Tuesday, December 07, 2004

21A

There's a guy out there. I've never met him. His name is Kevin Kling and he's written a play called 21A. This play is based on a South Minneapolis bus route. It's a one act play and it's about eight folks on the 21A bus.

I rode the 21 last night. Not the 21A; I think it was the 21G, but it's the same route for the part I was on. Yeah. Here's the deal. Biker Boy and I had some stuff to do and it involved taking the light rail. Well, the light rail stations aren't all that convenient to where I live, so Biker Boy and I had to take the 21 from the light rail station to my place. Yeah, I live two blocks off the 21 route. Anyway, so here Biker Boy and I are, riding on the 21 at about 9:30 on a dark December night.

First of all, the only two seats next to each other are in the back of the bus. As I head to the back, I notice that the passengers on this particular bus are a diverse mixture. Biker Boy and I exchange grins because this is the stuff stories are made of!!

At the very next stop, three really large, really stoned black men stumble on to the bus. I can smell them before they get to the back of the bus, where they collapse. The perfume is what I imagine San Francisco smelled like in the 1970s. The bus is full now. People are standing in the aisles, but these men get seats. One sitting across from me becomes as horizontal as is possible in the seat. He's sitting there, as if it would be impossible to move, when something across from him catches his attention.

"Is that the new LL Cool J album?" He sits straight up and leans in quite suddenly to the guy across from him.

"LL Cool J has been around forever," says another guy in the back of the bus. It's unclear to me if this guy knows either the owner of the LL Cool J album or the guy who asked the question.

"Can I see the cover?" the guy asks when the owner of the LL Cool J CD answers in the affirmative.

"LL Cool J is old," the other guys adds. No one has asked this guy his opinion, but he keeps giving it. "He's been around forever."

The owner of the LL Cool J CD gets off the bus. He's wearing a jacket that promotes one of the Cincinnati sports franchises. As he gets off, one of the other fellows says, "Cincinnati's gay."

The other men laugh.

This other guy starts asking everyone if they have a light. "You? Gotta light? You?"

Then there's yelling. "Hey! Hey! HEY!"

I turn around. This man smiles at me, showing off his gold tooth. "You gotta light?"

"No, I'm sorry," I say, trying not to laugh.

Biker Boy says under his breath, "is he going to light up ON the bus?"

"You're all lame. I'm on a bus full of lame people." This makes it difficult not to laugh, because one of our profs is always telling people that stuff is lame. LAME.

As we come to the stop across from Taco Bell, the stoned men get out. "We gotta get us some Taco Bell." Yeah, I bet. I would too, if I were as high as you. The munchies do strike hard.

Biker Boy points out later that within two blocks the demographics of the bus change entirely. It's no longer quite so diverse. By the time we actually got off the bus, I couldn't help but laugh and laugh and laugh. The quotes are numerous. "I'm on a bus full of lame people." "Cincinnati's gay."

Rock on, 21!!!

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