"Oh my God!"
"Hey Mister, you just killed Eddie!"
"Oh God no, please God no, I didn't mean to I..."
"Get an ambulance quick."
"Eddie! Eddie! Don't die, not today please."
"He's just a kid. You killed him Mister."
"Hey, have you been drinking?"
That was 7 years ago. Hit by a bus, driven by a drunk, while playing on his skateboard in the street outside his house Eddie didn't die. No, the 10 year old was in a coma for 6 months, underwent multiple operations and made a complete recovery. The surgeons fixed him up, good as new. If it wasn't for the scars on his chest no one would even know he'd been run over by a Downtown bound bus driven, up the wrong street, a dead end street, the one that Eddie lived on all his life, by Saul Katz, who was drinking at the wheel, himself a victim, driven to the bottle by his wife's infidelities. Eddie was good as new, well, almost.
The surgeons had been unable to remove a shard of chromed steel, thought to be from the bus's grill, from the left ventricle of his heart. To remove it meant certain death. Katz had been sentenced to a total 10 years for vehicular assault, drink driving, improper operation of a San Francisco Bus Company automobile and a host of other crimes by an unsympathetic judge who just happened to have a mistress named Helen Katz.
Now 17, a standout running back on his high school football team and bound for college, Eddie had his whole life before him while Katz lay in a San Quentin prison cell a broken man. In the bleachers his high school sweetheart, Emily Mae, watched as Eddie and his team mates went through their paces in preparation for the weekend's big game, the State Final, naturally. Her best friend, Louise, who was dating the quarter back, Chad Emmerson, looked up from her i-pad," My God, there's a Tsunami and it's heading our way!"
"Head to higher ground.'"
The cool, California sky turned grey and emergency sirens began to wail.
The school, fortunately, was on an evacuation route. The road filled instantly with cars, vans, buses and trucks. The evacuation of San Francisco was swift and orderly. Eddie sat in his family's weekend getaway home, high up in the hills, a world away from the danger in the Bay, watching the news reports of the Tsunami's journey across the Pacific. His mom smiled lovingly at her boy, now almost a grown man, while his father smoked his pipe and provided a running commentary of his own on the Tsunami.
"They got everyone out son. This is America, you see, we're ready for these kinds of things."
Suddenly the TV news cut a to a live view, shot from a helicopter, of around 20 inmates of San Quentin Prison running around the exercise yard seemingly stranded in the abandoned jail.
"Reports are coming in that San Quentin has been evacuated but it looks like there are still some inmates left behind. We're getting word from the Warden that there are no prison officers left at the jail and he's not prepared to risk sending anyone back to the jail with the Tsunami just 5 minutes away."
Eddie felt, simultaneously, a hand on his shoulder and his mother's gaze fall upon him.
"Son, this is it"
"This is what, Pops?"
"Son, when you were hit by that bus the surgeons, they did all they could but they had to leave a piece of steel in your heart..."
"Your left ventricle," his mother interjected.
"Son, you remember when you used to read those X-Men comics?"
"Well son, you're kind of an X-man too."
His mother spoke, "Eddie, you're not just my baby anymore, son you're Bus Boy..."
"And America needs you right now."
"I don't understand?"
"Son, people are going to die if you don't do something."
"What? What can I do?"
"Eddie you've never been able to sit by and see people suffer, you just keep thinking about those prisoners left down there to die. I know you won't let that happen."
"Leave him Mother; we knew this day would come."
Eddie ran out the door, into the driveway. More screams followed. Nightmarish in tone, then Eddie screamed out.
"NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I'M A, I'M A, I'M A BUS!"
Eddie had transformed into a single decker San Francisco City bus. His torso, arms, neck and head protruding from the front above the windscreen, he wore a navy blue spandex top with two interlocked B's emblazoned on his chest and his face hid behind a mask.
"Go save them son, it's what you were made to do."
"Why me Dad, why?"
"If he didn't think you could handle it, God wouldn't have made you this way son. Now go save those prisoners. They might be criminals, but they're still Americans."
Eddie cried, his wipers came on, his engine roared and he raced down the now deserted highways back towards San Fran, crashing through abandoned police barricades.
"We're all gonna die."
"They left us, they left us to die."
"Wait, what's that noise?"
"It sounds like a bus."
The gates to the prison flew open as Bus Boy crashed through them.
"It's a boy!"
"It's a bus!"
"It's Bus Boy!"
Bus Boy came to a halt in the yard as the roar of the waves grew louder and louder in the blackening sky.
"No time to explain, climb aboard."
The stunned prisoners climbed aboard the bus, Eddie's behind now transformed complete with seats and adorned with advertisements for local restaurants and the latest hit movies.
"Katz? Katz, is that you?"
"I, I, I, I’m sorry Eddie, I, please don't leave me Eddie, I'm sorry..."
"Climb aboard Katz. I forgive you. You were going through some tough times and sought refuge in the bottle."
"I swear I'll never drink again if you get us out of here."
"None of us will if you don't climb aboard right now."
This story first appeared on 20minstory.com