The 4 to Capilano was just about to leave West Edmonton Mall. My friends and I, four of us in total, boarded the bus, making our way to the back. Of the 9 available seats, 5 line the very back of the bus facing forward, and 4 face each other, bordering the inside walls. Alex took his seat on one of the inside 4, exhaustedly stretching out and throwing his bag into the seat beside him. Samson took a corner seat, closest to the window, while Taylor and I, a couple at the time, sat side-by-side, just next to Samson. A short time passed, as we waited for the bus to take off. Just seconds before it departed, a thin, middle-aged woman boarded the bus. She was dressed in very smart attire: grey stockings, heels, a black blazer-poncho, with graying blonde hair. She quietly took a seat across from Alex, directly facing him. There was nothing out of the ordinary about her.
Without exchanging glances, almost in comic unison, the four of us took out headphones and began listening to our own individual music. Samson, being the comedian of the group, yanked a headphone from Taylor’s right ear. With no time for Taylor to react, Samson shoved a blaring headphone back in, from his own iPod. Death metal in one ear clashed with indie rock in the other. Samson blurted the statement, “This’ll make your head explode!” Taylor, about to verbally back-hand Samson was interrupted by the elderly woman:
“I’ll make your heads explode—every last one of ya!” Exclaimed the woman angrily. We paused, looking at each other, puzzled, unsure of whether or not she was trying to crack a joke. Unsure of how to react, we chuckled, assuming her wildly unexpected statement wasn’t serious. The rant began. “It was all Samson’s fault”, recalls Taylor, thinking back to the situation, “This kind of stuff is always Samson’s fault.”
She began to rifle through her purse. Between angry mutters, she removed a hair straightener, as well as a piggy-bank-sized white porcelain ghost. “Snip! Snip! Snip! Snip!” she said while she rummaged. We listened on, confused and shocked, while adamantly avoiding eye contact. Placing the ghost in the seat beside her, she suddenly pulled long, razor sharp hairdressing scissors out of her bag. The kind with the rounded finger loops and startlingly pointed ends. ‘Oh crap.’ I thought. She began repeating the chant, snipping the scissors in our direction. “Snip! Snip! Snip!” I was frozen in fear, being seated closest to her at no less of a distance than 5 feet away.
Halfway through the 30 minute armed rant which involved hemorrhoids, Satan, whipping, cannibalism, and many other lovely things, she placed the scissors back in her purse. Alex, a particularly long-legged fellow, uncrossed his leg. Unintentionally stretching out a little too far, he kicked her foot. The talking stopped. The silence sent my heart rate through the roof. We all sat there anxiously, waiting for what she’d do next.
An empty beer can rolled with the lurching turn of the bus and was stopped by a nearby passenger’s foot. I hadn’t noticed him up until this point. The poor bastard was so terrified, he was reading The Life of Pi by Yann Martel—upside down.
Sure enough, the talking started again, only this time, kicked up a notch. A sudden jerking motion made by the woman caught my peripheral vision and I flinched, briefly making eye-contact with her. At that very instant, her hateful rant was funneled in my direction. She began muttering furiously about how I was all sorts of four and five letter words, then began repeatedly striking a pole on the bus with the back of her hand. A high-pitched ‘ding’ reverberated for every strike of her hand as the bones in her finger impacted with the stainless steel. She was hitting it surprisingly hard with her knuckles, even drawing blood. She started to force her own blood out with one hand, massaging it from her knuckles and pointing it in our direction. “See this? It’s too pure for you! I bet you want it, but you can’t have it!” She hit the pole a couple more times. “Think this hurts?” She then smudged the blood on the pole, wiping it on the chair she was sitting on. She then proceeded to remove a diamond ring and rolled up a sleeve, still making sure to point her wounds in our direction, showcasing them to our mortified gaze. Scraping the ring up and down her arm furiously, she began to draw blood on her forearm as well. At this point, I couldn’t control the shaking of my hands, I looked up to notice another passenger approach the empty seat beside me. All of us simultaneously attempted in vain to signal him away, but he took a seat anyway. Immediately he realized his poor choice in seating, and pulled out a cell phone, pretending to be busy with a conversation, as he looked away in shock.
Finally, after a painfully long 30 minute bus ride, we arrived at our destination. Cautiously, we walked past the rambling, bleeding woman who luckily had put away her hairdressing scissors, which was our main concern. She muttered at us while we walked past her, single file: “Yeah, that’s right. You leave.” We did, gladly.