Your Right to Dream

It was a slow ride from work to home on the bus. I was trying to make eye contact with some people, mostly attractive women, staring at my phone and listening to the same songs yet again. Simply minding my own business.

“Ah, ah, ah!” yelled a man at the top of his lungs. Everyone on the bus immediately turned to see what was going on; partly out of concern and partly out of scandal. The man’s head was shaking and his body was rocking back and forth. The yelling intensified as did the interest of the other passengers. A college-aged girl pulled out her phone and began to record the incident. This man’s embarrassingly painful episode would make a great Instagram post, not to be missed.

The bus driver began to yell at him like an angry mother does her rowdy kids in the back seat.

“Sir! Are you alright?” she asked. The man’s yelling ceased.

“What? Yeah, miss, I’m OK” he replied.

“Are you sure you’re fine?”

“Yeah. Why? What happened?”

“You were yelling like a maniac.” The driver stopped the bus nowhere near a bus stop or red light. She got out of her seat and walked all the way back to where the man was sitting. She wanted to get to the bottom of this. “Listen, I’m going to call the Fire Department so they can check you out.”

“Miss, you don’t have to do that.” The man started to look at the people who were transfixed on him. “See, it’s all your fault. Now they’re going to beat me up again.”

The driver went back to her seat and made an announcement. “Folks, I’m going to call the fire department so that this gentleman can get some help.” People murmured amongst themselves. “It’s gonna take a couple of minutes for them to arrive. I’ll flag down the next bus so you can board it.”

A mass exodus of people fleeted the bus onto the sidewalk. I stayed. I wanted to see what would happen when the firefighters got there. A few minutes later, the sound of sirens became more prominent as the crimson lights bathed more and more of the streets.

The firefighters boarded the bus and began to interrogate the man, in the same fashion as you would a child of four.

“Sir, are you OK?” one firefighter asked as he crouched down with his hands on his knees.

“Look, I don’t want you guys to beat me up again and cut up all my clothes,” the man implored.

“Sir, we’re not going to beat you up,” another firefighter said, “we simply want to check your blood pressure.”

“I don’t want you touching me,” the man became more agitated. “It’s all these people’s fault.” He turned to look at the few people still remaining on the bus. “Why they have to call you? If they were so concerned, they should’ve just woke me up. Shit.”

“Sir, they called us because they thought you were having a seizure.”

“I was having no seizure,” the man yelled, “Shit, I was just having a bad dream.” He looked at one of the firefighters with a sullen look. “All I want to do is get home to LA. I just came from an office where they were supposed to give me $7000.” He turned to face the passengers again. “I fought for all of y’all and this is how you repay me?”

“Sir, we don’t care. We just want to see if you’re OK,” the other firefighter replied.

When the firefighters realized that the man was fine, they told the driver that they were going to leave. The firefighters’ exit prompted the people that left the bus in a hurry to board it again.

“Y’all are a bunch of bitch ass snitches,” the man implored, “Punk ass. Bitch ass. Snitches. Can’t a man have a bad dream?” People began snickering and laughing like children at their senile grandfather.

The bus driver continued on her route as if nothing had happened, because according to the man, nothing had happened. The man kept grumbling nonsense to himself and to anyone else who would listen. He eventually went back to sleep. It had been a long day for him. So long it induced a violent nightmare.

No one seemed to care. Not even him.

 

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