The trip to pick up the car from the garage after its maintenance wouldn’t take long, but it would be boring. The bus would be packed with people and most likely he would end up standing for most of the journey, being thrown around like a piece of flotsam in an energetic stream.
As the bus arrived and he got on, he groaned inwardly. It was packed and there was standing-room only. Not only that, but someone had eaten a healthy dose of garlic the night before and the entire space was filled with rancid, garlic-laced, used air. As he found a space, jostled a little to create a comfort zone around him and tried to stop breathing heavily after running for the bus, he decided that this was what nightmares were made of.
For a while, he fiddled with his phone. He checked the news, emails, social media and even the local weather before sighing rather loudly and putting his phone back in his pocket. Behind him, a man with a heavy cold was sniffing constantly and, in front of him, a girl with small headphones plugged into her ears was nodding her head synchronously with unheard music.
“Wonderful,” he thought.
He wondered whether he had set himself up a bit? Perhaps by thinking the bus would be full, he had made it so? Perhaps if he had been more positive and imagined a nice seat by a window, he could have spent the next forty-five minutes watching the outside world go by in a sleepy reverie! Too late now! He was stuck in his current and highly unpleasant reality.
It was then that he conceived of the idea. Maybe he could test the thought that kept coming to him in which he created his own reality simply by thinking and imagining? But how? It would need to be something truly bizarre. So unlikely that pure chance was more or less effectively and mathematically ruled out. But what? A smile crossed his face attracting the attention of one or two other equally bored passengers who now thought him an imbecile or worse. However, the smile was a reaction to the thought that he had just had. The test. A pink bus. Yes, he would imagine seeing a pink bus and then, if he did, well, perhaps he had his answer?
The bus stopped and momentarily he was jostled from side to side as the girl with the headphones pushed past him to exit, while two young school kids jumped on and pushed past the other way. He could see them staring at him as if it were he who had poisoned the air with stale garlic. He wanted to scream at them, “No, not me!” but in the end, he simply cast his gaze down to the floor and resumed planning his test of reality.
Yes, a pink bus. Not just pink. No, it had to be that almost fluorescent putrid pink. The colour that turned your stomach if you looked at it, unprepared for the shock of shocking pink in all its disgusting glory. Had he ever seen a bus in pink? Any shade of pink? He thought not and, indeed, he also thought it unlikely that anyone would consider painting a bus pink except maybe as a publicity stunt.
So he was decided then. A putrid pink bus it was. He would visualize pink – putrid pink – and a bus, and see if his imaginative faculty would reward him with a reality too putrid to consider?
It was at that point that the bus again lurched to a stop. The doors opened and people shuffled on and off. It was a moment in which he could take a breath and actually live, gain temporary respite from the garlic stench that surrounded him like a green rancid haze.
And then it happened.
As he turned his head to check his whereabouts, he saw the unimaginable just behind his bus. In all of its pink glory, there was a double-decker painted little-girl pink. He blinked, stunned, and rubbed his eyes before taking another look. Yes, for the first time in his life, he was looking at a bright pink bus just as he had envisaged but not actually expected to see. It passed them by at the bus stop and his head swivelled to follow it. Along the side, in large purple writing mimicking a shaky hand-written style, were the words, “REALITY TOURS!”
He couldn’t believe it. He had dreamed into existence a bus in pink operated by Reality Tours.
From now on, he would be careful what he thought of and how he created his reality. It most certainly would not include thinking of pink buses!
From The Pink Bus by G. Michael Vasey
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