Monday, September 12, 2011

The Bus Driver

On the weekends I opened, so I would get there at 8 and she'd already be there. She was enormous and dark as asphalt. I never learned her name. She was there for the QuickDraw. She was there to stare at the blue screen and the white lines, hoping for the 3D ball to land on her numbers. It was a liquor store, but really it was sustained by the QuickDraw worshipers and the scratch off ticket junkies. At first I found it odd that she spent so much time there but over time I became acclimated to her presence as though she was a velvet painting or some ornate lightswitch cover. I would watch her thick fingers scratching in her numbers with the plastic halfpencils. I found myself staring at the huge mole on her cheek. The mole was darker still, achieving true black, and it hung from her skin like a marble attached with a dab of epoxy, like it might break off and roll away any moment. She never brought anything to eat or drink and I don't recall her ever using the tiny bathroom with its woodpanel wallpaper. Harvey let her run her own cards into the machine. This was the same man that checked my bag every time I closed, trying to act as if it was more of a joke than an accusation. She worked longer hours I did considering I at least got two days off. In the lot outside would rest her little yellow school bus. What kids call the short bus or in more extreme cases, the tart cart. I asked my boss Tom one day what he thought she would do if she hit all her numbers and found herself a millionaire. He said, it's better if you don't think about such things.