Men dozed. Children cried. Crowds jostled as passengers pushed to either enter or exit the bus. There was an abundance of activity in the small space which only served to make the confines seem all the more claustrophobic. The bus seemed about to burst at the seams so much activity was contained within its thin aluminum walls. Plastic, immovable windows stifled the passengers on this warm summer day and raised the temperature inside the bus astronomically. A man reading his newspaper pulled a white rag out of his pocket and mopped his forehead. Sweat already formed interconnecting lines down his bronzed face.
Michael Collins’ day had been pretty normal so far. Work had gone well, nothing to exciting, and according to the newspaper, the Rays had moved into first place. Michael smiled smugly as he thumbed through the sports section, the newspaper limp in his hands. He mopped his brow again and took a quick look around the bus. Again, nothing unusual; babies crying, men talking on their phones, and a senior couple dozing in the heat were seated closest to him. He directed his gaze out the grimy plastic windows into the crowded street beyond and sighed. At least traffic is moving quickly he mused while listening to the steady drone of traffic.
Michael returned to his floppy newspaper and forgot about the world outside the crowded, hot bus. The drone of traffic was at a constant pitch punctuated by the throaty whine of motorcycles. Michael flipped another page but something outside the bus window caught his eye. He looked up from his paper to see a red and white sport bike pacing the bus outside his window. On board were two riders dressed completely in black; one appeared to be female. He was admiring the smooth lines of the sport bike when the rider in the back glanced at him. Michael couldn’t tell much through the tinted visor, but it appeared the rider was looking straight at him. The rider looked back towards the driver and appeared to talk to him. After a brief conversation, the bike dropped behind the bus and disappeared.
Michael looked up as he heard the throaty whine returning behind the crowded bus. He looked out the window behind him but was unable to discern anything through the grimy plastic. Sunlight streamed through the window and turned the cars beyond into shadows. Michael shifted his seat to the shady side of the bus as the whine grew louder. He set his paper down on the nearby seat and gave an awkward smile to the man he had just moved away from. Suddenly the man’s head exploded violently as he pitched forward onto the ground.
Everything turned upside down all at once.