Years ago I took a long bus trip. It was everything a 36-hour bus ride could be, with the usual suspects (ordinary people, crazy people, young people, old people, little children, crackheads, perverts, college kids, etc.). With a delegate present from every walk of life, that bus presented me with sights, smells, and propositions I hope never to encounter again. Some time after that, I happened upon Weird Al’s performance of “Another One Rides the Bus.” I had to watch it a second time because I was laughing so hard the first time through I missed half the lyrics – all of which rang true enough to keep me in hysterics.
Weird Al’s whimsical ditty came back to me this morning and I started thinking about all the story ideas that could come out of that bus trip. What if humans and aliens had to share a daily commute? If goblins ran bus companies, what sort of rules would they impose on passengers? Or, I could take the most inappropriate thing I heard on that trip and write it into a setting that was the opposite of the bus environment. Or, I could pick the creepiest weirdo on the bus and write the story of how he got that way. (Um…maybe not that last one, upon second thought.)