Hijack on the 380 – Michael Hanlon

It was the seventh
Moonlit night in a row
I was ambling through
The grasslands
The great monolith of pictures
Was my keeper
Cat burglers muggled
Amongst the trees
Bats shuffled overhead
I was tingling with foreboding
Somewhere in my head
A portent.
I met my sweetheart
Inventoria
At the Taylor Square
A late night bus trip
To Bondi
The infamous 380.
Just before the bus takes off
A giant of a man stromps on
Well to do
Not too scruffy
Takes a seat
Across the aisle from us.
The bus driver turns
“Hey mate …. gonna pay up”
Goliath just sits there
Hands as big as countries
Muscles like planets
Just sits there and stares
Straight ahead
With a Jack Nicholson look
In his eyes
Except Goliath ain’t acting.
(not sure if Jack was either)
“Hey mate pay up
Or we ain’t going anywhere”
The driver switches off the bus
And sits calmly
Waiting
Waiting … both of them
Like boxers before the bell
Sitting calmly in their corners
Inventoria is wide eyed
And rightly so.
Our fellow cashed up commuters
Start calling out …”C’mon mate pay up”
“Yeah … we did”, “get off and walk man”
“Don’t be a jerk” … etc
I say something innocuous and
Hardly threatening but
I can see the look in his eyes
I can see his bulging neck.
Seconds tick by
But are stretched
To their agonising extreme
The driver calls the cops
And opens the back door
So people can get off.
A lady offers to pay for Gigantour
So we can just get going
He says “You aint payin for me lady ….. sit down”
 Then Goliath walks to the driver and stares at him
Says something in a slow deliberate tone
About not having to pay
The driver remains calm
Goliath sits down again
We decide its time
We jump out the back door
So do most others.
The 380 to Bondi
Stopped at the Taylor Square
With a determined and brave driver
And a determined and crazed passenger
Both sitting patiently
under the neon light
of the Toolshed.
Alarming impossible scary bizarre
A Darlinghurst standoff.
And then, just as he stromped on
He stromped off
Marching past us passengers
All lined up outside an empty bus
He couldn’t resist one last threat
“Get back on …. all of you”
With fingers shaped like a pistol.
So we all get back on
And congratulate the driver
Just then the cops arrive
And so we have to wait
Some more
Inventoria and I look at each other
With a ” I knew tonight was gonna be strange”
Kind of look.
And then it gets just a little stranger
Gigantour decides to turn up again
Whilst driver and police lady are
Running over the finer points
Of the standoff
Someone points and says
“Him … there he is. It’s him”
Goliath sits quietly
At the bus stop seat
Doing what the cops ask of him
Without question
He doesn’t look angry or regretful
He just looks tired
Maybe he just wanted somewhere
To sleep.
Pity replaces fear.
A new bus pulls in quickly
To take us all to Bondi
Proceedings continue outside
Like a press conference
After a fight

Without one punch thrown.