The Bus By Penelope Deoliveira

“Time’s up ol’ friend. It’s about time we get rid of you...”

I open my eyes quickly as a big dark skinned, hearty man, pats my side gently. I hear the clinking of rusted metal, and realize that my time has come. “No! Not yet! It can’t be time already!” I only thought to myself, my horn long since broken. “I’m great with kids, I’m  roomy, and...” I pause. “...I’m fuel efficient!” I lie. It wasn’t any use; none of my pleading would get through to James, the trash dump guy. He couldn’t hear me, he couldn’t know what I knew, and he wouldn’t reconsider, even if I were the greatest school bus to have ever come into existence.

It’s clear to me now that I couldn’t avoid the inevitable. By 4 this afternoon, I’ll be crushed and compacted into a cube or made into some plastic thing the humans will find use for. I’d heard from some buses that the feeling...the sensation of going under the crusher was....horrifying. But if they’d never been ‘crushed’ before, how would they know how it feels? Others told me that it was a quick and painless death, and it was nothing to be feared. One volkswagen van told me that you don’t die at all, but become ‘reborn’ and live on as the new object. A chance to start fresh, I hope.

*I’m loaded up on some type of conveyor belt, cars in far worse condition than me waiting in front. *

Considering all things, my life wasn’t bad, although being a convertible would’ve been pretty cool. I first started out, as a new recruit, on the elite force of the school bus. We had the heavy responsibility to carry dozens of precious lives within us, but were still expected to make it to the destination on time. My first day was a day full of wonders. The world outside, the world on the road, was never ending and just magnificent. Beautiful red, yellow, and brown leaves clung to the trees that dotted along the side of the streets, and it felt as if I were running under a large, shady canopy. Adorable, 6, 7, and 8 year olds ran up inside me, their giggles and screams of delight making my insides tickle and fill with excitement. My engine filled with pride as I showed off my glossy new rims, my built exterior, my firm bumper.

*The first car falls in, and there is a horrible sound. Sounds like something was being shredded, torn apart, then slammed and crushed.*

But the best thing had to be my new driver, Bill. He was like me on his first day- inexperienced, nervous, but excited to begin.  Over the years him and I cultivated a friendship so close that I practically cried the day he retired, the summer of 97. That day was a day of mourning, and as he gave me one last pat on my hood, I had to use my windshield wipers to keep from blurring my windows.  I still have pictures of his family he had hung up almost twenty year ago, right above the steering wheel.

*Second car falls in, only two to go.*

Oh, but then, there was the time I fell in love! A lovely little porsche with headlights that would make your engine pumps beat faster than a speeding train; and that bumper! She was a naughty one, who would more than often at times leave her hood open. She would even reeve her engine if she got fired up enough! Then there was her beautiful, soft and high pitched horn, that when honked, sounded better than the birds in the trees. Whenever she parked herself next to me, I could feel my windows fog up. You could say I was really lost in love!

But! She was never mine....she fell for a sinister and (might I add rude) mustang who apparently was stronger, faster, better than me. Jeez. (Sigh). I don’t regret loving her, but I regret not being able to be brave enough to confess my feelings. Now I’ll take that regret to my grave (a.k.a the grinder). I wish I was a convertible. That would have sold her for sure....

*Next car goes in, and the screeching of metal fills my ears.*

Yes. A convertible. If I get reincarnated, I’ll want to be a convertible. If there really is a parking lot in the sky, or a none at all, at least I led an ok life. Perhaps I’ll even get to meet the famous Ford model T, an inspiration to automobiles, and my personal hero. I’m sure we’ll be best friends, of course.  

It’s my turn now, and I can feel the fuel in my gas tank settle uneasily. Is this what humans call....nervousness? Or maybe I’m just anxious to get this over with?

I can just see the drop pit out of the corner of my rear view mirror, a menacing looking 10 foot drop onto concrete. A giant anvil hammer (which I’m guessing is the grinder), slams onto the bottom every 2 seconds, causing the conveyor belt to tremble. I close my blinds, say a prayer, and take the jump of faith.

As I fell to the ground, I could see the grinder inches above me. My last words- “Here goes...!” I thought, right before everything went dark.

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