I woke up on a bus which was fairly empty, besides the few people scattered in the front and the middle sections. I was sitting in the very back, fittingly. I had on a grey hoody and jeans, but it was warm. Unusual, because it is winter. I remembered why I was on the bus. I was going to visit my friend in Queens. Although, to be on the bus was quite odd. I should be on the LIRR.
I sat up and gathered my thoughts. I looked out the window and saw the desert. Wait, there’s no desert on Long Island. There’s no desert in NEW YORK. Where am I? I recognized everyone on the bus was Latino. I was evidently the only non Spanish speaker. It wasn’t hard to tell, because everyone was speaking Spanish. Okay, besides where am I, where am I GOING?
I figured it’d be wise to find my bearings. I looked outside for road signs, hopefully written in English. That would be great! After a few seconds of travel time, I see a green highway sign overhanging the road. I couldn’t make out the writing, but I recognized the shape of my home state of Texas. Texas!? How long was I sleep? I NEVER been in the desert part of Texas. All I thought was, “I hope this bus is headed for California.”
I come to my senses and think, “why don’t you just go up front and ask the bus driver some questions?” Who knows, there could be a desert and commemorative Texas road signs somewhere in Queens. Even better, we could be headed to Cali. Then I think, “wait, he probably doesn’t speak English well.” My Spanish is trash! Oh well, here goes!
When I get to the front I see the bus driver is a brother. I was kinda surprised he was Black, but not really though. It just made me feel as if he would be more open to help me out. The first question I asked;
“You speak Ingles?”
“Ahh whatever. ¿Donde estamos vas?”
“Ehhh, Costa Rica.”
Whoa, I thought. Wasn’t expecting to hear that. All I have is the clothes on my back.
“Okay, Soy no vamos a Costa Rica. I need to get off.”
“Ohhh… Well, jou gah to wai my friend.”
“¿Caunto tiempo? Yo necesito a get off ahora.”
“I saaay, bow ten fifteen minos.”
“Ten or fifteen minutes?”
“Si, ten fifteen minos.”
Ten or fifteen minutes, then I just get off? Nah, I needed more info. I sat down in the first seat behind the driver to think about some things. This was a pretty heavy situation. What about work? How was I gonna explain why I couldn’t come in? What about my friend in Queens? Where was I gonna stay in west Texas? So I asked the driver, “where is this bus coming from?”
What? This is fucking ridiculous, I thought. I was in Cali and completely unconscious the entire time? What if I just teleported onto this bitch?
“So there are buses going back to California, right?
“Jeah buh, das ah looong way back, mane. Jou gah to go waaay back to catch de bus.”
“To de 408”
“Shiii, jou gah to wai ontil we get to the next stop.”
I began to realize he spoke English pretty well. It’s always funny when foreigners do that. Tell you their English is no good to feel you out and see if they really wanna speak to you in English.
After some time, the bus stopped and more people got on. I didn’t get off because the driver gestured me not to. He pointed in the direction of the road, signaling me that I had further to go.
“Where is a good place to go when I get off?” I reckoned I’d need somewhere to hangout before I go a looong way back, as he described it.
“I take jou to de Golden Nugget.”
I didn’t ask. I was simply anxious to get to the Golden Nugget. Ten fifteen minos had long passed by now, but I was becoming careless. The bus driver was cool. He kept everything at ease. It seemed like less than a half a second before he pointed out the window to a RV trailer park.
“Ahhh jes… de Golden Nugget.” Jou gonna like dis, mane. Trost me.”
He eased on the brakes and brought the bus to a slow stop on the dirt road at the entrance of the trailer park. He engaged the air brakes and opened the door. I got off, then he got off. Dude was genuinely concerned, but part of me believed he wanted to hangout at the Golden Nugget. He obviously had himself some wild nights here. We shook hands and he said;
“Aroun eight o’cloh, dey be boarding de buses ah 408,” as he pointed towards the distance to his right. “Jou gah pleny time, mah brodah.”
I looked at my watch and it read 1:08. He was right, I guess I had plenty of time. Standing there I thought, “With all of that, what’s the difference? I don’t even have plans to go to Cali. Besides, I’ve been there before. This might only be the beginning of something new. I’m long overdue for a great adventure. Why not go to Costa Rica?”
Then I woke up for real.