Saturday, 2 April 2011

Night Bus Mentalists

I love a night bus. Just love it. When I can remember it. Like plucking various mentalists out of Broadmoor, you couldn't ask for a wider range of nutters - unless the invites went out to Gazza, Myra Hindley, Colonel Gaddafi, Uri Geller and Raoul Moat (and that would be a fun trip - just keep the knives off Hindley, the spoons off Geller and the guns off Moat).

It's not very often you get the chance to debate politics with a dribbling quantity surveyor from Putney or explain to stoned "Kamal" from Stockwell that the only way to get his daughter back is to stop robbing handbags and find a job. On a recent trip from Trafalgar Square, a Bolivian woman leant over to tell me she hadn't stopped itching for days. How gracefully reassuring. In the very same bus trip, a man turned round from the seat in front, in tears, to WHISPER how much "Before he hurt me, George used to eat jaffercakes, to eat jaffercakes". In any other situation I would hit someone like that very hard on a soft part of their head and run like the fucking wind. On this occasion, I'm on the only bus going to East London for at least an hour and doing anything other than slowly nodding seemed like it would cause the McDonald's night worker in front to get horribly stabbed.

However much a circus the next night bus is, I will never forget the very best night bus friend I've ever made. She was the kind of twisted, crack-guzzling mentalist that night buses were designed to ferry from secure unit to secure unit - and, to protect society, someone who really should be under a very large chemical cosh. I like to call her "Shouty Witch". I got on an N8 bus at Oxford Street and quickly manoeuvred into an empty seat, grateful for a rest after a long night out on the lash. Wondering how it was a bit strange that this was the only empty seat on a packed bus, I looked at the window next to my new seat companion, which was completely steamed up as if it was a windscreen of a Eskimo's Land Rover. It was the middle of August - this struck me as rather bizarre. I was soon to find out why. My beloved Shouty Witch then let out a tirade, which I can only compare to Scatman John receiving between 80-120,000 volts of direct current, right into the steamed window. This lasted 8 minutes. Who the fuck am I sitting next to. The civilians looked round with shock - and relief that they weren't me. Then I knew exactly why this seat had been free. At this stage there is no other space, let alone seats, on this packed N8. I am going nowhere. Shouty Witch carried an odour of piss, rotting chicken drumsticks and the all the sweat of a Libyan army tank driver. Before she managed to open the sachet of Whiskas or tin of White Lightening she magically conjured from an unknown orifice, it was mercifully the time for me to get off. I'll never forget you Shouty Witch, my night bus princess - let's just hope we don't cross paths again.

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