M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, July 23, 2004  

Magic Bus

If a friend calls you on the telephone and says they're lost on Martin Luther King Boulevard and they want to know what they should do, the best response is "Run!"
- Chris Rock

Minneapolis doesn't have a Martin Luther King Boulevard, as far as I know, but if it did, it would be East Lake Street. I mentioned Lake Street earlier this week as being quite useful for scaring the hell out of suburbanites. Many years ago, one of those suburbanites was my then-girlfriend Trash.

Barely twenty years old at the time, having moved into her new apartment a scant week before, Trash found herself at a late play practice at the U of M. Nobody was around who could drive her home, so Trash decided to venture Minneapolis's public transit system for the first time ever.
Trash knew that the 17 bus would bring her within a block of home. So when an 18 bus showed up, she figured, "close enough," and hopped on. By the end of the route, somewhere in Richfield, it was abundantly apparent to her that her ride's numerical proximity to her desired transport did not have a geographical analogue.

Fortunately, the driver took pity on her and offered to drop her off at Lake Street on his way back to the bus garage downtown. From there, she could take the 21A home. Interesting thing about the 21A: It's a rubber ranch on wheels. The 21A was in fact the subject of a one-man play that's very popular here on the tundra. I've never seen the whole thing, but my understanding is that the play 21A is largely about how nuts are easier to find on the titular bus than in a Payday candy bar.

But Trash never even got on the 21A, because events intervened. There was only one other passenger on the bus, and Trash—young, blonde, beautiful and alone—apparently drew his attention. Since she hadn't yet discovered the various methods for being left alone on a bus (rapid-fire, under-the-breath cursing; constant scratching; vigorous drooling), this fellow approached with a conversational opening and subsequent line of questioning that even the most violent, misogynistic rapper would have decried as ungentlemanly.

The driver caught on, and when he got to Lake Street he let Trash off the bus and then took off before the other passenger could follow her, basically kidnapping. Trash stood on the corner, happily waiting for the 21A, never realizing that her fan might get off the bus a few blocks down and return for her. When she looked off to her right and spotted a familiar figure in white running toward her from a couple of blocks away, the need for a plan B became immediately apparent.

Trash darted into a 24-hour check-cashing place and managed to impress upon its lone on-duty employee the urgency of her situation. The check-cashing guy assessed her and then locked the door, ten seconds before Trash's new friend flung himself at it, raging profanely until the check-casher called the police.

One of Minneapolis's finest arrived shortly, and the next thing Trash's very scary but not yet technically criminal pursuer knew, he was being driven to an outer-ring suburb and dropped off. Unfortunately for Trash, the last bus home had already gone by while she was under siege.
The officer saw the distraught state of this young woman to whose rescue he had just come, and offered her a ride home. She gratefully accepted and he escorted her to the back of his squad car. Alas, this was only the beginning.

Before driving her home, the officer told her, "I just gotta do something first." He then proceeded to drive about a block down Lake, cross the street, flip on his flashers, jump out of the car, and take part in a full-on police raid that seemed to involve more police cars than the filming of The Blues Brothers.

Thus, Trash found herself locked in the backseat of an otherwise empty police car in the middle of the parking lot of the most disreputable bar in South Minneapolis as cops and suspects swarmed around her outside the car. Perp after screaming perp was slammed against the hood, the trunk, the windshield, every window as the barely-ex-teenager from the northern suburbs cowered inside.

The low point, however, was when somebody opened the back door, thrust two huge, handcuffed men in next to her, and sealed the three of them in together.

Trash was beside herself. Would that this were more than a figure of speech, given the specimens who actually were beside her.

One of them gave her an appreciative looking over. "Your hands ain't cuffed," he observed. "Whyn’t you come over here. Make me happy."

Not a moment too soon, she was pulled from the car and placed in another one, this one parked in the very middle of Lake Street. From this slightly more removed vantage point, she could see dozens of people being cuffed, taken off, and loaded into paddywagons. And, in many occasions, slammed against this new car, as well. "See you downtown," some of them called cheerily to her.
It wasn't until she was moved to a third car that an officer was finally available to bring her home. He asked for her address.

Mind you, at this point she was in an advanced state of bugging, and probably couldn't have remembered her brand-new address even if she wasn't. Again, she had only lived there for a week. The officer who had taken charge of her witnessed a complete meltdown. He ended up guiding himself to her apartment using the fluctuations in her panic level as he got closer or further away, much as one would use a Geiger counter to locate a source of radiation.

The moral of the story? The 18 bus does not go the same direction as the 17 bus. Please keep it in mind.

Today's best search phrase: "Anus steak." Well, that didn't take long.

posted by M. Giant 5:40 PM
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