Cosmo and Buster (c)
In a land far away, where life`s not what it seems, there`s Cosmo and Buster, who have rather big dreams
Cosmo Golightly took a step back and admired his reflection, then he took a step forward again as he noticed that his reflection had a spot, on his nose and he took his cloth and wiped the offending mark away it was only when it stayed there that he realised the spot WAS on the end of his nose and he heaved a small sigh. “Well” he thought to himself “at least one of us has a perfect reflection.”
He looked at the red bus. It was only a small bus really and rather old fashioned it had stairs at the back that curled round till they reached the top which was open to the air. And the seats on it were made of slatted wood with curved over tops and bottoms so there were no nasty sharp edges. The hand holds were the original leather all buffed up and shiny and smelling just like they should be.
The stairs had small strips of wood for gripping in wet weather and all the windows had the latest — no need to wash much, light reflective and solar collecting glass. He had worked extra shifts at his regular job at the Mapleberry Town Bus Depot where he swept out and cleaned the regular buses when they had finished for the day — to get the money to pay for those.
It had taken a long time but finally Cosmo`s dream of owning his very own bus had finally come true. All it needed now was the proper and correct certification and he would be able to take his bus out on the road. It even had the special grab pole at the back for people to just be able to hop on or off like in the times when the bus had first been in service.
Cosmo had made the engine for the bus himself. He had been quite clever at school and shown an aptitude — so his teachers said — for ingenuity and imagination. He had arranged it so that the bus ran mostly on the solar power that it collected and he had made it so that electricity did the rest. He was rather nervous when he had proposed the plans for the engine to the depot garage where he had used the tools available to make it.
At first they had laughed and said it could not be done, but they had let him get on with it anyway because all the parts he used were of no use to them anymore and — in the way of people, who do not understand or expect something to work — they had waited for him to fail. But Cosmo just smiled and got to work putting bits and pieces together, at first cleaning them thoroughly and then putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
“To be honest” he again smiled at the thought “no one believed I would be able to make you look as good as you do” and he came out from under the tarpaulin that was covering the bus and had done so for many a day while Cosmo restored it from the rather sad looking wreck he had found in the back of the depot to the magnificent bus that he saw before his eyes that day. “A job well done” he muttered to himself as he went off to clean the regular buses with a beaming smile on his face.
The bell rang sharply as the conductor called out “All aboard”
That was the bit Buster liked best. He watched as they scurried up the stair case trying to sit down before the bus began its journey. There were lots of people on board and that was how Buster liked it. Some people looked a bit grumpy because they had been running to catch the bus but most looked happy enough. Some read newspapers and others looked out the windows onto the busy streets of London which even late at night never really got quiet and that too was how Buster liked it.
Driver used to say that “too much quiet was no good for anyone” and that “it’s lovely to see us full and flowing. Both Driver and Conductor took great care of the bus they made it shine and gleam. They were very proud to be working for the bus company. Their uniforms always looked so smart as well with shiny buttons and the pouch where the money was collected all buffed and smelling of leather. It was a nice time.
One day however, something awful happened there was a lot of noise and the bus was hit by a tram that had been derailed. The bus was put away in the shed for the accident people to look at, and it stayed there for some time. Eventually someone decided to try to mend it and it was put back together and once more taken out on the roads. This time though it was taken to the country. The journeys then were strange to someone used to people from a city. This time there were all kinds of animals on board as well as people.
Some brought pigs and others chickens and sometimes cats and dogs and birds in cages. The noise was so strange all that squawking and mewing and snorting and clucking. Buster liked the new driver and conductor though and this time the conductor had a machine for giving out the tickets to the passengers. Also the view outside the windows was much nicer you could see the fields and the trees and lakes it was all very pleasant on sunny days but on days when it was rainy and cold no one could sit upstairs and so it got very crowded downstairs and the roads were not clean like before they were muddy and puddles splashed the mud all up the sides and this time the bus driver and conductor did not like to wash the bus so much and so it began to shine less and gleam less.
One day after a particularly big shower of rain the engine on the bus began to overheat and smoke and steam came out from under its hood. “That`s it then” said the driver “We can`t use this old thing anymore” and it was once again placed under a tarpaulin and left in the shed.
Sometime later the tarpaulin was taken off and Buster saw a group of people who had uniforms on. “Yeah!” said one man “I reckon we can give this old bus a good going over but those seats won`t be needed. And they took out most of the wooden seats and fixed the engine so that it could run again.
This time the bus was used as a kind of ambulance they were so busy with having to run people to the hospital that they had run out of regular ambulances and so the bus was once again put into service with doctors and nurses on board trying to help those that were injured during bad landings.
The war came to an end and yet again the bus was put under tarpaulin — “I wonder” thought Buster “what will happen next? I liked being useful” he sighed.
A NEW START
It was some time before the bus was taken out from the darkness again. It had been left in the Mapleberry bus depot for so long that the cover had begun to fall apart and the weather had begun to have an effect on it. Rust had begun to set into the metal, the wood was warped and the stairs had begun to rot away. Buster had become resigned to the idea that eventually there would be nothing left but a pile of dust on the ground when the cover was pulled away and daylight streamed in through the grubby broken windows.
There was something wonderful about seeing Cosmo get excited about restoring the bus. His arms whirled as he described what he planned to do. His face was a kind face and even as he looked at the mess Buster could see that Cosmo did not see the damage. All Cosmo could see was the potential that the bus had to be what it once was. The people in the Mapleberry depot thought Cosmo was perhaps a little too ambitious but since the bus was going to be scrapped anyway they decided to let him try on the principal that if nothing came of it they were no worse off and the scrap merchants could come and take all the “junk” as they called the bus when Cosmo had given up and lost enthusiasm for the project.
It was only after some months that they realised that Cosmo had not lost enthusiasm. Sometimes on his days off he would not work on the bus, but would spend time going around to other bus depots checking out their “junk” departments to see if there were any spare parts he could use. They usually let him take the stuff for free because they did not want it anymore. And so Cosmo began slowly to put the bus back together again.
Watching the restoration take place Buster began to feel much better about his prospects. He no longer felt quite so lonely and he began to listen to Cosmo when he muttered to himself about what part should go where. He even began to answer Cosmo when he heard questions like “I wonder what this bit does?” Buster would reply “Perhaps it fits into that other bit over there” and Cosmo would put the two bits together and they would work.
Both Cosmo and Buster were very pleased with the end result but so far no one else apart from them had seen what changes had been made. When Cosmo left at the end of the day having polished the front grill, he put the covers back so that no-one could see in and both he and Buster were hoping for the best when the Inspector and his engineer came to see what a good job had been done.
Buster really knew that Cosmo deserved to be the owner of the bus. Even though the original owners had taken great care of it, no one had truly loved the bus like Cosmo. He had put his heart and soul into making the bus the best ever. And for his part Buster had grown to love Cosmo too, but he was nervous about the inspection and before he settled down for the night he went over everything that had been done a second and third time — just to make sure.