“Hmmmm…,” He rambled on to no one in particular.

There wasn’t much to be said on the matter. He didn’t notice her ring at first. This is what caused the confusion. He eased himself into a not all too comfortable position closer to the gentleman seated next to him. He was planted right next to a Viking of a man. The man breathed quite hard as if he had some difficulty doing so.

Ben thought. This is the last time I flirt on public transportation. She had her back toward him. She was dialing on her telephone. A few moments later she turned toward him again and expressed her disgust for such a “disgrace of a man” – “who would come on to a married woman?” – as if he weren’t within breathing distance. She made him feel foolish for looking into her eyes rather than down at her fingers. He realized she was less attractive this way. It was easier for him now to lose interest.

The bus came to a halt. Man-Viking came to life. Ben got up to allow him room. Peculiarly, the man had the smallest man purse he had seen in some time. Ben hadn’t seen it before of course since it was being crushed up against the window. The bag hugged the man’s side torso like a leach.

“Muh stowp,” said the human ogre.


The woman was still on her cell phone, but less intrigued by Ben. He no longer seemed to exist. His destination rested at the next stop. He omnisciently watched traffic maneuver around the whale of a vehicle whose belly he sat inside. He felt a bit like a voyeur peering into the lives of each individual driver. One woman patted make-up on her already dolled up face. Another woman was adjusting her radio dial. He couldn’t tell if she was altering the volume or switching stations. He watched her facial expression. She looked confused. Then relief swept across her with a broom of relaxation. She sat back in her seat and mouthed the words from the radio. One man in a pickup truck rolled down his window to spit out chewing tobacco. Ben thought this was quite dangerous to do while driving. The man then reached into the glove compartment, grabbed a pack of cigarettes, took both hands off the steering wheel, smashed the pack repeatedly into his palm, unwrapped the plastic, pulled out a cigarette and plucked it into his mouth, lit it, then put one hand back on the wheel all while maintaining his driving lane with his knee beneath the wheel.

Ben looked away from the window distracted by the hog horn of the bus. It came to a slowed stop, wiggling to a final rest. The whale opened a side mouth and allowed him and a few others to exit its belly.

– Eric McCarty (12/20/2011)

4 thoughts on “Distracted

  1. Thank you. I found this interesting to write about since I’m unfortunately becoming more and more distracted as a driver. That (like my writing) is a work in progress.

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