Why I will choose my buses more carefully

Most disconcerting.

Waited at the bus stop, and was pleased to see it come round the corner within a couple of minutes.

Bit disturbed, though, to hear, just as it was pulling in, that someone was murdering a dog nearby. I didn't know how they were murdering it, but they weren't doing it nicely, that's for sure. There was a painful, loud, 'OOOWWWRROOOOOO' which seemed to go on for ages. I looked round as I got on the bus, but no sign of ex-dog or murderer. Saying a prayer for dogs everywhere to the Dog-God, I got on, and promptly forgot all about the terrible events because I was reading Jane Eyre, and, my word, that book's a cracker. One sentence about Rochester's granite profile and storm-filled eyes and I couldn't have cared less if someone had disembowelled a new-born puppy in the next seat.

Then the bus started off. And, then, as it stopped at the first junction, I realised the dog murderer wasn't back there at the bus station, but he/she/it was on the damn bus, and so was the dog, who wasn't quite, yet, ex. The 'OOOWWWRROOOOOO' was just to my left. I glanced at the mild-looking man across the aisle sitting reading his newspaper to see if he was furtively strangling a St Bernard, but if he was, he was hiding it well, and looking pretty calm about it all, and handling the newspaper expertly in the circumstances.

Then the bus stopped again at another junction, this time the driver braking hard.

And the 'OOOWWWRROOOOOOO' was now so loud, I knew that not only was the dog still in the process of being murdered, but that the way it was being murdered was by being strapped to the wheel arch of the bus.

At the next junction, I realised. The bus's brakes were the being-murdered dog.

I have never heard such a noise from a bus before. I swear it was as animal as a bus noise can be and still come from a bus. The mild-looking man had obviously heard it before as he didn't look in the least perturbed - or perhaps he was on some kind of tranquilliser - or perhaps he was a professional dog murderer and used to this kind of racket - or perhaps deaf.

You all know how I hate getting off buses. Buses are my favourite places to be. But I'm telling you, when I got off that one, I was so relieved. In the end, even Rochester's chin, jutting out like a promontory over a raging sea, hadn't been able to distract me from the noise every time the bus braked. And I hadn't been able to touch an olive, that's for sure.

And, as I disembarked (ho ho ho, I'm so funny), I looked back to check the wheel arches of the bus. Just in case.

Next time, if that bus turns up to the station, I'll sit on the bench, reading about Rochester's thin, rigid lips and his shock of hair like wild brambles on a Yorkshire moor, and wait for a bus with dog-less brakes.

My breathing is shallow enough reading about Rochester. I don't need harrowing sounds of animal killings making me feel even fainter.

(Animal lovers: I meant nothing against dogs in this post. I love dogs, too.)

(Rochester lovers: I meant every word. Let us unite.)


  1. Ahh, Rochester ... my first love. I was probably 12 when I read Jane Eyre for the first time, with my dictionary at my side to look up all those long, confusing words.

  2. Rochester 10/10
    Dog stranglers 0/10

    Bus journeys - inestimable

  3. Lesley - I guess that means you'll sign up to my 'Rochester really rocks' campaign. I'll send you a form.

  4. Friko - Have you read Wide Sargasso Sea? Rochester doesn't seem so hot the way Rhys presents him. Oh well. Trust a feminist to dash my illusions.

  5. Reminds me of the Harry Chapin song:

    Take the Greyhound,
    it's a dog of a way to get around.

    When you take the Greyhound,
    it's a doggone easy way -
    to get you down.

    (sorry, blogger doesn't translate my singing very well)

  6. It's OK, Mark, I heard you loud and clear. Very like Frank Sinatra, with just a hint of Dean Martin, and a sprinkling of Elvis. Lovely.

  7. Love the story. I had no idea where it was going. So funny. Perfect song, Mark. Can you upload it as the soundtrack, Fran?

  8. Thanks, CJ. And, yes, I'll ask Mark to forward me a sound file of his latest hits which I can use on my blog. Perhaps every time I write a 'bus' post, it could automatically play when it gets clicked on. Like a pop-up, only welcome.

  9. I know that bus, the one with the never-quite-murdered-enough dog! It goes down my street several times a day. After some months, I've learned not to go rushing out into the road with hammering heart....

  10. You have that bus, too, Rachel? There's an epidemic! Let us start a petition and get all the bus companies to oil their brakes.


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