this is a true story. and that scares me.

Reluctant Adventure

Alexa looked at the piece of paper in her hand.

The Time Before Steam Ships. PS238.B78

She raised one eyebrow and shrugged. If her step-brother wanted the book, then she would get the book. She looked back up at the APU library and marched in. Alexa had frequented the hallowed halls of knowledge before, but never had she sought for one specific book. At the information counter, she was directed toward the level two, to the left, back row stacks.

After a failed first attempt, the Librarian disdainfully showed her where the book was.

It should be noted here, that Alexa was wearing three quarter Capri pants, stripped leggings, a long black coat; a polka dotted sling back pack and is holding a large blue speckled pot. The pot was frequently questioned, but it's purpose I must repeat is largely musical.

With the book in hand, success near, she dared venture to the bus stop.

She had been told by the Librarian that Route #3, no way, no how, would take her near where she wanted. So her plan was to simply take the free shuttle to the University Center and walk the mile to her brother's work, Title Wave Books, from there. Not pleasant on this chilly first day of snow to be sure, but bearable. As she approached the stop she noticed that Bus Route #45 was pulling up.

Swearing to herself that she knew for a fact #45 went to the public library, she boarded. If she could only get to the public library, she would be halfway to her final destination.

As it turns out, #45 actually only goes down town. Which is several miles from her desired destination. And unlike many other down town headed buses, it goes no where near either of Alexa's intended stops.

Sitting on the bus, hugging her blue pot close she watched mystified as the bus took a long and tangled route. The fat bearded man (who did not resemble Santa Clause), who sat across from here, watched her with beady brown eyes. "Nice pot you got there."

"Uh huh." She nodded, thinking to herself: Maybe I can get off at the next stop…

"Be a nice stew pot." He winked. "Fit real good on an electric burner. Make some nice stew."

"Right." She swallowed. "It's for musical purposes, actually."

She hugged the pot tighter as more people boarded the bus. The next 45 minutes of bus 45 grew increasingly annoying as more and more people packed on. This included one baby that would not stop crying. It's high pitched shrieks echoed in the awkward silence.

The fat man continued to eye her pot.

Alexa looked up and sighed in relief as they approached downtown. She yanked on the yellow cord, demanding a stop. To her dismay, the bell did not chime. Luckily, everyone on the bus decided to chime in and tell her how to properly pull the cord.

The bus driver got the message and stopped.

Sprinting off the buss, the fat man watched the pot, a fat prize for stew making, bounce away.

As anxious as Alex was to get to her step-brother, she was not in the mood for another venture to the bus. She idled down the street, making a brief stop in a gift store. Alexa was now armed with new gloves to stave away the increasing chill. Knowing she could not stay down town for much longer, she headed to the dreaded bus stop.

The fat man was sitting on a bench in the depot, and he looked considerably happier to see the beautiful blue speckled pot enter the building.

A quick word with the information desk, and Alexa was told that the bus she wanted would be arriving in thirty minutes.

Always, always, I cannot stress this anymore, always chose carefully where you sit in a bus depot. Sit cross legged, with you back against the wall in a spot where you can observe your approaching salvation on wheels and any threats.

With this advice in mind, Alexa picked a harmless bench in front of the window, by the security camera. Fat man moved himself one bench closer to watch the pot.

And for the second time that day, she cursed the fact that her iPod had been left at home.

Drunks came and went about her, smelling of smoke. Across from her was a strange bald man in a sweater vest, penny loafers and hideous socks. His eyes darted about as he nervously counted the board.

Thirty minutes passed surprisingly quickly, but only in retrospect, as beloved bus route #7A arrived.

The fat man watched sadly as the blue speckled pot boarded the bus and left. If Alexa hadn't been avoiding his gaze, she probably would have seen a single tear fall from his cheek. There would be no stew for his fat round belly tonight.

With the advantage of boarding an empty bus, Alexa picked a seat at the back next to the book section. Sadly no easy mystery books were available today but only one solitarily beaten romance novel. It was not curiosity, but a soul crushing boredom, that prompted her to pick up the weathered paper back.

Cheerleaders: All the Way.

Yes. Yes, it really did say that. And Yes it really did proclaim on the back: Falling in love is hard to do, and it's even harder to tell the head of the rival basketball team No. But Kimberley is not sure if she wants to say no when she sees the ruggedly handsome Jared. When the high school matches gets even more heated they have to fight together.

After making sure the only occupant next to her was her large pot and new gloves, she opened the book.

Chapter One: Things Heat Up

Kimberly Anne Margaret had soft milk white skin and honey blonde hair. Her curvaceous body fit snuggly into the cheerleading out fit she wore. She performed-

Alexa shut the book before she burst out in an inevitable bout of giggles that would earn her weird stares. Because, riding on the buss while holding a blue pot makes you weird. Never mind the woman with green cat eye contacts, the woman angrily yelling at her window reflection in another language, the man on the phone, or those that smelled of alcohol as their eyes flickered around the bus suspiciously. No, they were normal. Even the guy in the baggy purple sweat shirt that read Home Grown and a pot leaf with a hazy far off look in his eyes was completely normal.

It was the pot that singled her out as weird.

To her enormous relief, Title Wave Books was close.

Well, around the corner, but that was close enough. A tall lanky man, one row ahead of her had started to howl, presumably because he was barking mad. She tugged the yellow cord and the bus came to a halt. As Alexa stood to get up the bus driver opened the front door. However, despite her yells, the bus driver did not open the back door but started to pull away. The message spread quickly through the packed vehicle.

Finally the bus driver got word and opened it. With a hop, Alexa was free.

To her dismay, as she approached Title Wave Books a bus stop was in front of the store. The sign politely stated that Bus Route 3 stopped here. This was of course the bus Alexa had been previously reassured would go no where near Title Wave Books. As she carefully read the sign, she happily noted that she could use the route to take her home. With a new found determination, Alexa marched into Title Wave Books.

Her adventure had begun at 10am. It was noon exactly when she marched through the door with cold body and frozen eyes.

"Nice pot." Her brother joked from behind the customer service desk.

"Got your book." She said with false cheer as she slammed it onto the counter.

"Would you like anything?" he asked politely as he inspected the book.

"Nope." She nodded, brushing her purple bangs from her eyes, "but thanks for the offer. I've got a bus to catch."

Her brother gasped in mild horror. He himself had sworn off public transportation, and preferred to walk several miles in blizzards before venturing towards the diseased busses. "You rode the bus?"

"Several." She said, letting some of her bitterness seep through. "Several busses, in fact. I've got another one in 15 minutes."

"Well, good luck." Her brother smiled as the phone rang.

"I see you're busy, I'm gonna go." She waved goodbye and walked out the door.

She walked over to the bus stop with her polka dot back pack swinging. She wouldn't realize it until later, but the pot had mysteriously vanished in the depths of Title Wave. The native man sitting on the bench looked up at her approach. "Hey Polka Dots."

"Hey." She half smiled wearily.

"They not big, but polka dots is polka dots." He pointed to her back pack.

She nodded mutely.

"This real nice couple leant me there place on Diomeade once. I went up there and smoked a whole bunch of weed," he smiled at the memory, but stopped suddenly, "Sorry if I embarrass you…"

"No you're fine." Alexa said politely.

"Well, it was really cool," he smiled, "I went up there with a couple of ounces of weed and from their house I could see the sunset and all the lights turn on across the ocean in Russia."

"Nifty." Alexa said dryly.

An old native man swaggered by and the man Alexa had been talking to waved him over. They immediately started conversing in a native dialect of clicks and fast paced friendliness. The man at the stop pulled out a bottle of vodka from his back pack and handed it to the native. The native took a swig and handed it back to him. With a wave, the native left.

Alexa's 'friend' (and I use this term lightly) put the vodka away and turned to her. "I used to work the most dangerous job you know. "

She nodded curtly. So he was a fishermen. She still didn't care. Her watch told her it was 12:30pm, the bus was supposed to be there shortly. She tapped her foot and looked around anxiously, as he continued to chatter.

"What's your name again?"

"Elise." Alexa lied.

"I ain't heard a name like that before. My name is Buckley."

Alexa smiled and nodded. She felt relief wash over her when she looked up to see the approaching chariot of the gods. "Oh look," she said almost to herself, "there's my bus."

Buckley frowned slightly, hating to see his form of entertainment go. "Well good luck then."

Alexa fumbled for her bus pas, trying to retrieve it as quickly as possible. The bus came to a dead stop in front of her. As she got on the bus, and found a comfortable spot in the back she looked out the window.

Buckley waved goodbye to her from the stop.


She made it home half an hour later, relived to report that nothing stranger than a phone call confusing legal/illegal pot happened on that last bus.

Two hillbillies are fixing her dishwasher as she types this. She sits werily on her couch, typing and looking over at the kitchen.

"Dear hell, am I telln' the truth, I ain't scared of nothing but air-planes," says the first hillbilly, a tall lanky man that likes to wear his baseball cap backwards.

"Mhmm," murmers his partner, a somewhat shorter man. His voice is quiet, he keeps his opinions reserved.

"Ain't got no control of them flying machines."

"That's the truth."

"You can kiss your ass good bye."

"I ever tell you bout the plane with all the hostages?"

"I wouldn't be a good hostage at all. I don't play well with others."

"This ain't fun."

The second hillbilly keeps muttering, but the first is loud and blunt. He fears airplanes, and plans to go bass fishing later.

Alexa fears that there will be much more to type.

Because in this lightless great land, the day never ends.

And some adventure always begins.

.:The End:.