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Drifter "Wimpy"

Story ID:6060
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Hemet CA USA
Person:Driftin, Chelsea Kansas Kid
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Epilogue to the “Drifters”
Goin Home

After Tubbs paid Wimpy his $500.00 he picked up his case and headed for the bus station. The bus was ready to leave when he purchased his ticket for McCord Bend, Missouri. The $12.00 that the bus ticket cost was well worth the trip on Greyhound Bus lines. He could relax and catch some much-needed sleep. He boarded the bus and took a seat in the front just two rows behind the driver. He knew the old ladies always sat in these seats and he wouldn’t have to be worried about being robbed in his sleep.

He sat beside an older lady. They exchanged nods and He sat down to some peace and quiet. As he was dropping off into dreamland the lady next to him said, “my name is Henrietta, and since we will be seat partners for the next 100 miles I thought we should get acquainted.”

Wimpy grunted and the lady started on a long line of operations. “Last Christmas I had an appendectomy.” “I was laid up for three weeks.” “I didn’t enjoy the Holidays at all.” He grunted and turned his head. She went on to tell him about her hysterectomy, gall bladder removal, ulcer operation and heart bypass. “Why, she said, if you could see my body in the nude it looks as if WWII was fought on it.” He nodded, grunted, and tried to go to sleep. He tried to ignore her but she kept on.

“My sister, Georgetta, is one operation up on me she has had a new hip since her birthday.”

He dropped off to sleep and when he awoke, she was telling him about her second cousin Lucretia and her operations.

The bus pulled into the station and Wimpy flew out of the bus to get some fresh air. He wanted to hear about something other than hospital operating rooms.

He got back on the bus and another lady was sitting where the Hospital Operation Queen had been setting. This seat partner was quiet and looked out the window. Things were going smooth so he thought he would speak to her.

“Good afternoon,” “how far down the road are you going.” Silence. He thought maybe her hearing is bad, I won’t try again to break the ice.

Suddenly she broke out in uncontrollable sobs, the tears streamed down her face. She used two hankies before she got control and could talk.

Finally between the sniffs, snorts, and blubbering she told him this story.

“I have three beautiful children, a fine home and a faithful husband, I thought.” “I got a phone call from an anonymous caller telling me I should go to the Purple Sage bar.” “The caller said I could find my husband there.” “I knew my husband was working late so I wasn’t worried.” “My curiosity got the better of me.” “I took a taxi to the bar and when I went in there he was with a blonde hanging all over him.” “He had his arm around a brunette and was laughing and carrying on.” “When he saw me he turned as white as a ghost and I turned and walked out.”

She told him she had gone straight to the bus station and was headed for the next town to her mother. She broke into sobs again and the front row passengers on the bus thought Wimpy had said or done something to her. He moved across the aisle to an empty seat and tried to go to sleep.

The bus stopped and the weeper got off and the bus started to fill. A well-dressed lady sat next to him and immediately said “Praise God.”
She started to preach to him and was quoting the bible and verses that he hadn’t heard before. She was going to do her darndest to convert him.

He looked for an empty seat, the bus was filled, and he had to put up with her preaching for another twenty-five miles. The bus pulled into the station, a passenger to the left of him got off, and he took the empty seat. A large woman got on the bus and sat down beside the woman who had been trying to convert him. He heard her say to heavy lady “Praise God” and started to convert the heavy lady.

The heavy said to the converter, “Shut your mouth or I will shut it for you.” The converter did and was silent for the rest of her trip.

The bus stopped at the station in Wichita, Kansas, and a couple tough looking characters got on and moved to the back of the bus. Both had on Army field jackets with the big pockets. They brushed past the rest of the passengers to get to the back of the bus.

The bus pulled out of the station and once on the highway the two guys started talking loudly to each other. They were getting as close to the dirty words as they could and not say them. The bus driver was black and handled the big bus skillfully through the traffic. Wimpy noticed the bus driver watching these characters through the rear view mirror. One of the toughs yelled “Hey N---er can’t you make this bus go any faster.”

The black driver pulled the bus off the road and stopped. He walked back up the aisle and told the toughs, “these passengers don’t want to hear your remarks.” “If you continue I will put you off the bus now.” They quieted down and they went on their way.

The bus pulled into Ark City, Kansas. When the bus stopped at the station the driver stood at the door and helped the older ladies off the bus. The two toughs stayed in their seats mumbling to each other.

Wimpy went into the mens room and the two toughs came in. They were in a hurry. They looked into every stall. He heard one of them say if they could find the black son of a ---- they were going to kill him. As he walked out into the waiting room, he noticed the black driver driving out of the parking lot in his car, evidently going home after his run.

He started to board the bus and when all but the two toughs were on the new driver closed the doors, locked them and sat there. The two toughs came out and started banging on the door yelling “let us on you @#$%@Z (naughty word).”

An old man, the station manager, and a young woman cop came out and told them to be quiet, go back in the station and wait for the next bus.

The two toughs called the old man a name, inferring that his mother and species of dogs were acquainted. The old man popped the tough on the nose and blood shot out of his broken nose. The tough dropped like a rock in a cistern and the female cop was patting the old mans back and telling the old man to calm down. The old man was so pleased with himself he was smiling while the two toughs slinked off into the station. The driver announced over the bullhorn to the passengers that the show was over and they started for the Oklahoma border.

They crossed into Oklahoma and the bus stopped along the side of the road. The driver said nothing. There was a rustle in the back. Wimpy looked back and all the blacks on the bus were taking seats in the back of the bus. When they were seated the driver drove back upon the road and they proceeded on their way.

When they were going into little cities, with no bus station, the driver would stop at some house along the road. The driver would go to the door, go in and come out with a cup of coffee and a package. How did the driver know when to stop? He asked a passenger beside him, who was a local how the driver knew when to stop.
His seatmate said that they had signals for the driver. Some were on a tree, telephone pole, or mailbox. A prearranged signal with the driver might be a white handkerchief that would signal the driver when there was a passenger or some freight to pick up. Wimpy started watching and sure enough when he saw a red rag, or white rag hanging in a conspicuous place the driver would stop and go in the house and get a package or a passenger.

This made the trip longer for Wimpy but it broke the monotony and he was getting closer to home.
They changed coaches in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and headed east for Joplin, Missouri.
When they stopped in a small town some dirty, skinny man came to the front of the bus, took out a pipe, and had a small white object that he was placing in the pipe.

Wimpy had never seen a crack pipe before and asked what he was going to do. The dirty man said he was going to get high—Wimpy blew his stack. Wimpy stood over him and said “dummy you heard the driver say if he found any smoking of grass, rock cocaine that there would be an investigation and that could hold the bus up for a week.” Wimpy said that, “he was in a hurry to get home.” “If you don’t put that pipe away and go back to your seat in the back that he would put him off the bus himself.” The guy said “O.K. if you feel that way.” The dopehead moved back and the old ladies gave Wimpy a hand for his putting this creep down.

The bus pulled into Galena, Missouri, and Wimpy hitched a ride to McCord Bend, Missouri and walked down George Early Street to his mothers double wide trailer home.

Wimpy’s mother had just came back from fishing down at Table Rock. She had a catch of Channel Cats and Wimpy knew he was going to eat fine that night. Wimpy hadn’t had any catfish to eat for the whole trip and he could hardly wait for supper. He thought how nice it was to be home.

Monte L. Manka January 30, 2000
These bus stories are real only the names have been changed. I’ve been there, done that---