Part Two from last week ended with: To get the landowner’s permission to use his driveway as an emergency turnaround, I sent one of my high school riders to secure it while I radioed base to explain why I might be a tad behind schedule. Still no response from the bus garage.
Having received the landowner’s permission, I pulled in and began my turnaround. Somehow my stage – the considerable flat open space – began to shrink. Simultaneously the riders’ whines increased in volume as the tone of the backup beeper, the helicopter whirr of the defrosters, the drone of the diesel engine, and the noise of the wind and the rain and the thunder escalated. And I had acquired an audience. Just what I needed for this unrehearsed performance with a growing number of directors seated behind me.
I realized the landowner had the right to occupy his front row seat to watch my interpretation of the “Bus in Mud” ballet. I might have been able to pull off my debut perfectly, even with the unfortunate placement of some of the stage props – a tree, a fence, two Blazers – had not the mud sabotaged the set.
My constant sashay between the tree and the fence, necessitated by the location of the two Blazers, made a much greater impression on the mud than anticipated, and the mud decided to latch on to the bus after one final encore.
The directors seated behind me quieted long enough to make sure of the latest addition to the symphony of sounds – the spin of rear tires, which blended appropriately with the tone of the backup beeper, the helicopter whirr of the defrosters, the drone of the diesel engine, and the wind and the rain and the thunder. The beat of the wipers, present all along but not noticed, seemed to suddenly dominate and direct the orchestra until smothered by the heckles of the riders, who gave up their directors’ roles since they felt their guidance had been ignored.
With my performance ending so abruptly in failure, I turned to the only avenue left for escape, the trusted two-way radio. My pleas for rescue seemed to fade into the symphony still in progress until a dangling wire caught my eye. No wonder the radio had been silent! Holding the wire in place made the radio come alive, so keying the mike with my other hand, I sent that most dreaded message…”22 to base…I am stuck and can’t get out.”
(To be continued)