Dave knows no fear
To Dave, yellow lights mean nothing. They are simply warnings to other drivers to get the hell out of Dave's way.
Dave is the ultimate superhero. He fights for truth, justice and the American way using the best possible methods.
Dave is a Lawrence University bus driver.
The other bus drivers
One of the other bus drivers is a surly woman. She's got short blonde hair and seems unhappy that you are riding her bus. I dread the Tuesdays and Thursdays on which I have to ride her bus.
Despite adhering to the rules of the bus system without fail, she is usually late.
A large man shares her half of the route, driving in the mornings. He is generally a pretty hip guy. He gets you where you are going on time and listens to dirty R&B songs from the 1970's. He's only been driving for a couple weeks and doesn't know us by name, but he greets us anyway.
The other other bus drivers
Our least favorite bus driver doesn't drive our bus any longer. He has the absolute worst facial hair I've ever seen. There are about 29 hairs on his face total, spread between his upper lip and lower chin.
He is a very dumb man. He runs into curbs, intersections and concrete walls. After driving the route for two full weeks, he still couldn't remember his way. I sometimes worry that his 29 hairs will feel sorry for him someday and strangle him.
Beyond Dave, Surly Woman, Large Man and Dumb Man, there are also two other bus drivers bus drivers. I don't know why they sometimes drive our bus. One of them looks like a biker gone soft and the other is a sweet young woman.
They are not important.
The bus route
The bus drivers drive students to and from the Lawrence University campus. When they are going from campus, they're going to apartments on the west side of town.
It is on the westernmost point on the route that the bus drivers pick up my roommates and me.
My roommates and I live in an apartment named Maria. We have several modern amenities, such as running water, color television and stadium seating. When we moved in, just about everything was either broken or dirty, sometimes both. The landlady would not own up to this being her problem and so we did our very best to make it her problem.
As a result of events that, to my knowledge, have nothing to do with us complaining, thing have been getting spruced up around Maria. We've have our shower door replaced with a shower rod, requiring us to buy a curtain, our bathtubs resurfaced, rendering our apartment nearly unlivable for a week due to odor and had the parking stripes restriped, which everyone continued to ignore.
There are a few things living in Maria, believe it or not. The two most important are Logan and Richard. Logan is an aloe plant in a trophy. Richard is a green plant that hangs from the ceiling. He was named after a poet.
There's also Joseph Haddock and Thad Hopper, my roommates. Joe is an obsessive-compulsive, manic-depressive alcoholic madman with a mohawk. Thad is an immature redhead with ADHD and a temper problem.
We've also got Cobra Eyes, Thad's long-term girlfriend that nobody likes, Thad least of all. I include her not for the sake of completion—she doesn't live her, dammit—but because she is here about 4 days a week, despite paying for a room on campus. This angers everyone involved, Thad most of all.
There are about 10 birds that live outside on our porch. We keep a bird feeder for them. It is made out of a 2 quart bottle of juice that we put a hole in. We had a bird bath (bowl with water in it), but somebody stole it from our second story balcony. This theft may seem like a nearly impossible feat and certainly not worth the effort, but I assure you, this was a very nice bowl.
The birds freak out every time I go outside to refill the bird feeder, and it takes them about two days to trust it again.
We were going to get a dog, but we never did.
Maria Pt. 2
This morning I woke up inside of Maria. She asked how I was doing.
"A little hung over," I replied.
"Why don't you make some coffee? You're going to be late to your job interview."
"Thanks. How was your night?"
"Decent. Our neighbors are really fucking loud sometimes."
"Why do you think I'm hung over?"
The chapter in which I attempt to get a job
I went to a job interview this morning. I use interview in the loosest sense of the term. You see, I'm a private investigator. I solve mysteries, save the day, get the girl. You know know the drill.
Anyway, my job interviews usually consist of a dame coming into my office, asking for help and me offering to help. It doesn't pay well, but it pays the bills, you know?
The interview today was different. Somebody wants me to do a spreadsheet for them. The conversation went something like this:
"I need you to do a spreadsheet for me."
"I'm a private eye. I don't know how to make spreadsheets. Try the office down the hall, guy's name is Lenny Fitzpatrick. I think he does that sort of thing."
"Trust me, I've done my research. You are the private eye for this job. I sensed it as soon as I saw your name."
"We're talking about the same kind of spreadsheet? Charts and graphs?"
"I don't know how to do those. Try Lenny Fitzpatrick. He's down the hall. I'm a private eye."
"You're a private eye?"
"I'm a private eye."
"You are the private eye I need."
"For a spreadsheet?"
"For a spreadsheet."
"Why do you need a private eye to do your spreadsheet?"
"I don't. I need you to do my spreadsheet."
"Lady, I don't know the first thing about making spreadsheets. I can't even turn on a typewriter."
"You can't do spreadsheets?"
"I can't do spreadsheets."
"I'll give you five thousand dollars."
"...five thousand dollars?"
"Five thousand dollars."
"For a spreadsheet?"
"For my spreadsheet."
Now, like I told the lady, I don't know the first thing about making spreadsheets. I wasn't lying when I told here I didn't know how to turn on a typewriter. But this dame was pretty insistent and she was real pretty to boot. Anyway, I could definitely use the money. Private investigating is not exactly a lucrative business these days.
Well, it's not a very lucrative business for me these days. I'm not a very good private investigator. Lenny Fitzpatrick is probably better than I am. All he does is make spreadsheets all day.
Maria hears about my job
Richard agrees with Maria while he hangs from the ceiling. "Bitchin'."
"You guys, I don't know how to make a spreadsheet. I barely know what a spreadsheet is. I can't even make my bed."
"Dude, spreadsheets are no problem. Simple shit. Even for you," Thad assures me from his perch in our stadium seating.
I reply, "Thad, you dont know what a spreadsheet is either."
"They're still simple shit. Even for you."
I ignore him and walk to my room. I spend two and a half hours researching spreadsheets on the internet.
After two and a half hours, I still have no idea how to make a spreadsheet.
Jonas makes his first appearance in the novel
Jonas Koeppler is an instructor at Lawrence University. He teaches introductory English courses and creative writing. He moonlights as a poet. He is very nearly a superhero, but unfortunately, he doesn't have the right clothes.
Superheroes need good clothes, you know.
"You know, despite my name, my heritage is not German."
"Yea. All of my family actually comes from Britain. None of us are sure where the name Koeppler came from. It's some big family secret."
"Wouldn't calling it a secret imply that somebody knows but won't tell?"
"It's some big family mystery."
"Yea, I guess."
I know Jonas because he teaches the creative writing class I'm in.
The creative writing class I am in
Lynne has dark hair and dark skin. Her hairstyle varies widely from day to day, from neat, combed and clean to unkempt, ragged and greasy. Sometimes she wears glasses, but not always. I'm not sure if she's got contacts or just forgets about her glasses sometimes.
She seems like the kind of person that might forget her glasses sometimes.
Lynne almost never wears a bra.
Matt's got a beard and sometimes wears a hat. He is grinning almost every time I see him and I'm not sure why.
"Matt, why are you grinning every time I see you?"
"You know man, I just love this class."
"You're always grinning though. Every time I see you. Even outside of class."
"I just love this class is all man. It makes me grin."
"See you later man."
Tegan Nightshade wears lots of black and has pale skin and long black curly hair. I think she might be a vampire. She's very pretty, aside from potentially being undead. She likes to write poems about eating flesh from bones and having sex in the 1600s. She gets drunk before writing her poems.
The other Matt in our class is named Matt Beard, but he's clean shaven. He writes mostly about how a girl hurt him once, but sometimes he switches it up and writes about how this girl makes him want to commit suicide.
Stoner is always mumbling. Most of what he talks about are how cool/rad/awesome something is or how deep and meaningful something else is. He's got shaggy hair and a suspiciously well trimmed beard. I think he might be about 47 years old, but his driver's license says that he's 22.
His poems are not very good. It is very possible to smoke too much pot.
Sunshine is a cute girl with an eyebrow ring and hippies for parents. Her poems are pretty average but she's a beautiful girl and that more than makes up for her average poems. She's got blonde hair, baggy pants and an ass that could kill you with a look.