Setting: present day, on a highway in America. Outside a city on a road called the Eisenhower, or The E for short
(Note: this was written as a radio play)
Home base of “Class first” Bus Company
Bus 2298 driver driving a bus of young grade school children home after a field trip
-2298 is pronounced: twenty-two, ninety-eight.
Bus 3007 driver driving a football team home after an away game
-3007 is pronounced: three-double-oh-seven
Bus 0550 driver driving a few last kids home after extreme traffic
-0550 is pronounced oh-five-fifty
Bus 1642 driver driving orchestra kids/instruments home after a competition in the city
-1642 is pronounced: sixteen, forty-two
Logan, a school child on 2298.
Student, on 1642.
Febuary 20th, 7:55 pm
HB: This is home base, how many busses do we still have out? Check in. Over.
2: This is 2298 checking in, over.
3: this is 3007. Still on the road. Over.
1: 1624 checking in. over.
0: This is 0550, unbelievably still on the road. Over.
HB: 0550? You were due back at the lot an hour ago.
0: The traffic on the Eisenhower has been moving at about 3 miles per hour, top speed.
HB: Do you have any kids left on the bus?
0: Yes, there’s four that need to be dropped off down the Eisenhower, and it looks like we’ll be here for a while. Over.
HB: Have you told them to call their parents?
0: Affirmative. They said their parents all understand.
1: this is 1624 to 0550. if the kids get bored, we have a whole bus filled with musicians and instruments, and our violinists would love to play. I can see you a few cars up. I don’t know if I can take this music anymore. Over.
0: Haha. No they’re just listening to their iPod-majiggers.
3: This is 3007. It’s better than having a bunch of stinky, sweaty football players in the back. It’s been a long day for all of us. Wish the E would move faster. Over.
2: This is 2298. Next time try to get a bunch of children whose bed times were an hour ago. It’s heaven. Except for the cranky ones. I don’t really mind that it’s barely moving. Over.
HB: Sorry about the traffic, all. At least it’s not icy out there. Over.
HB: Any sign the E’s moving faster?
1: Did you guys see that?
HB: See what?
1: Up in the sky! It was a big flash of light!
HB: What is you ID, driver?
1: Oh sorry. This is 1624.
HB: Is this pertinent to bussing?
1: no but-
HB: Then it is not a matter to be discussed over intercom. Over.
1: (sadly) Ten-four.
0: I saw it too, 1624. It was right up there in the sky. Very strange. Over.
3: Yeah I saw it as well.
HB: (angrily) What did I just say?
0: Apologies ma’am.
1: Permission to throw violinists out the window? Over.
HB: Permission not granted. Do try to keep things serious, 1624. Over.
3: Why aren’t the busses equipped with heavy-duty air fresheners? For football games, I mean. Over.
HB: That is not a funding priority.
3: Of course not. Over.
HB: Does the road show any signs of improvement?
0: I’m pretty sure we’re actually moving so slowly we’re going backwards, over.
HB: I’m glad I’m not out there tonight.
1: Then you can’t blame me for trying to liven things up a bit!
HB: (muttering) Focus on driving 1624.
1: (also muttering) It’s not driving so much as remembering to keep your foot on the break.
2: There seems to be a disturbance up ahead. This is 2298. I’m not sure what exactly is happening, but I see a few people walking around on the highway. I also hear some shouting. Over.
HB: Avoid trouble if you can. Remember the first priority is the safety of the children. Over.
2: (uneasily) Ten-four.
0: This is 0550. I think I can see the disturbance too. There are dark figures moving around from car to car. They look rather like homeless people. I dunno how they’d get on a highway though. Over.
HB: Again, avoid all possible threats.
2: I can see them closer now… They don’t look like bums. They’re shining lights at people. This is getting creepy. Over.
HB: Tell the kids that there’s a worrisome situation happening, and to remain calm or whatever you think they need to hear. Do not let them talk to the individuals. Over.
HB: I’m going to alert the police.
8:36 pm: Telephone call from HB to police:
9: 911, what is your emergency?
HB: Hello, this is Home Base from the “Class First” school bus company. We have four busses stationed on the Eisenhower, and two of the busses have reported seeing a suspicious figure walking around and looking in cars.
9: We have received several reports about this and officers are on their way.
HB: How soon can we expect them to arrive?
9: It depends on how fast they can maneuver through the traffic, Ma’am. At best, 20 minutes.
HB: Thank you.
(A telephone clicks)
HB: They said it would take the police at best 20 minutes to get there. I’ll bet it’ll be more like 35. Over.
2: (panicked) That won’t be soon enough! It’s almost here. It doesn’t look like any bum I’ve ever seen. It’s face is all… funny looking and it’s not asking for money. It looks like it’s searching for something else. What do I do when it gets here?
HB: The best you can do is protect the kids. Over.
(a short moment of silence)
2: (quietly) I’m scared.
HB: You’ll be okay. If you need help, you always have me. If he wants to talk and you can’t, give him the radio, and he can talk to me.
2: (still scared and quiet) ten-four.
3: If he hurts just one of those little children on the bus, I’ll send this football team up through traffic and have them wallop him. Over.
HB: That would be in direct violation of the rules… but I suppose I’d do the same.
1: Uh… This is 1624. 2298, this stranger is still within your line of sight, right?
3: And you’ve passed exit 110?
3: There seem to be multiple of these figures. I see one skulking around the cars in front of me.
HB: That is worrisome. Are there any clues yet as to what they want?
2: (nervous laugh) I don’t know but I’ll find out soon. He’s coming up to me now.
HB: 2298, are you there? What did it want? Over.
HB: Come in 2298. Over.
HB: What was that? I can’t understand you. Is your radio malfunctioning? Over.
HB: 0550, do you still have a visual on 2298?
0: Negative. A semi somehow squeezed in there and blocked my sight line. Over.
HB: 2298, are you there?
HB: 2298, is that you?
L: No, this is Logan.
HB: Who are you? Is your driver incapacitated?
HB: (enunciating clearly) Is your driver unable to drive?
L: Yeah. The green thing with the light took her. And it took Amy too.
HB: Oh my- So there’s no other adult on the bus?
L: (sobs) No. And we’re all alone. And I just wanna go hoooome.
HB: It’s going to be alright, Logan. Now I want you to help me okay? Is the bus moving? At all?
L: No, it’s not moving and it won’t be alright. They took miss bus driver.
HB: It’s fine, it’s fine. Now, Logan, do you see a button on the dashboard? It looks like a triangle.
HB: Look to the right of the steering wheel.
L: Oh I see it. Should I press it?
L: (weary) What does it do?
HB: It turns on the emergency flashers so that other cars know you’re not driving.
L: Okay. (sniffs)
3: This is 3007. We have a coach onboard this bus. Should we send him through traffic to 2298?
HB: Does it look safe? Can he safely get through traffic?
3: It’s not moving; it’s a parking lot out here. Over.
HB: Thank heavens. Yes, send him up. Logan?
HB: A man is going to come onto your bus.
L: The green man again?!
HB: No. A football coach.
L: Oh. I like football.
HB: Yes, okay. You need to let him in. Tell the other kids he’s there to help you.
L: Okay. How do I let him in?
HB: You see the handle that the driver uses to open the doors? Push that.
L: I’ve always wanted to do that… Lady, will Miss bus driver and Amy really be okay?
HB: I’m sure they will, Logan.
1: this is 1624. The individual is approaching the bus. I am assuming he is hostile. Permission to attack if necessary? Over.
HB: Affirmative. But only because he appears to be taking hostages. And also… You have a weapon?
1: (through an evil grin) This whole bus is armed with bows and deafening music.
HB: I can’t let you have the children attack!
1: Too bad lady. I already told them they could. Over.
HB: (spluttering) But wait! You can’t just… that’s madness!
0: uh… this is 0550. I have reason to believe that the individual is going to come here very soon. Would it be possible to relocate these four students to the football bus? I’m sure the football players would be a better protection that I would be. Over.
HB: That actually sounds like a great idea, but I can’t allow it. Unfortunately, this seems like a day of breaking rules, so I will allow it. Just don’t tell anyone. 3007, could I ask you to send someone over to 0550’s bus to collect the children? Over.
3: all I have left are the players, but they’re tough. I’ll send four over. Two to collect the children, and two to protect 0550. Over.
HB: Thank you very much. Those boys deserve awards. Tell them that before they leave. Over.
3: They heard you.
HB:Good. Logan? Mr. Coach? Are you there? Did the coach make it safely to your bus?
L: I haven’t seen him, miss.
HB:(worried but trying to sound hopeful) well hang on! 3007?
HB: (Low and fast) when those boys come back with the children, could you send some more out to see if the coach is okay? And if they don’t see the coach, could they stay with the children in 2298?
3: Ten-four, will do.
3: (Also low and fast)The boys got back with the four children who looked scared out of their wits. I have the go-ahead to send them back up to 2298? Over.
HB: Affirmative. 1642? Are you there? Over.
HB: 1642? What was that? Please repeat.
HB: Does anyone have a visual on 1642?
3: Negative. I know it’s somewhere behind me though. Over.
Student: (breathing heavily with chaotic sounds in the background) I’m a student. We’re fighting off three of these guys. I think they’re aliens, man. They’re all green. We’re not doing too well. They have these stun guns. They already got the driver and half the bass section. That’s not too much of a loss though. My bow broke… Oh no. Got to go.
HB: What the- Aliens? 3007, got any players to spare?
3: I’ve already sent them. Over.
L: Miss, I see some football players, but I don’t see any coaches.
HB: Oh hey Logan. I sent players instead. Let them in.
HB: 3007, no sign of your coach.
3: Oy that’s not good.
HB: This night has been a living hell.
0: you can say that again. Your players have arrived, by the way, 3007. The suspicious individual is one car ahead of me, shining its creepy light into the car. I think it’ll be here next. I’m going to hide behind a seat and have these football players do the same. Hopefully it will think this place is empty and just pass on by. Over.
HB: Stay strong, 0550. Stay strong everyone. Over.
HB: 1624- er... the orchestra kids. Any sign of those football players?
S: Yeah they’re helping us. We got two of the three aliens. Now we just gotta bash in this last one. There’s only a few of us left though.
HB: Oh my… Where are the police?
S: If you want my opinion, I think this is happening all down the Eisenhower. They probably stopped by the first person who had reported a kidnapping… I’ve been listening to the intercom.
HB: You’re probably right. Maybe the air force will come in. I mean, if they really are aliens. 3007, how does it look down where you are? Over.
3: They aren’t coming near me. Must be the stench. Over.
HB: That’s a relief. How about you, 0550?
HB: 0550? Come in. Over.
HB: (Jarred) I keep hearing that strange sound. What did you say 0550?
HB: I will assume you’re still hiding. 3007, do you have a visual on 0550?
3: Affirmative. In fact… Yes, there’s an alien on board the bus. I can see 0550 is crouching near the back. No doubt she’s going to hop out the back if the alien comes toward her. I can see the players too. Over.
HB: Are we sure these are aliens?
3: Yes. No doubt. Unless it is a particularly cruel trick.
S: We did it! The last alien is dead! And I think I see police heading this way. They’re walking on foot, not by car.
HB: Thank goodness! Let them in when they come.
HB: 3007, 0550, Logan, check in. What is your status? Can you see police?
L: I’m here and the Players are here too. I haven’t seen any more aliens. I don’t see police. I’ll ask the kids in the back if they see any. Have you heard from Miss Bus Driver or Amy yet?
HB: Not yet, no Logan. How about you, 3007? Over.
3: I’m not sure if these are police or just people walking. It’s dark. Over.
HB: I’ll pray that they’re police. 0550, status?
3: Actually, ma’am, I’m afraid that 0550 and the players jumped out the back some time ago. I guess I forgot to mention it. They’re on my bus now. Say hi 0550!
0: Hello. I’m safe with all these football players. I’m alright now.
S: The police say that there’s an emergency highway exit hatch near us. They’re telling us to get off the bus and the road and go to safety.
HB: Okay, follow what the police say.
S: alright miss. Thanks for your help.
L: The kids at the back say that they don’t see any police.
HB: Okay Logan. If they do see any, tell them to follow what the police say.
L: Okay ma’am.
3: These do look like police, those people walking. And good heavens there are a lot of them. They’re practically flooding the street. Over.
HB: That’s wonderful! Maybe we’ll still make it out okay.
L: Miss bus driver and Amy didn’t make it out okay…
HB: We’ll find them, Logan. Don’t worry.
L: The kids at the back said they see some police.
HB: That’s good. They should be helping you off the bus.
L: These police walk funny.
HB: Well that’s not very nice to say about someone who’s rescuing you.
HB: Logan? Are you there? Are the police helping you?
L: (whispers) I’m here. They’re not police, ma’m, they’re aliens in police uniform. They look like police, but they have funny feet. They told us to get off the bus, but I didn’t come. I hid under the seat and they didn’t find me. Now I’m all alone. One kid made a fuss, like he didn’t want to go, and the police-aliens shot him with this light thing. The kid froze up like he had wood for a back and then the alien just picked him up. Everyone else went willingly after that. You’re not s’posed to mess with the police.
HB: (Aghast) They were aliens? Didn’t the football players try to do anything?
L: They froze them too. I hafta go now. There’s some scary people outside the window.
HB: Wait, Logan!
L:Hafta go. Don’t talk to me.
HB: Oh no. Oh no. I can’t do anything! 3007, how’s it going?
(alien noises swell up then fade into silence.)