The Arctic Express by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Sky: Snows, turns dark.

Street: Freezes. Remains on a hill.

Traffic: None on this block.

Two: Did I miss the bus?

One: You either missed it, or it didn’t come.

Two: Hasn’t come.

One: One or the other. Which one?

Two: I don’t know; I asked you.

One: I meant which bus.

Two: ST220X

One: I’m ST325.

Two: How long have you been waiting?

One: Holds up a wrist well-layered with gloves and sleeves, drops it before exposing anything. I don’t know. My watch froze.

Two: Since you’ve been waiting?

One: Since I’ve been waiting.

Two: You’ve been waiting long.

One: Have I? I don’t know. My watch—

Two: Froze.

One: Right.

Four Hands: Rubbed together, stuck in pockets, pulled back out and breathed upon.

Two: Is that a bus?

One: Headlights anyway.

Traffic: A white bus swirled with ambiguous blues and greens takes ten minutes to traverse a block.

Bus: Stops. Opens door. Displays no number.

Driver: Get in fast. The brakes can’t hold for long.

One: Bounds onto bus, flashing pass.

Two: Which bus is this? Where are you going?

Driver: Everywhere we can get. This is the Arctic Express; get on.

Two: Steps away.

Bus: Begins to slip.

Driver: Your loss.

Bus: Closes door. Crawls away. Disappears after five minutes.

Two: Must be fog. Maybe they’ll let me sleep in Starbucks.


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Filed under Elizabeth Kate Switaj

6 responses to “The Arctic Express by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

  1. Somehow I think Starbucks would be a better place to be than on a bus with failing brakes! I don’t quite know what to make of this story, but it’s intriguing. :)

  2. Al McDermid

    I love all the bizarre moments; My watch froze. (Yeah, been out there awhile.) “ST220X.” “I’m ST325.” (What?!) And the driver’s ‘Everywhere we can get.’ Great fun.

  3. thought this was excellent at fnaut and still think so. bizarre indeed with greetings from beckett…

  4. I agree with Marcus here, the “Beckett’ry” at its finest, the lapses and interesting desultory choices, and banter, but playful and strange, and intriguing.

  5. Catherine Davis

    This is delicious. (As good as the ice cream I’m eating; the charms of each being beholden to their cold.)

  6. Pingback: Week #31 – Missed the bus | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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