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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Can You Identify Him, Ma’am? or Actually, That’s Not Funny

It starts like any other work day, like any other day requiring a walk to the bus stop, like any morning that I find myself on the bus, ferreting about in my purse for a nail file or an aspirin.

We are just over the bridge, just entering Minneapolis proper when I notice the furtive movements of the man two rows ahead and across the aisle from me.

To recall it is to relive it. My heart beats faster, my limbs acquire a heavy, weak quality.

I frown.

What is he doing? It kind of looks –

I don’t finish the thought, shake my head almost imperceptibly. No. That doesn’t make sense. It’s not even 6:30 in the morning, is it? The bus is rather crowded, the same people, going in the same direction…

But it’s not always the same people, is it? I don’t recognize this man, not that that means anything; but he doesn’t look like the 6:30 bus type, does he, with his baggy pants, his hoodie…

At the next stop, the sole occupier of the seat in front of me departs, and I get up, change seats.

I can see him now. He has exposed himself, is frantically working his right hand.

I feel the blood drain from my face.

“Hey.” I say it quietly, perhaps to myself.

Hey, I think.

I stand. If ever I’ve wondered how I would react in such a situation, the moment has come, my reaction involuntary and without thought.

“Hey!” I yell.

I can see every movement, even now, as if I’ve seen it a hundred times in a movie.

“You can’t do that on the bus,” I shout.

“What’s going on?” It’s the bus driver, his face in the rearview mirror.

I raise my right arm, point across the aisle. “This – this –“ I choke, momentarily. “This man is masturbating on the bus. Tell him he can’t do that here.”

The person across the aisle appears to come out of his reverie, stands up, pulling at his pants as he does so. “I don’t need this,” he mumbles. He moves toward the back of the bus.

You don’t need this? Think of how I feel!” My voice shaking, the words tumble out of me unbidden.

Around the bus, people pull their earbuds from their ears, look at me, the young man I’ve pointed out.

No one says anything.

The bus stops. Several people disembark, including Mr. Self-Pleasure.

I look at the back door, the bus driver. “He’s getting away. He’s leaving. He’s –“ and I stop. It occurs to me that there’s nothing anyone’s going to do.

I sit down, watch out the window as the man glares at me and disappears in the crowd heading toward the light rail.

The bus drives on.

There’s a buzzing in my ears.

Three stops later, we’ve arrived at my stop.

The line out the back door is heavy, and I walk to the front of the bus. “You need to say something earlier, next time you see something like that,” the bus driver says to me.

By the time I exit the elevators and arrive at my desk, I am seeing spots in front of my eyes.

“Good morning,” says my boss.

44 comments:

Sioux said...

I guess he's NOT the master of his domain...He isn't even a master masturbator, if he can't do it without getting caught.

It makes me wonder how observant we are, if you are the only one who noticed it.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

There are some sickies out there for sure.

SherilinR said...

oh my gosh, yuck! i saw a dude masturbating in a movie theatre once. i, however, didn't react as well as you did. now you've made me want to write the story. i wonder if certain family member readers could handle it...

Eva Gallant said...

OMG! What a fricken' way to start your day!! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

R. Jacob said...

I am still wondering about the nail file and aspirin...

Gene Pool Diva said...

Pearl, next time adopt a bored expression and say. "Oh you poor dear, you don't have much to work with, do you?"

Love your style! Now go get a venti caramel macchiato.

Kara said...

Oh...my...God!

Audubon Ron said...

WT Actual F? That is just incredible. You get on a bus and guys start going all public proximity violators? Vibulous! You got the power, Pearl!

Teresa Evangeline said...

Which begs the (existential?) question: if you're the only one jerking off in a crowd does it still count as a circle jerk?

Monkeys masturbate openly. It doesn't sound like we've come very far....

On a note of commiseration: While I was folding clothes in front of a big window at a laundromat, back in the day, a man pulled his car up, right in front of the window, and did his thing. That's right, did his thing.

I'll go now.

Gigi said...

OMG! The crazy people are everywhere.

CarrieBoo said...

Maybe you should start going out with a small water-gun or a pea-shooter for anonymous attacks. Ewwwwwwwww!

Daisy said...

I don't know how I would react. I imagine it's something of a shock. Hope it didn't totally ruin your whole day Pearl.

lisleman said...

Recalling some of your other stories of bravery, I think this guy was lucky you didn't throw him off the bus or smack him with your bag.
You are one brave lady.

Leenie said...

Wow, Pearl you've got chutzpa, grit and moxie. The world needs much more of that. At least Mr. M. may think twice next time.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Earlier? Earlier than what???

Geez Louise.

What is the proper procedure? What does one do?

Take a picture with one's phone, perhaps?

Yup. I think that's what I'd do.

Simply Suthern said...

uh uh uh, I got nothing.

Way to speak up.

Susan in the Boonies said...

I bet your blood pressure went sky high. Hence the spots.

I'm back to give you a hug, because you need one.

Jerk.

Ms Sparrow said...

Hooray for you! You outed the scumbag pervert.
I only wish you'd had a bucket of cold water to dump on the creep!

Vapid Vixen said...

Oh for the love!!! Please please tell me this didn't really happen. Please? Ugh. I suppose everyone has their thing that turns them on. Never considered it could be public transportation for some.

jenny_o said...

Not sure what I would have done - maybe gone to the front of the bus to tell the bus driver so he could catch him in the act? - but I'm sure it wouldn't have been as feisty as you. What an idiot he was. Mr. Bus Driver didn't sound terribly concerned ...?

Don't let it get you down, eh? You were the only one who said anything, and possibly the only one who was observant enough to notice, but he chose to do it not just in front of you but the whole bus full of people. It wasn't personal, which is what these things tend to feel like sometimes. He just didn't care who saw.

Sounds like you were on the verge of blacking out, with that buzzing in your ears and seeing spots. Hope you are doing better today.

Sausage Fingers said...

multitasking at its finest...

Shelly said...

Oh my goodness!!! Good for you for saying something- that bus driver had the responsibility of doing something about it. What is with people these days??!!!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Ewww! What a way to start your day! I commuted to work on a bus the last five years of my working life and saw and heard some pretty strange things but nothing like this. You must have felt you had a day's worth of stress by the time you arrived at work.

Belle said...

Good for you, Pearl! You did the right thing. You got him off that bus and out of your face. I'm sorry this happened to you. It can be very upsetting. I'm not surprised the driver didn't do anything. Most people don't want to be bothered. I'm glad you bothered.

WrathofDawn said...

“You need to say something earlier, next time you see something like that,”

WTF??? You're supposed to anticipate these things? You did speak up as soon as you were sure you were seeing what you thought you were seeing.

I love how people try to assign blame to the truly innocent. 'Cause it wasn't Master Bator's fault for jacking off in public and it wasn't the bus driver's fault for not monitoring his passengers more closely. No, of course not! It was clearly your fault, Pearl. How dare you be an unwilling witness!

We live in a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

WrathofDawn said...

Next time you plan to observe public self-abuse on the bus, I suggest you inform the bus driver when you board so as not to cause him an subsequent distress.

OY VEY!!!

Mamma has spoken said...

Oh wow there are so many things I could say right now. I've had students masterbate in front of me but they are special needs and don't know any better.
Maybe he rode the short bus to school at one time.....

The Elephant's Child said...

Eeeew. I get them on the phone, but at least I don't have to look at them. You did good. Though my thoughts keep circling to the nail file.

The Accidental Somebody said...

Good god what's up with people?? I sure woulda made a big fuss to embarrass the shit out of him, but he should be arrested, so maybe someone will catch him quicker next time. Good for you for speaking up, I wonder how many others saw him and looked away...

savannah said...

i am still shaking my head in absolute amazement, sugar! *sigh* xoxoxo

Linda O'Connell said...

You should have pulled out your nail file and shouted, "Hey! Weenie whacker, put it away!"

SherilinR said...

thanks for the inspiration today! you gave me the courage to write my own public jerking story. ew.

Amanda Huggenkiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tempo said...

Thats something you just dont see eh? ..or at least I dont! Poor you being subjected to that! It makes me wonder what he was thinking..how could he think that his ..er.. actions were appropriate.

nursemyra said...

I like what Gene Pool Diva said

Macy said...

Well done Pearl. I've been flashed at, and it is not funny, and it is really really upsetting, and I know it takes a lot to stand up for yourself like that.
Again, well done.

Bushman said...

I think you were in a "Jack Ass" clip. Did you look for cameras? I would chalk it up to that even if it's not true. makes it easier to swallow uh.. I mean handle....uh I mean shit never mind!

"GB" said...

How is it you lead such in interesting life?

Pearl said...

Thank you all for the supportive/humorous/thoughtful comments.

I have to admit that while I told no one at work, by lunch time I was very quiet, having retreated a bit into my own head. The next day I had my hair cut and colored and changed glasses. I did not want him to be able to identify me.

I also wrote a letter to the Metropolitan Transit Commission and the police. The MTC reviewed the bus footage (and long time readers may recall that I tend to sit under/near the cameras). They reviewed the tape.

The police contacted me and a rather handsome officer came to my work with six mugshots. To my frustration, I could not get it down to fewer than two -- I could not say, with certainty, which one it was.

Jhon Baker said...

There are good ways to start a morning and bad ways - this is an entirely different way - I can proudly say I am happy it wasn't me.

jenny_o said...

Re the mugshots, I daresay your eyes and brain had shut down for self-protection after realizing what was happening! It is sad, isn't it, that HE did the crime, and YOU have to worry about being identified. Crappy. Anyway, good for you for everything you did. You tried your best. That's all you can do.

Buttons said...

Oh my gosh so gross.
Unfortunately your wonderful writing abilities made me feel like I was sitting right beside you. Thanks for that. B :)

The Zadge said...

I prosecuted a guy in D.C. for doing that on a bus!! And he ejaculated on the female bus driver's leg! Ewwww.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Unfortunately, I can imagine this happening, and am surprised it doesn't happen more often. People just have no self control and the sexual imagery is everywhere.....I represent kids in court, and I often cringe at shaking their hands. Who knows what they have been doing with those hands? We have had kids on the school bus, not the short bus, by the way, charged with all manner of icky stuff....(I just typed stiff, and had to correct it to stuff-Freudian slip?)
Sorry you had to deal with this guy. Are you reconsidering the bus?