Lilly was late or that bus stop tragedy came early, but that was no never mind now. Lily quit her job, and lied to an attorney, who gave her a notarized receipt for the lottery tickets, as well as a bank draft advance of 100 thousand dollars at 5 percent for thirty days collateralized by her prospective post taxed winnings of plus 300 million dollars.She deposited the check and taxied to the Detective Agency’s Office. She asked the two detectives if they were aware of the morning events that took place at the Western Ave bus stop. The male nodded in the affirmative, the woman detective crossed herself, and said something about the grace of God.
And then Lilly related how, that for four years, she and three others shared a few minutes together each workday awaiting the Western Avenue Bus at that Bus Stop. This group time together varied of course, from five to fifteen minutes, due to weather and other traffic variances, but Lilly said she could honestly count on one hand the number of times that all four had not huddle together, in all those years, at just that spot, awaiting public transportation.
No, these people were not friends, she responded. Not even acquaintance, she would have to admit. Lilly knew first names only, and the general whereabouts of where in the city each resided. And tidbits about pets, and bastard bosses, favorite TV shows, and dreams mostly unrealized, or given up on. Outside of those few minutes, and that kind of small talk exchange, there had been, at least for her, no other contact, meetings, or any social interaction with any of the three, excepting those early minutes of the day.
She then told of literally running to catch the bus when she witnessed the vehicle’s failure to slow down, jump the curb, plow through the semi-enclosed Plexiglas paneled waiting area and send three bodies flying. And although she must have been in shock, she soon learned the three, and maybe it was for the best, died instantly.
No, the police did not take a statement from her. There’s a camera recording every minute of each moment at that corner. And hell the bus was wired. They could see for themselves what happened. She soon left and walked a few blocks to a Dunkin Donuts, where she shook down some coffee and just sat there for a couple of hours which felt like days, and when she finally arrived late for work, after explaining the circumstance, her boss suggested any further tardiness would result in termination.
Look, Lilly said, to the two for hire investigators, it’s a police matter now, and all public record like, so if you guys could get real names and address, and locate next of kin and such, maybe I could help with funeral arrangements, or drop a note of condolence, or just share some thoughts about…
wait… Short Order Shorty…he’s a cook, and he has a dog and as far as I know, lives alone. What about that? And Blue hair Betty, a widow, works at some fancy old folks home as a hair stylist, and Good Pour Paul tends a dive bar during the day, and just started going to some technical school at night. And he was caring for a sick little sister, I think. These were good people. And I just feel so damn guilty. I feel I should do something.
Can you guys help me out, I recently came into a little money.
And The Detective agency took her check.
The therapist worked at home. A fine two acre spread on the north shore of Chicago metro. In nice weather, if his patent so opted, they would converse outside on his patio.
For two years, I’ve taken your money Lilly, said the shrink. That ends today, he continued. You can’t purchase absolution for something you didn’t do.
But they would have reimbursed me, said Lilly. They all did it before. They just didn’t have the money on ‘em on a payday Friday morning. But they were good for it. And we dreamed that big money dream together. Each week. Sharing just what we would do with all that damn money, every week…for all those years, Doc.
It was your ticket. You bought it with your money, Lilly. You didn’t cheat anyone.
Not a living relative among the three of them, Doc. Not one. I was the only person at three funerals excepting the hired help. How the hell is that possible. And that poor bastard bus driver, Hell, a heart attack. Over two thousand people at his funeral. And Paul’s sister had died months before that day, and he didn’t even tell me, didn’t mention it, Doc. Why? Why would he do that?
We can never know, Lilly.
You know why we called ourselves The Too Much Fun Crew, Everyday, each day, we would all try to one-up each other’s horrible night or terrible weekend. It was so tragic and comic concurrently. And if there was any embellishment, I actually think it was to tamp down just how miserable and lonely, and un-damned loved we all actually felt, if not were, or really still are, Doc.
And then Lilly cried. And Short Order Shorty’s dog, Lucky, got up, came over to Lilly, and put his head in her lap.