Before I go any further, I have a moral obligation to inform everyone–I did not invent this story from my In Transit series. I’m serious. This really and truly happened, including the dialogue.
I was riding the 33 bus on my home from various errands. The bus had turned off 16th Street onto Mission, when a series of fire trucks and emergency vehicles, alarms screaming, steamed past the bus and stopped in front of a smoking building about three blocks ahead of us. The bus driver told the passengers that if they wanted to disembark and take a different bus, that was fine.
And now I must stop writing as myself–and start writing as Jack Kirby! The comic book legend! Who ended every sentence with an exclamation point! Never a period! Never a question mark! Always an exclamation point!! Or two!! Or three!!! I must write like this!!!
Because The Superhero boarded the bus!!!
He wore a black suit! With a white shirt! And a black necktie! Black combat boots! Black fedora with a black feather in the black hatband! And a genuine honest-to-God black mask covering his eyes! (either that or really large black sunglasses–I was behind him and too far back) The Superhero exclaimed, “Bus driver! Take me to the fire ASAP!” Then he froze in a superhero pose! Knees slightly bent with left leg in front of the right! Left forearm held in front of his face! Right arm trailing behind! Fists at the ready!
And I can’t write like this anymore; it just isn’t me. San Francisco bus drivers don’t normally stare at their passengers–why would they? They see weird every day. But our bud driver stared at this guy, and I can’t really blame him. The driver remained completely calm throughout. “Sir? I can’t move. Traffic is completely jammed.” The Superhero stayed in his superhero pose and exclaimed, “I must get to the fire at once!” “Sir? The police set up a barricade. We can’t move.” The Superhero stayed frozen in his superhero pose. And stayed there. And stayed there. And stayed there…
And now back to Jack Kirby.
The Superhero remained frozen in his superhero pose, and he stayed that way for another moment or two! The bus driver finally opened the door! The Superhero exclaimed, “Thank you, good citizen!” and jumped to the sidewalk in one mighty superhero leap! Then he ran at full superhero speed to the fire!
I sure hope he didn’t try to rescue anyone.
Vonn Scott Bair
PS–I swear I did not make this up.