Bus Domino Around the World
Bus Domino Around the World
We are those on the bus packed in like disgruntled sardines longing for release. We are spaced out along the aisle like a line of new trees in an arctic wind. Gravity has forced us into a partial, gradual lean into the same direction; like closed books on a library shelf all making a murmured bow to the West.
Either the brakes on this bus are unsure of themselves, or the driver has a club foot brought down in anger, for there is a sudden jerk as the bus halts for a second before continuing again. That is all it takes.
An old woman alive with the fragrance of flowers meets my back like a slammed door.
Returning the favour, my chin nudges the Marks & Spencer shoulder of a gentleman in front of me. Before he can turn and eye me with a stern moustache, he himself slams forward into a five-spotted schoolgirl with pigtails out of season. She bends forward on the spot like a reliable spring at creak, knocking against one of her friends.
Suddenly, we are a metal vehicle of strangers falling down like busted hopes. Moments before, we had just been a metal vehicle of strangers desperate to get home, to get warm, and to get hopeful. And in a leaf-lined, heart mined corner of this city begins something that nobody expected: a chain reaction that nobody predicted; a domino effect that escaped even the four-hundred and fifty-five year gaze of Michel de Nostredame.
Swiftly, the ripple spreads through the streets, wriggling in and out of shops like teenagers stealing deodorant, snaking through private homes like an ill wind. A momentum builds that becomes impossible to stop, like a grandfather clock over wound. Like a child in tantrum on a roundabout.
By morning, people are falling about like loose teeth. The following lunchtime there is a simultaneous news broadcast – blanking out all 737 channels – urging people to be on the lookout for a human tsunami in single file. In the background behind the flustered news reader, a line of police officers can be seen to tick sideways like toast soldiers.
It takes only a matter of days for the tipping to spread across the channel and in Calais, a man in a well worn beret can be heard to exclaim ‘Zut Alors!’ before tumbling forwards into the shoulders of a smaller, older woman, who in turn nudges a baker, who nudges a piano tuner, who spends the whole of the next day ironing out notes of discord.
Despite the best efforts of rigid customs officials, held in place with emergency brackets forged in brass, the epidemic goes stateside and New York is brought to a bagel standstill by unfamiliar angles.
By the end of the first week, Japanese fishermen have fallen down and in their confusion have stopped butchering whales.
And in another time and place Gloria and Christian domino kiss back and forth until all their fires burn themselves out.
Deep in the grizzled heart of a ranch in Northern California a heavy-browed Canadian is nudged by a horse and stumbling forward bangs his knee. Sat rubbing the knee better, he looks into the afternoon sun and thinks ‘There will be a new song in this’.
Further down the pacific blue coast and overworked computer genius dominoes into his artistically-gifted wife. Cushions and cats break their fall and a fire blazes in their own private hearth. But neither is quick enough to stop a candle from spilling its wax like a puddled wish and seconds later the waxy tears harden into the curve of an eternal ‘?’ that quite simply speaks of Who.
Like it or not, we are all part of the bus domino around the world.