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The Death House by Paul James Moore Based on a Tragic and true story of a man and a house in a street of terraced houses facing the... [820 words]
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Riding The Line
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TITLE (EDIT)
Riding The Line
DESCRIPTION
Rosie McClusky loved to ride the bus, losing herself in the tapestry of the city. She loved the way it wound its way through the sleepy city early in the morning and she loved the way it meandered back to her stop later in the afternoon. Rosie loved riding the line.
[918 words]
AUTHOR
Steven R. Kravsow
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have been writing for the past 10 years. I have written short stories, essays, Op-Ed pieces, magazine length articles, and 3 novels entitled, "The Acorn Academy," "Boneman," and "Puppet Boy." I am presently at work on my 4th novel entitled, "Square Pegs."
[February 2000]
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (13)
A Better Place To Be (Short Stories) Bennie Dean is a tiny little man with a crooked little smile who marks the passage of his day following the rituals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a Continuing Care Center. But do not be sad for B... [788 words]
A Place To Stay (Short Stories) Arnie Westin was a con man-- a nickle and dimer always looking for the quick score. Arnie had a plan-- genious really. But Arnie is about to discover that you don't always get what you want. [5,217 words]
American Tale (Essays) "I stood behind the old man in the check-out line at the local convenience store. A navy blue Yankees hat covered a head of sparse gray hair. He carried an old framed photo which he proudly laid on to... [629 words]
Loonies (Short Stories) A car slowly gained on him. Soon it was even with Daniel's. It was a black sports model, low slung and powerful looking with black tinted glass and black sidewall tires. He looked over at the black ca... [4,959 words]
Photo Man (Non-fiction) I stood at the airport fence looking at a vintageB-24 Liberator. And then I saw the tiny little man. He wore his old Army Air Force fatigues, perfectly laundered and looking like it was still 1944. Hi... [2,560 words]
Play Ball: The Real Rite Of Spring (Essays) I love the spring. Wanna know why? Because spring is the time of year when good things begin to happen. And like anyone else, I like good things to happen. And if they happen to me, then so much the b... [917 words]
Songs From My Attic (Essays) While rummaging through my attic, I discovered a box of old sheet music from the turn of the century. It painted a rich tapestry of who we were in the early 1900's, what we believed, and portrayed the... [1,878 words]
Stars & Stripers (Non-fiction) He was a tiny man with a scrapbook. He'd served as a reporter for Stars & Stripes during World War II. And he was one of the first inside Buchanwald. He carried his scrapbook under his arm and his sto... [1,081 words]
The Debunking The Dreaded Shopping Spree (Essays) The English language has approximately 500,000 words, and these words, in and of themselves, are quite benign.The other day that dreaded combination was uttered to me, and my life changed. I was heade... [1,715 words]
The Family Executioner (Non-fiction) In the early hours of December 11, something terrible happened. William Beadle, known to his friends and neighbors as an honest and forthright man, took an ax and hacked his wife and four children to... [4,795 words]
The Left Arm Of The Law (Short Stories) Charlie Underwood was a good cop. But sometimes even the best laid plans and a lifetime's work can disappear in the bl;inlk of an eye. And when that happens, a guy like Charlie Underwoord has to have ... [5,317 words]
The Tree House (Short Stories) When you're a kid growing up, there are always three rules you need to remember-- look both ways before crossing the road, keep your bike oiled and the tires filled, and watch out for the Shoots! Ever... [3,691 words]
Trading The Metal (Non-Fiction) "Today was a good day for me, or so I thought. I had traded in my aged 4-door Taurus, after bleeding it as dry as turnip blood on a stone. In its place stood a bright red beauty that was not only econ... [1,234 words]
Riding The Line
Steven R. Kravsow

Rosie McClusky loved to ride the bus. She loved the way it wound its way through the sleepy city early in the morning and she loved the way it meandered back to her stop later in the afternoon. Rosie always sat on the right side, next to the window. She never tired of watching the patchwork of anonymous people who waited to clamber aboard her bus. She made up tales about them as they shuffled down the aisle to the empty seats. Fantasy biographies, strangers with familiar faces, sometimes exchanging nods with her as they passed.

Rosie settled into hr usual seat and watched the city crawl past her window. Past the crumbling tenements, past the curbside clutter, past the trashcans dented from years of use and abuse. Past the drugstores and coffee shops with the fogged pate glass windows, fogged from the warmth inside and the chill outside. Past the diners and past the huddled souls bent against the cold, heading towards unknown destinations.

The door hissed open, injecting a shot of cold air onto the bus. Rosie watched the bus driver motion to someone in the stairway to hurry up. A gaunt man dressed in a stained gray jumpsuit and a ragged navy parka, it’s hood torn and hanging off his shoulders, climbed aboard the bus. He carefully removed a soiled glove and rooted around in his right pocket for the correct change while an impatient line formed behind him.

The bus driver glared at him, moving his eyes from the man to the coin box, delivering a silent command.

“How much is it?” asked the man.

“95 cents, same as it is every day,” the driver replied. “Come on, Jimmy. It’s cold out there and ya got people waiting behind ya.”

The man smiled and dropped the coins into the hopper, then sauntered down the aisle. He sat down in the empty seat next to Rosie.

“95 cents. 95 cents,” he ruminated. “95. Like the year. 1995. Not a good year. Goodyear. They make tires. Not tires as good as Firestone but good tired anyway…”

Rosie smiled, then turned back to the window. She watched a tall man gesturing wildly at a tiny woman who clutched a baby pressed to her chest, swaddled in a multicolored blanket, until they passed from view.

“Trinity. Got to get off at Trinity,” the man beside her prattled. “Trinity. Like the Holy Trinity. That’s why Ireland’s in so much trouble, you know…” He nodded toward Rosie. “I tell you, Trinity is trouble. Can’t get along, those Catholics and Protestants. Blowin’ themselves up all the time. Time. Time. Good magazine—Time-- but not enough pictures. Got to have more pictures. One picture is worth a thousand words, you know. That’s what they always say.”

Rosie nodded at the man and then returned to her window. The bus passed two young men who wrestled a striped mattress up the crumbling front stairs of a dilapidated tenement. Rosie supposed it was for the young woman hanging out the second floor window, gesturing at them like a sergeant to a batch of recruits.

“Words. Words are everything. But what are words anyway? Just a collection of letters. Letters. I like to write letters. I write letters to my mother. I write letters to my father. I write letters to the newspaper. But I never get any letters back. Course I never really mail ‘em. Costs too much money. Gotta buy stamps. Post Office sells ‘em. Used to be 10 cents, ya know.”

Rosie looked quickly at the man but said nothing. She shifted a bit in her seat to get a better look at a group of guys in olive army jackets buried to their waists under the hood of a battered brown Toyota that sat on blocks where the wheels used to be.

“10 cents. Used to be able to make a phone all for 10 cents. Cokes cost 10 cents too. Drop a dime in the slot and out popped a soda. Used to be a dime could mail a card to California. California. Crazy place. They say California is gonna fall off into the ocean and float away some day, ya know. It’s a matter of fact. God’s truth. Earthquakes. Bad things them earthquakes. Shakes things up. Makes a real mess. Here today, gone tomorrow.”

Rosie tore herself away from the window, reached up, and yanked the buzzer cord. She gently tapped the man on the shoulder and rose from her seat.

The man stood and Rosie passed into the aisle. “Now you have a nice day, ma’am.” He tipped his hand to an imaginary cap. “Be careful out there. It’s a real jungle. I like jungles. Lots of vines and things. Hot all the time…”

Rosie stood behind the white line that ran across the floor and waited for the bus to stop, placing her right hand on the chrome pole to steady herself. She bent slightly to get a better view out the front windshield. A young boy raced down the sidewalk and darted down an alley, knocking over a pile of discarded cardboard boxes that blocked his path. As she watched it all unfold, Rosie casually reached behind her left ear and turned on the volume control to her hearing aid.

“See you tomorrow morning, ma’am,” the bus driver aid. The door whooshed open and Rosie started down the steps. She stopped, turned, and waved to the driver. Then she stepped out the door and headed into her city.

 

READER'S REVIEWS (2)
DISCLAIMER: STORYMANIA DOES NOT PROVIDE AND IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR REVIEWS. ALL REVIEWS ARE PROVIDED BY NON-ASSOCIATED VISITORS, REGARDLESS OF THE WAY THEY CALL THEMSELVES.

"Steven, What I really liked about this piece was the overall tone - very peaceful. I think Rosie needs to be a little more developed as a character - maybe more internal dialogue as she watches the world go by. The ending was cute - I think developing Rosie's character would increase the impact of it at the end. Overall, the writing is very precise and the narrative is wonderfully descriptive! Your writing is great!" -- Jennifer Nobile Raymond, New York, NY.
"Ditto to the above reviewer. I would like to add that there is some build up to learn something about the babbling bus passenger and it's a shame that you don't do more with him. Also, 'clutched a baby, pressed' could just be 'clutched a baby to her chest'. " -- Iam.

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 1996 Steven R. Kravsow
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
March 2000
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
2140
 

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