It's hard to control your destiny while you're waiting for the bus. The trouble for Argus Kirkham began when a stranger pushed his way through a crowd at a bus stop and pressed a package into his hands. Inside the package were various random items - photos and toys and newspaper clippings. None of it seemed to make any sense, but as Argus and his friends unraveled the clues, very strange things began to occur in this novel of mystery and ghosts.
It's hard to control your destiny while you're waiting for the bus. It's especially hard when it's a Monday and it's way too early in the morning and it's cold and gray and windy out there on the commuter-ridden sidewalks.
Twenty two year old Argus Kirkham was lining up to get on board along with all the rest of them. He was trying his best to notice nothing and no one. Who were all those people anyway? A lot of them wearing suits or nice enough clothes, likely taking their professions all seriously with their cell phones at the ready, their critical path decisions to make, their lofty goals to set and achieve. Chances were those people weren't working at some Pay'n'Pay like Argus was. Crappy job. Crappy life.
Waiting for the bus. Thoughts were swirling around in his head like the cold fog out there on the avenues. At least the pack of passengers crowding together now the bus was visible down the street was providing some kind of warmth or at least the illusion. Feet were shuffling, papers folding up as they all congealed into a heap of anticipation.
The bus came rumbling up the road, it's wheezing and lurching and grinding making pretty much the only kind of noise out in the world at that time of the morning. Argus found himself in the middle of the pack, right behind a clutch of overly perfumed ladies and right in front of a recent smoker; the combination of odious odors might have been enough to sedate a wild cat.
As the bus reached the gaggle the jostling began, although everyone knew there was plenty of room and really no hurry at all. The bus wasn't going to rush off without everyone there getting on it first. Argus felt himself tilted from the left to the right, from the back to the front, and then suddenly elbowed in the side by a stubbly old man in a pea green overcoat who pushed his face right into Argus' neck and muttered something that sounded like 'Sorry, Charlie'.
The old man pushed something into Argus' hands and then he was gone and the procession continued and Argus was two steps up and reaching for his bus pass when he realized he was holding a small cardboard box. He tried to look over his shoulder to see if he could spot the old man but there was only the smoker behind him, and a couple of large guys behind that one, and no sign of anyone outside on the sidewalk who wasn't in the boarding pack.
Argus shrugged, shifted the package to one hand and fumbled around finding his pass and flashing it at the driver, a scowling young woman who was paying no attention at all. He stuffed the bus pass back in his pocket along with the other junk he carried around in there; a few forgotten keys, an old silver ring, a tiny compass and a black plastic toy ninja for luck. He followed the seatmongers towards the rear, figuring he would probably have to be standing all the way downtown. He made it to the back door where all at once a little old lady who'd been sitting there calmly jumped up and pushed her way down the steps and outside. Argus took her seat before anyone else even noticed. The window seat was occupied by a snoring office worker, a young fellow in his early twenties also, dressed up nice in suit and tie but had forgot to comb his hair and was drooling down his chin in his sleep while his head bounced off the glass at every stop and start. The bus driver seemed to be in training. Passengers were holding on tight and Argus had to keep pushing the drooler off his shoulder as they slowly crawled down the road. In between pushes he examined the little box.