Bus Monkey

Everyone who boarded the Q69 bus saw the scruffy, brown monkey sitting in the hard plastic seat by the door. It was impossible not to; animals in general were a rare sight on public transportation, but primates especially so. When each passenger paid for their ride and walked past him, they were inevitably presented with a flash of fangs and an anxious squeak from below. He bared his teeth at every third or fourth person who passed, startling each of them without exception. Some gasped, some quickened their pace, some made accidental eye contact and then immediately cast their gaze downward; the reactions varied, but not by much.

 

As peculiar a sight as the monkey was, nobody seemed to question his presence; after all, they reasoned, he probably had somewhere to be just like the rest of them. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to ride the bus? How else would he get around the city; by motorcycle? In this traffic? The thought of it was like something out of a cartoon, or a Sesame Street episode brought to you by the letter M. No, the bus was the only logical way to get from Point A to B in this town, whether you wore a suit and tie or a more literal monkey suit.

“45th street next,” squawked the bus driver’s modulated voice through the loudspeaker. The monkey stood up in his seat and chirped excitedly, grabbing the pole next to him and spinning around it like a small, exceptionally hirsute stripper. His feet brushed through the blonde, blown-out hair of the lady next to him, who immediately pulled out a compact and began putting it back in its place.

When the bus pulled to a halt, the monkey jumped down from his seat and ambled to the doorway, his bare feet slapping the floor; the steps were made for humans, so he worked his way down them cautiously and onto the sidewalk. He made no attempt to turn and thank the bus driver for getting him to his destination safely, and the driver didn’t seem to mind. “50th street next,” said the bus driver into the loudspeaker. The Q69 bus hissed as it rose from the curb, and the monkey screeched at it in return. Then it scratched itself, sniffed at the wind, and ambled on down the street to its next appointment.

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