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JULY 2005

> THE SLOW BUS | adam jackson

"Bill, don't you need some gas?" I ask as we travel along the interstate on our way to take John home. It's about 2AM and I have to get up early for work.

"Yeah, I'll get some after we drop off John. There's a Chevron right there." Bill is notorious for running out of gas. He believes in only going to Chevron. I just can't see the point of passing up gas station after gas station when you're running on fumes.

Clunk! The car stalls, choking on the last remaining fumes of gas in the tank. "Damn it Bill! I told you, you needed gas!" I don't even see why I wasted my breath. We are out of gas in the middle of the longest strip of interstate without a gas station anywhere in sight.

"You all can stay in the car if you want," he says. John and I both think about waiting two hours for Bill to walk maybe five or six miles to the nearest gas station.

"I'm not waiting in this car for you to get your ass back here," I say to him, aggravated by the whole situation. Why didn't he just buy some gas at Thorntons or Speedway or any one of the fifty gas stations we passed along the way?

I don't think we walked 100 feet before a dirty gray van pulled up beside us.

"Do you guys need a ride?" a stranger asks.

Yeah, so you can kill us? I think to myself. He is an older man in his late thirties, early forties. He has a long ZZ Top beard and long greasy hair with a grungy baseball cap on top. He kind of reminds me of a demented Santa Claus.

"Sure, we could really use a ride," Bill tells the man. "It's a long walk to the nearest gas station." John and I just looked at each other. I can see the headline now: Santa kills three!

We all climb into Santa's van. The seats are covered with tons of crap. It looks as if Santa is packed for a special trip tonight. "I have to go to work first, but I'll give you a ride afterward," Santa says.

The trip to Santa's workshop is uneventful. He works for public transportation and we all get to ride back to Bill's car in a handicap bus. Bill seems to be enjoying himself a little too much. It makes me wonder. How many times has Bill ridden in the slow bus?

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Adam Jackson knows a lot about computers and book-binding. He knows what SQL means.