pulse throbbing but with measured steps I cross the street and slip in between two rows of shops as a tremendous flash of light is mirrored in the shop fronts.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in flash fiction, Writing exercise. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to >On the Bus

  1. Tim says:

    >I’d guess you spent some time beyond the 2×10 mins in thinking this one out …?It’s very good. Do you write longer stories too?

  2. Dorte H says:

    >Care; thank you ;)Tim; I am really glad you liked it. But for a text as short as this there is not much to plan so I more or less jumped on the bus and began writing, waiting to see where my fingers would bring me. I knew from the beginning that I wanted some kind of criminal to be the narrator of the second part, but first I thought of letting him snatch a handbag. While I wrote I could see that he was far too dedicated and focused for the crime to be petty so that is why I made him into a terrorist. I am not going to admit how much time I spent translating it, though. I am not squeamish about blogging in English, but trying to write fiction is altogether different. I began my ´writing career´ by writing two crime manuscripts, but as I have not been able to sell them, I try to learn more tricks of the trade via my writing course, and I really think I learn a lot from the other participants´ comments. And yours, of course 🙂

  3. Julia Smith says:

    >Woo! This felt like an episode of ‘Spooks’!

  4. lilly says:

    >Wow! Awesome job Dorte! I really enjoyed reading your story.P.S. I’m glad you like visiting my “Borrowed Words” posts 🙂

  5. Dorte H says:

    >Julia, I don´t even know Spooks. I hope it is a good series 😉 Lilly, thanks a lot. It is great to get some feedback.

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