The Wandering Bus (an urban legend)
There is a bus in Philadelphia which SEPTA does not talk about. It is not listed on the website. It has neither schedule nor route. It drives the city in a pattern known only to its driver, and perhaps not even to him. Its electronic reader board never displays a number, only “SEPTA.” People who know it call it the Zero, the Random Bus, the Wandering Bus, or just The Bus. It is not a bus for people who know where they want to go. It is a bus for departures.
The Bus has a way of showing up when you are at your lowest. You will hit a certain point, feel a disconcerting crumple in an inner place you thought solid, like a hand crushing an origami box. Just then you look up to see The Bus a block away. You always need to run for it, but just a little bit. Just enough to show you need it. It will wait.
There is an automated voice. It does not say Route forty, service to Second and Lombard. The Bus does not deal in those specifics. It says only Service from and the name of the intersection you are standing at. The doors clunk open, you get on board, the doors hiss shut, ...
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