280 Stops

A novella for the Internet about the 11 bus.

- four -

Nathan Gibbard

Outward appearance

Black suit trousers beneath a three-quarter length black coat with a brown striped scarf loosely wound round his neck. Heading to work? Carrying a digital camera and typed note in coat pocket.

Inside information

Handsworth, Rookery or Perry Hall Parks, Perry Barr, Hall Green Spring Road, Stetchford, Acocks Green or Witton Stations, Moseley Bog.

What he is doing or thinking

Nathan is thinking, his Mum often said this made him flawed, too much thinking will kill you. He's made this particular journey many times and has seen the bus driver a few times. He smiles hello to her to be polite, there's never time for more than that.

Nathan feels like things will never get better than the way things are now. His life has been tending towards this moment with a slow inevitability like a glass knocked from a table.

Nathan has completed a number of complete circuits. He's casually scouting locations for a difficult deed. He's surrounded by people and yet feels so terribly alone. He wishes his sadness and depression would take physical form so someone would speak to him and break the silence, a small sign he's not invisible.

Nathan feels something press against his ankle and looks down at a small cat shedding hairs onto his suit trousers. A smile creeps to the corners of his mouth as he reaches into his pocket for the digital camera. A lady with spiked green hair sees the camera and frowns, she thinks Nathan is trying to stealthily take a picture of her. Nathan switches the camera off and thinks that the reservoir or the station or the park can wait till another day.