Cluck Fiction

(A true story from 1997)

I don’t ride the 30 Stockton, yet another infamous San Francisco MUNI bus, any more.

I get on the bus at Columbus and Lombard, sit down and prepare for the ride to Maiden Lane. I’m meeting a friend who slaves away in one of those posh retail palaces, we’ll have lunch, I’ll go down to Media Alliance and look through the job bank listings.

The 30 Stockton runs through Chinatown. Things happen in Chinatown, things that don’t happen elsewhere.

As usual, about two stops after the bus turned off of Columbus and onto Stockton Street, the bus filled to the limit with Chinese, the driver telling one woman “NO MORE ROOM. NO MORE ROOM! GET OFF THE PLATFORM!!”

A small, hunched, toothless man with a large plastic garbage bag, loaded with some kind of cardboard box gets on the bus. As the mass of riders slowly oozes towards the back, the little man’s ass comes firmly to rest against my face. Cheek to cheek, I guess.

The bus gives a moan and lurches towards movement. The man’s ass bends my nose. A block crawls by, the mass of people jiggling like jello in a bread pan. The sack the man is holding makes a sound. I can’t tell what it is. The man’s ass jiggles like jello, millimeters from my lips.

The bus lurches to a stop. No one gets on or off. The bus starts moving again. The man wiggles his butt.

It hisses. His butt, that is.

It now makes that sound you get when you buzz you lips together, you know, the “Fart” sound “brrrrrppppppphhhpppp”.

The man announces, in his own language, something to his friends (family) huddled towards the front. He smiles a toothless smile and his friends (family) shout back something that sounds frightenly like encouragement.

The bus enters the Stockton Street tunnel. (If someone tries to tell you San Francisco has no public urinals, point them here.) The sack the farting man is carrying becomes agitated as we enter the relative darkness.

It clucks.

No one hits the bell, the bus does not stop until it’s reached Union Square, my destination. I get up from my seat, bumping the farting man’s sack. I push my way to the doors at the back and step out into the relatively clean air of Union Square.

I’m standing at the curb, waiting to cross the street, when a cabbie rolls down the passenger side window and speaks to me.

“Hey ma’am? Yeah, you. You know you got chicken shit all over yer shoes?”


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