Rounding out a Greyhound Trip

Greyhound is full of interesting stories, some being told and some unfolding right then and there. The deeper south, the better it seemed.

Leaving Shreveport, LA I sat next to woman around 40 years old, an innocent but tired looking doctor from New Mexico. Behind us were a group of people being somewhat loud, just shooting the shit and cracking jokes. At one point the woman next to me turned around, and very poorly communicated whatever she was trying to communicate.

"It wasn't me before, who said the BFN word".

They were all confused, but somehow knew she was talking about the word "Nigger", as they had been tossing around niggers and niggas pretty loosely, but it still wasn't clear what she was talking about.

"Bus Full of Niggers" she almost whispered, "It wasn't me!".

"We'll stop using the word", they confusingly replied. No one knew what the hell she was talking about. She turned around and apologized to me for some reason. The group behind us got a decent laugh out of the whole thing, and continued their conversations.

She still appeared worried, and explained to me that earlier the bus broke down and she overheard someone on their phone saying "I'm on a bus full of niggers, and it broke down!". She, having never heard that kind of language, repeated what she heard to whoever she was talking to on the phone, "Can you believe that?!" . Apparently she thought that someone might have heard her repeating "Bus Full of Niggers" (BFN) and mistaken her for saying it herself. I guess she was now afraid of every black man and woman on the bus, and wanted off. Sure enough, she jumped off at the next stop with all her bags, much to the confusion of everyone.

Shortly after that little deal, we had an hour layover in Jackson Mississippi. Nearly before the bus left I went over to a side street to take a hit or two off an old joint for the ride. A bearded man who was black toe to head with a darker version of the hat I have came strolling by with a subtle limp. He came closer to me from behind a railing.

"I'm the only other hobo around here, just got off the train, where you headed?"

I guess being bearded myself and the bags I carried gave me away. "I'm headed to North Carolina, taking the bus though".

"That'll do ya better, look what they done to me by the tracks when they caught me", he pulled up his pant leg to show a decent looking bruise near his knee. He'd hopped the freight train, and was telling me that Jackson was not too friendly to people like us, and he even avoided the shelters.

"Buy me a hamburger!" he said, almost interrupting himself in the middle of another thought. The way he said it made me want to buy a couple cheeseburgers for both of us, but I my bus was leaving in just a few minutes. I'd have to of bought it on credit too, so I couldn't even give him a few bucks to grab one himself. He wished me luck catching my bus and getting out of Jackson, then he hobbled down the road in search of some street or some food.

Later on the bus, I was surrounded by a southern drag racer, a drunken hobo, and a few other characters to keep it interesting. I mostly sat back and listened, as the drunken hobo would often go off on stories with or without anyone paying him any direct attention. Slick Silver was the name he gave us, he polished silver of course, and he'd been everywhere. He was talking about a small town named Hammond and a specific car he was working on, and it turned out to be the drag racers' mother's car.

Finally we made it to Atlanta, the city Slick Silver called the best city in the world. "Hot-Lanta boy, that'll put New York City to shame any day!", all I saw was the packed greyhound station this time around. I hopped on yet another bus and drove into the night.

After sleeping, stopping, sleeping, and stopping again, I made it to Raleigh, North Carolina. I stayed there for a couple hour layover, and made the straight shot to my final destination, Greenville, North Carolina. I was picked up by Jenna and her room mate, and now I rest on her futon, looking forward to a good night of sleep and the days ahead.