i take out my pad and pen and start to write. it’s at this point, i think i should mention that i write backwards, i have done so for many years. all my teenage diaries and poetry journals were all written backwards. there’s no rhyme nor reason as to why i started to do this, but i have my reasons for continuing to do so.
i am no sooner seated when the engines fire up. this bus driver isn’t hanging about.
three young guys, in their mid-late teens, hurry on board and swagger up the aisle to take up the seats behind me. school kids. refreshingly well-spoken and funny. one of them, the biggest of the three, the alpha male, comments on my red boots and the fact i am writing backwards:
“excuse me…” he asks. i turn to face him.
“but are you some kind of genius?” he asks me, leaning over my shoulder, pointing to my backward scribbles then casually pushing his spectacles back up the bridge of his nose.
i look at him, purposefully pausing for an uncomfortable period of time before answering, merely studying his face. he looks at me with piercing brown eyes. i watch as his spectacles start to slowly slip down his nose again. as he casually pushes them back up, a second time, i reply:
“are you some kind of geek or something?” as i point to his hoodie.
“touché!” he quips, laughing, yet blushing, at his self-admitted geekiness.
the two boys sitting behind the bespectacled boy lean forward to engage in the conversation. one of the two looks like a young Joey Ramone: androgynous, slender, with a bell of heavy dark wavy curls that he clearly prefers to hide behind. he is wearing, curiously enough, a Ramones t-shirt and leather biker jacket.
the other of the two has the biggest bonce of ginger hair i think i have ever seen. it’s incredible. i feel compelled to touch it, but i don’t. that wouldn’t be appropriate. but the compulsion is strong. i have never seen a Scottish boy with a big ginger ‘fro before. he is a big lad too, with a constellation of freckles splattered across his big round face.
“i’m not a genius or a geek” says Joey Ramone, “i’m Joey Ramone, but then again… i was dropped on my head as a child”
the ginger lets out this high-pitched giggle, not unlike that of an excited 7 year old girl .
“congratulations” i say, as Joey thumps the ginger across his breasts.
“this is Robert” says Joey, “he doesn’t get out much. we usually keep him in a cage in the kitchen, chuck food at him…”
i giggle to myself.
“i. will. smite. you!” says Robert, the ginger, with perfect comedic timing and deadpan face. i like this kid. smite. such an underused word this century.
“so… back to my original question before my lame friends rudely interrupted me, oh strange and, dare i say it, beautiful girl with red boots – are you some kind of genius?” persists the bespectacled boy.
“are you flirting with me?” i ask as i watch him push his glasses back up the bridge of his nose for a third time.
“no” he says, nodding his head.
“i write backwards so that noone can eavesdrop on my thoughts” i reply.
“that IS genius!” pipes up Joey, smiling and trying to twist Robert’s nipple but Robert is having none of it. he just sits, arms folded high across his chest. it is then i realise that Robert has larger breasts than me. i look out the window, trying not to laugh.
“yes. it’s pretty fucking cool” says the bespectacled boy, “…and hot! we thought you were maybe writing in Arabic or something but backwards…!? holy minecraft! i am totally digging!”
the homoerotic nipple twisting display of affection continues behind the bespectacled boy, escalating into a real frenzy of high-pitched giggles and breaking voices.
“shut it, ladies!” says the bespectacled boy, firmly, to the two sat behind him. to my surprise and bemusement, they immediately quietened down and sat looking straight ahead. quiet.
“so you like The Ramones, then?” i ask Joey.
“yeah, fucking amazing!” he replies.
i realise that my stop is fast-approaching, i stand up to leave…
“don’t leave us with Robert… he will eat us” he says, only to be silenced by one scolding glance from the bespectacled boy.
“okay… pop quiz… without looking at your t-shirt… name two of the Ramones but not Joey or Dee Dee…”
“awright… awright… awright… i’m a fake!” says Joey, blushing, letting out a yelp as an excited Robert ripped into his nipples.
“come back… don’t leave me with these idiots! marry me or adopt me!” i hear the bespectacled boy cry out, as i step off the bus, laughing…
words & film (c) Kat McDonald 2016