My name is Walter Higgins. I drive the number 10 bus on the afternoon route. I am there behind the wheel from three o'clock until around eleven at night. A lot of my regular passengers are getting off work or heading to work on the night shift. Others are taking my bus downtown, or to the mall, or to grandma's house. Then there are those who ride the bus for other reasons. Sometimes I just listen.
She got on the bus early one Monday afternoon. It was my second stop after starting my route that day. You don't get all that many exceptionally beautiful women on the number 10 bus, or any other bus for that matter except maybe the college run. I remember her well, dressed in those tight little electric blue short shorts, a t-shirt that said "Don't you wish your girlfriend looked like me" and a pair of those cheap plastic flip flops. She had a pink and black backpack over her shoulder and paid the fare with a crisp one dollar bill before sitting down in the long bench over my right shoulder. We call that bench the short time stretcher because it runs vertical from the front of the bus to the back instead of across and it is usually taken by those who are only going a few stops or have a lot of bags with them. She was sitting there because she knew I'd be watching her in my mirror.
Old Gordie was sitting directly behind me that day, as he usually did, on his way to the library downtown to recruit for one of his crazy causes. Old Gordie was tallking more than usual that day, but I didn't hear much of what he said, especially after that young woman in the short shorts, who couldn't have been more than twenty-five years old, pulled the first bottle of lotion out of her pink backpack.
"We've got too many laws in this country, don't ya know," Old Gordie was telling me. "When you have too many laws it is an assault against the working man. When you start enforcing all those laws, don't ya know, then you have a whole plot to keep the working man down. Them rich folk can afford to pay them parking tickets and speeding tickets and inspection fees and itemization taxes, don't ya know, but when the working man gets hit with a fifty dollar fine or a two hundred dollar fee for somethin' it takes a wallop on his wallet."
She brought her left leg up onto the plastic bench and let her flip flop drop to the floor. She poured a fairly liberal quantity of the lotion onto her knee and began slowly running her hand through the lotion and down her thigh with an almost silent sigh. I could not believe what I was seeing, but had to force myself to look away when I slammed the brakes as the light ahead turned red. I almost crushed one of those new VW Beetles that was travelling just ahead of me.
"Whoa, Walt, go easy on them brakes there, don't ya know. A working man like yourself can't afford to get himself in one of those there traffic accidents. They'll pull your license and suspend ya and then how will you pay the electric bill at your place?"
"Sorry, Gordie," I muttered and then looked back at the rest of my passengers. Few seemed to have noticed the sudden stop and even fewer seemed to care.
I glanced over at the woman with the lotion and she was gently smiling, looking as if she was holding back a giggle. She made a strange and ethereal sound, almost like an orgasm muffled by enchanted music, as she used both of her hands to rub the lotion up and around her thigh, lifting her left leg up and pointing her painted toes across the walkway.
My next stop arrived and I almost missed it as I tried to carefully balance my attention between the road ahead of me and the antics of this woman. She began moving her hands down to her calves, folding her leg back towards her and making that ethereal sound again as I came to a stop.
Evelyn Waters, a nurses' aide who works second shift at the nursing home was waiting for me at the stop. A fairly big woman who had hip replacement surgery last summer, she took a while to get on board. As she ambled up the steps and pulled a crumpled dollar out of her purse, I looked over at the woman behind me. She had dropped her left leg back onto the floor and slipped her foot back into the flip flop. She waited until Evelyn sat down and I started driving again before she brought her right knee up to her chin and picked up the bottle of lotion again. She gently kissed her knee and looked over at me, and I am fairly certain I saw her tongue slide out of her mouth and playfully lick her knee before she allowed an audible giggle to escape her mouth. Then she squeezed the bottle of lotion a bit too hard, sending a rush of creamy white liquid cascading over her knee and down along the inside of her thigh until it crept under the inseam of her little shorts towards whatever secrets she held down there. She lightly bit her lower lip and looked in my direction all too briefly with an apologetic flutter.
"Ooops," I heard her whisper as her hands glided down between her legs and began drawing the mass of lotion back up her thigh.
"Are you listening to me, Walt? I'm talking here, don't ya know? What's up with you today? Something distracting you?"
Old Gordie seemed to have no inkling whatsoever as to why I might have been distracted and showing little interest in his latest diatribe. He continued talking after loudly sighing, but I no longer heard a word he said. The woman over my shoulder was diligently trying to find a way to make use of the incredible abundance of lotion that was now covering her legs like a coat of paint, not to mention the seat beneath her and the run-off that found its way onto the floor with big, sloppy drops.
Just as I thought she would pull some kind of towel or even a shirt out of her backpack to clean up the mess she was making, she kicked both of her flip flops across the walkway and reclined lengthwise across the bench. Then she poured more lotion onto her left leg, apparently in an effort to create just as much of an abundance on both legs. Then she just closed her eyes, leaned her head back and began running her hands up and down her legs, from her toes up high along the insides of her thighs, moving her legs in a cycling motion and then stretching them out before cycling again.
I heard a "thump thump" noise from underneath the bus and realized I was no longer paying any attention to my route. I had missed two stops, stranded Mr. Gonsalves at Fifth and Vine, and had run over something. A voice inside me wanted to address the issue over my right shoulder, but a louder voice could not bear the idea of doing anything to interrupt these events as they unfolded.
When she brought the second bottle of lotion out of her backpack I woke up in the hospital.