Screaming Planet

Where old bloggers come to die.

On the Recurring Nightmare of Being Trampled by the Living Dead

Posted on | May 7, 2008 | No Comments

I honestly believed that those times were long gone.

Things had taken on a certain impalpable gloss, a glamour of things almost working as they should, a system with all the tiny little cogs and wheels clicking and ticking in synchronicity, to the point where I could even count on relying on the actual timetables posted at stations. They were off by a minute or two here and there, but overall, nothing suspicious.

Then somewhere, in some no doubt dark and damp nook of the World, that damn butterfly flapped its wings.

There was a slight delay. A bottleneck formed. The aluminum carapaces of modern man, seeking to get both out of and into our little corner of the world started to pile up. Not in a bad way, no twisted metal and blood spatter and severed limbs and shattered spines and burst entrails. Nothing as picturesque or grotesque – ’twas a mere jam, and it cleared up after a lumpy fifteen or twenty minutes. But the delay was already in full effect, and the first busses arrived laden to the brink of bursting.

I let one go, but I could not afford to miss the next one. I was already late. People to go, places to see. So I wedged my body in between sweaty and nervous primates packed way too tight for comfort, and tried to endure. After all, the pressure had to start tapering off at some point.

And indeed it did, bit by bit it was released as we travelled along the familiar route, people getting off, others seldom getting on, until we neared our destination, only to be confronted by a horror of romerian proportions.

An infinite sea of flailing canes, artificial hips, chattering false teeth, in a frenzy, moving like a solid, compact, weaving tentacle trying to grab our bus in its suckers, to crush and devour our tin-can whole. We stopped, but they did not. The wave surged forward, leering at us maniacally across prescription lenses, seeking out avalable seats with myopic eyes, charging forward, forcing the meek pneumatic doors, the thin layers of metal and glass shielding us from the full onslaught to separate, unleashing the full fury of pensioners in a frenzy over a late bus to wash over us, trampling defenseless women and children with the misfortune of still being on board in their wake.

Intimate knowledge of fluid dynamics and some basic grappling skills helped me escape unharmed, to turn about and observe the human stampede, wondering what hellish instinct triggers this herding behaviour, this blind disregard for the welfare of others, the mad dash for the ultimate prize – a seat on the bus.

I used to believe that, back in the days, the nineties themselves were to blame, people’s nerves were seriously frayed by, well, everything, tensions were high, and it was only logical that organized chaos erupts every now and then. Now I see that this hypothesis crumbles under experimental evidence. All that is necessary to bring down social order and turn an orderly congregation of elderly citizens into a frothing mass of coffin-dodging living dead resembling a mothball-smelling albino buffalo is a simple bus being fifteen minutes late.

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    Written in minutes and fact-checked in seconds via Google. May contain unsafe levels of self-righteousness. Past cleverness is no guarantee of future results.
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