It was published and folks liked it; except my writer friend, Darryl. He said it wasn't bad; just not clear. What I took from his critique, is that the choir you write to/for are more forgiving than absolute strangers. The strangers need context and a reason to read your story. So I added a new sentence and tweaked a few others. I believe I kept the spirit of the original and didn't make it too literal. Tell me what you think.
Rosa Parks isn’t the only African American who had ‘bus’ issues. In 1959, in Binghamton, New York my mother and I were in a bus story of our own.
The bus would show up early. It was the end of the route and the beginning. The stop was in front of Jeffrey’s house, my Irish friend. Jeff would invite me over and we would build model bomber planes and army tanks. I would look for Jeffrey every time while Mom and I were waiting for the Conklin Ave bus to change its destination sign to Clinton street.
“He has to pay the adult price”, the driver insisted after I put my two nickels into the slot.
“He’s only eight years old, and I have his birth certificate right here”.
“That boy is too tall and I don’t care what you got. Full fare”.
“No, give me his money back.”
“You know I can’t reach into this coin box and fetch that dime. Are you going to ride or not? I got a schedule to keep.”
I knew all about schedules with trains, buses and taxi’s. I would set up my trains and read the times off the folded Erie-Lackawanna passenger schedule as they rolled on the ‘O’ gauge tracks. I always asked daddy if he would buy me more track and he always said maybe next payday. Jeffrey had a bigger train set although they were in the smaller ‘HO’ size. When Jeffrey and I were forced to go outside, we would find some apple trees to climb or catch minnows in Felter’s creek. Today, I wished that Jeffery was home.
“I’m not paying extra for him and we’re not getting off this bus”.
“I’m not moving this bus until you pay the full fare for him.”
“Hey driver, if the gal says the boy is eight, let ‘em be.”
“Gal? Mister, who you callin’ gal?”
Jeffrey had gone somewhere with his older sister. His father had said come back later in the afternoon. From the bus window I could see Jeffrey’s glider plane still stuck in the acorn tree. The wind hadn’t blown it down and there were no branches low enough to grab to climb it. It was two nickels.
The bus lurched and Mama hit her forehead on the windshield.
“Go and sit down! And don’t get on my bus again. I got a schedule to keep.”
“Ma, your forehead is bleeding.”
“That’s alright, this ain’t over. Did you talk to Jeffrey today?------------------
What’s your bus story?