A Cat Explosion On A Trimet Bus

US Gov. Warning: The story you about to hear is true only the species have been changed to protect the innocent. 

Part 1 “The Introduction” 

As a bus driver you try not to judge a book by it’s cover. You try not to judge a person by the smell. You try not to judge by the way riders act, the way they look the way they present themselves. You try… It’s not easy. See, try as you like there are way way too many people that live up to their own stereotypes. Just when you think your mind is clear and you being a good bus operator in walks a stereotype to undo all your great effort. 

So confession time. 

Let me start by saying I deplore racism, I call it package-ism in my own head. Like the skin package you are wrapped in is destiny, I hate it. I would like to say it never affects me, oh but it does. There is one people on earth that I cannot stand, it’s really not a race but a division of a subset of a group. I can’t stand them, When I see them I want to drive right by them. In all my years of driving these dingbats have regularly caused more trouble in and around my bus than all other riders combined. 

Let me describe them as would any scientist would.

  • Domain: Human (Barely) 
  • Kingdom: Caucasians 
  • Phylum: Northwest European 
  • Class:  Red Head
  • Order: Pale Skin
  • Family: Skinny
  • Genus: Male
  • Species: CBDM (Chronic Bad Decision Makers) 

 Now you must be careful for many many people can fit this description right down to the CBDM. They look almost alike except for this one way. The Second the thermometer peeks above 68 degrees and the sun is out these nearly albino fools yank off their shirts as if they are winning the great spring shirt off sweepstakes. These are the CBDM. 

 Long before anyone else doffs their shirts, the CBDM’s will be bare skinned at the mere hint of the sun and they will be ready to ride the bus. Normally there seems to be an equal amount of shirtless people of any race but for everyone else it at 85+ degrees, then you will see a few, but the CBDM’s need NEEDto get the Freaking SHIRT OFF ASAP long before anyone else.

Just the sight of the pasty white glowing skin of the CBDM will make me gag a little and this is where our story begins.

Useless facts. 

  • Driving the 71 bus or as I call it “The BIG HORSESHOE” 
  • I’m on 122nd Heading South. 
  • It’s 7:00 PM


There he his a CBDM, in the waning light of the day he is standing there, shirtless because he has… you got it, left his shirt at home. After all Portland was enjoying an early spring and what else does every Portlander need? Why a shot of this CBDM in all his glory. 

There are several normal people to board the bus in front of the Safeway, most have shopping bags. Not the CBDM he has a cardboard box with a cloth over it. He shuffles forward…Barefoot! cause nothing is cleaner than the floor of a bus.  He is covered in a glistening sheen of body oil left over from when the sun was out and bright, now he has the complexion of sticky hard candy left out on the sidewalk in august. 

“Hey,” I say as he approaches. 

“I can come in dude,” He shouts at me, did I mention he was a CBDM? I should of. “I don’t need a shirt to ride ass hole” 

I put up my hand in the stop motion. He starts yelling at me. 

When he calms down I point at the lit cigarette in his mouth. You see his box isn’t large, but it’s heavy enough that he has to use two hands and his cigarette is in his mouth and he is talking around it while taking big angry puffs. 

He turns about, flails for a second trying to figure out what he should do… He sways back and forth, lifting one leg and then the other as if to balance the box on his knee, while he balances on one leg, so he can remove and…  save the Cigarette for later.

Then two CBDM’s actions happen at once, I have wondered what thinking was going on in his head, here is what I believe it was. 

This bus driver will wait for me while I take the largest deepest inhale of this cigarette ever seen.” 

And at the same time he was thinking

“Hey man I will just blow this Cigarette out of my mouth, you know the one I’ve been talking around and blowing saliva on.” I wanted to add “What could possibly go wrong?” to the end of that sentence but that is what you and I would think. For the CBDM the idea of “What could possibly go wrong?” is a thought that never, ever occurs.

So just like that, he does the Super-puff, then spits the cigarette out over the box. Only because he was talking around it, it sticks to his lower lip and does a 90 degree drop right between his chest and the box he is holding there. 

In a flash he tries to… again at the same time, do the following.

  1. Breath in, in pain.
  2. Exhale the lung full of smoke
  3. Yell in pain
  4. Keep the cigarette from falling in the box
  5. Dance around avoiding the bouncing cigaret with the red hot tip from his super puff as it falls. 

The coughing spinning mess looks more like the Warner brothers character of the Tasmanian Devil if the Tasmanian devil wore dirty, ripped camouflage pants and carried an overloaded box.

When he stopped he looked at me with the. “There you satisfied!” Look the most CBDM’s must learn at CBDM school. Actually I think there is no CBDM school, only normal school where the CBDM’s play way way too much hacky-sack in between smoking bowls. 

Up until now things had actually gone better than I expected. Then he did the greatest CBDM of all CBDM actions… he stepped foot on my bus. Though at first I was not able to see the true folly in his actions it would soon become apparent. 

Part 2 “In the Blink Of An Eye”

He stumbled in and sat right behind me where it’s hard to see him in my interior mirror. This is priority seating for the handicapped and older riders. I heard him ask some older woman to slide over. The bus was only half full so I didn’t comment. I guess the older woman was too put off by his oily sheen form a day of sweating, perhaps she thought he was some sort of strange Turkish wrestler. She slid way way over. 

(In the Kirkpinar. Turkish men douse themselves in olive oil and beat each other senseless. As far as sticking their oiled arms in one another's pants… maybe they are the CBDM’s of Turkey)

The second I started moving I heard a strange moaning sound. I looked in my inside mirror and all seemed well. Nothing was near my bus outside either so I just kept rolling. The moan got louder and now I looked in the mirror and began to slow. What the hell was going on? I looked back again and everyone was looking at Mr. CBDM. 

I came to a halt and it hit me…

A cat!

That’s what was in the box with the beach towel over the top. 

I craned around to view Mr. CBDM who now thought that the crazy cat in the box who was in no way a fan of mass transit, would only be comforted with the application of his pasty white freckled hand. See why I call them CBDM’s, You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to know what comes next. 

“Just drive!” he yelled at me looking in the mirror with his best tough guy face. “I’m only going down to the light (About half a mile)

The next roar of cat outrage convinced me of two things. This CBDM was only going to make things worse and, It was worse than I even thought, because when he hissed in pain, two answering cat roars came from inside the box. What’s dumber then one pissed off cat on a city bus? Two pissed off cat’s on a city bus. 

“Dude,” I said, I felt sorry for him. “You can’t just have cats in an open box” 

He began struggling with the two cats who wanted nothing to do with the bus and even less to do with the CBDM who sought at first to comfort them. 

“It’s got a lid!” he yelled, but no sooner did he yell this then the beach blanket cover was thrown aside. He had one cat, a large black and white cat by the scruff and he was pinning a big orange cat by a continuously slipping hold along his back.  Both shoddy looking cats, once they saw daylight, increased their struggled to escape his cardboard prison. 

“Man you can’t control those cat’s” I said and was going to say more but he shot back. 

“I got control….. AHHHHHH! FUCCCCCCCCCKAH!” his face twisted in pain. 

It seemed oddly Ironic to both me and everyone on the bus that these cat’s were in no way under control while Mr. CBDM was trying to tell me all was well between painful gasps.  

“You can’t have them on the bus” I said opening the door. I didn’t know what else to do but the thought of crazy cats charging into my passengers was not in any way a good thought. 

“I… just… rescued…. them today,” he managed. wincing and fighting. 

At that moment the black and white cat pulled a Kung Fu Cat move. With a loud cat howl it spun like a prop on a plane and inverted itself so that it was upside down. Still being held by the scruff of the neck, only now all four sets of claws dug in along Mr. CBDM’s right arm. 

The gold cat obviously felt that he was being overshadowed and like a feline Hudini squished it’s self flat and made a jump. Mr. CBDM took a step and reaching out with his left arm grabbed the big orange cat capturing him against his own chest. 

“Mother ahhhh” he screamed. “I’ll put them in the box just drive!” he added. 

“Man are those feral cats?” asked a polite, dapper gent. People had began to get up and move towards the back of the bus gathering there for defense if nothing else. 

“I res…” That’s when Orange extended it’s claws for maximum traction and began to run horizontally along CBDM torso towards his right side, maybe he expected to free the black and white cat by sneaking along. 

Meanwhile the black and white cat had twisted around enough to bring his mouth into play. That’s when it must have occurred to CBDM that something was ever so slightly wrong. The cat bit him in the webbing between his thumb and pointing finger of his right hand and far from looking like he wanted to escape the cat looked like he just wanted to stay and drink the living blood of his tormentor. 

“Get out!” Screamed an elderly woman. 

“Don’t hurt the cat!” screamed a young couple. 

“Don’t come back here!” Screamed a construction worker in a heavy Spanish accent. 

the CBDM kept spinning around wildly as if that could stop the cats who were, in the case of Orange stuck to his body using it for traction and in the case of Black and White, was locked in for the long haul. He screamed and tried to talk at the same time as he neared me. 

I recoiled in fear and the only thing I could say was “Don’t touch the driver!!” 

A woman stepped forward from the aback of the bus and sprayed water from a bottle. At first I thought, Yeah maybe he should have taken a shower… Then I realized she was doing this to scare off the cats. I think there may have been a little CBDM blood in her as well. When the water hit the cats they went into nuclear bomb laying, Ginsu claw swinging, double freak speed, super manic action. 

Big Orange was slipping again when the cats claws found the top of his captors camouflage pants. Then digging in for all he was worth this cat pulled himself free. He followed this up by clawing his way down the pants, not climb! or fall! but clawing his way down one wildly moving leg. 

The CBDM spun about but that seemed to be doing nothing. Black and White took up a solid hold, then released the bite and leapt, landing on the front of the bus just inside the front door along the windshield, ducking low and hissing.

The CBDM was covered in cuts, and scratches and they all began to seep blood as if he was a bloody rag getting wrung out. Orange cat broke for freedom. In two bounds Orange cat was out of the bus, heading down the street next to Safeway at a dead run. 

The CBDM obviously not one to give up easy reached out again for the Black and White and eat a painful claw swipe that made him recoil with a howl of pan and more bad language than I can fit on this page. 

“DOOODE!” shouted a young man from the back. “Let’m go!”

Out of no where the box the cats were stuffed into along with the beach towel cover came flying forward. It hit CBDM in the middle of the back and just then Black and White was off after his Orange color accomplice in flash.  

The CBDM, spun and grabbed up the box. “Fuc” he said looking around and snatching up the towel. Then uttered the CBDM national anthem… “It’s your fault!” He screamed at me as he, yes you guessed it! Did the CBDM thing, he went after the cats. 

“What the hell ya doing man!” Yelled someone from the back of the bus.

“You need medical?” I called after him. He responded with a uplifted bloody middle finger. If I have learned anything in the last years of bus driving is that the bloody middle fingers is a type of sign language saying “Drive away fast bus driver.” 

As CBDM ran he pinched the side of the box under one arm and in the gathering gloom I could see him light up a cigarette without missing a step. He had mad skills at lighting up on the run, not many could do that. 

I closed the door, caught my breath and drove on as fast as I could. 

Total time onboard the bus? one minute fifty seconds. In under two minutes my bus went from sleepy time everyone trying to get home, to a screaming roiling knot of chaos. People in the bus could not believe what had just happened and chatted openly about it in the type of tones one hears at a sporting event when a great play had been made. “Did you see that!” “Who knew!” “That was crazy!” 

Two minutes later it seemed like a dream. As people left they all came to the front doorand said things like “I bet you seen everything.”  “Didn’t see that coming!”  “Were those wild cats?”

I haven’t seen the CBDM again, but the temps have dropped down. I suspect come summer I will run into him… I hope the wounds have healed by then, I will let you know because the odds of this guy keeping his shirt on is 0, Let’s hope the odds of him playing feral cat rescue again is also 0. 

That it for this week. 

Roll on my drivers and riders but always Roll Easy. 

PS: Not the first time I've seen this sort of thing... nor will it be the last.