Her large, sagging breasts were being held tightly against her body with one arm, while the other was preoccupied picking up coins falling out of her cleavage. For every coin that she picked up off the floor, four more came rushing out. A coin in the bosom was worth four on the floor. She was like a walking slot machine. The assorted coins dropping out of her clutched breasts chimed loudly. They jingled off the ground, waterfalling uncontrollably. For a brief moment, the clatter of coins clashing on the rubber-lined floors disrupted the smartphone consumption of some riders; others went unfazed.
The real gold was falling out of her fleshy lips. Whatever she was on granted her the ability to dig deep into her vocabulary for profanity that could easily proliferate within the bus’s physical space. With the force of a tornado, her words hit the ears of the riders, most of which began to dig through their purses and backpacks for earbuds, to drown away with music what she couldn’t with drugs. The threats she was making consisted of popping you in the mouth and demanding that you pay her 20 dollars. Like an actor reciting a well rehearsed Shakespeare soliloquy, she let out an eloquent and uninterrupted stream of “punk-ass bitches” and “I’m gonna kill that mothafucka.”
She was wearing a royal-blue sundress, with big sky-blue Hawaiian plumeria flowers printed all over it. It was concealing the lower half of her body, just below her bloated navel. Her voluptuousness was part of the reason why the dress hadn’t slid all the way off, down to her ankles. Her hair was dyed blonde and buzzed cut. Her make-up seemed to have been applied haphazardly and looked clownish at best. It did little to hide her age or the unfortunate experiences she had faced. Her expression was that of an angry, snarling bulldog trying to escape the rough petting of children.
After successfully gathering all of the wayward coins off the floor and under other patrons’ seats, she went back to the heap of bags she had placed near the rear exit. As she moved toward her large canvas bag, she released her breasts from their restraint. They descended like wet socks thrown over and teetering on a clothesline— bouncing up and down, swinging back and forth, side to side— restrained by a single clothespin. They were long and flat, like twin turbines on a fighter jet. Get too close and she would’ve knocked your head clean off.
“Don’t fucking touch me,” she yelled. Nobody was within a 3-foot radius from her. “I kick your mothafucking ass, mothafucka.” She was peering her head forward and pointing out the double Plexiglas doors. It almost looked as though she was arguing with her reflection, chasing her own shadow like a lost boy from Neverland. She was yet another victim of LA, the land of never-gonna-happen, where you can easily La-La your life away. The bystanders treat people like this bosomy lady as a mere inconvenience, a bump on the road. Other people don’t help because they can’t even help themselves. There we were, me on the road home and she on the road to perdition.
When I saw her large nipples making eye contact with me, I had to do a double take just to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me. My instinctive reaction was to look away and then sneak a look. Back and forth. Don’t look, then look. I was like a prudish maiden hiding her curiosity behind a delicately crocheted white lace fan. I couldn’t stop looking. I wanted to analyze her body and figure out where all of her scars and bruises had come from. When did all of the neglect that she and the citizens of the city inflicted on her begin to happen? When she noticed that I was admiring her large chest, she smiled and threw a penny at me. It was her way of saying “I see you looking at my titties. I’m glad you like them.” I was compelled to pick it up and return the coin she had so laboriously worked to collect a few moments ago, but I was apprehensive to do so due to her mercurial temper which could have turned on a dime from coy to destroy. From coquettishly rubbing her nipple to scrubbing the floor with me.
Using the same disruptive and imposing will with which she had thrusted herself into the bus’s rear exit, she now demanded the driver to stop the goddamned bus.
“Let me out, let me out,” she yelled. “Let me the fuck out.” She pulled up her dress and tucked her gelatinous breasts into it one by one. As she swung the cluster of bags onto her back, a dirty piece of cardboard fell out from one of them, like a dirty little secret. She exited the bus yelling at the top of her lungs, “Good morning, Beverly Hills.” It was 10:37 p.m., and we were in Hollywood. This elicited a “Shut the fuck up” from another patron who had slept through the whole debacle. He appeared to be a hybrid of the Snow White dwarves Sleepy and Grumpy. By the scent emanating from his direction, he could have also been Stinky, if ever the group of little men decided to incorporate an eighth member.
The sign left behind read:
Succinct. To the point. Twitter friendly.
The word “CHANGE” wasn’t followed by a question mark. Why bother? Did she even have a choice? Did we? She didn’t want to complicate her message or go over the character limit. It simply wasn’t in her character. I picked it up and took it with me when I exited the bus. I placed it on a bus bench. Maybe someone else would find it useful or inspiring. It definitely inspired me. That night, I lay in bed— wide awake— with the image of that woman’s sadness hanging on my mind.
Oseguera, J. L., Jr. (2017). Where I Hide With My Loneliness [Drawing]. stripSearchLA, Los Angeles, CA.