The fourth assault came within minutes of finding my seat on the bus. I was in the second row from the back – a window seat, of course. I sat down, clutching my bag, and immediately started to doze off as the other passengers got on board.
Until the passengers sitting behind me got on board.
Do you remember that group of backpacking young women, dear reader, from the previous assault? I told you we’d get back to them, didn’t I?
There were four or five of them, though based on volume alone I might have guessed nine or ten. Not that they actually spoke very much, of course. They had other means of communicating: a highly evolved and complex language composed primarily of giggles, squeals, the crunches and clicks of a cheap half-empty bottle of water being squeezed by drunken hands, and the word “party”. The language also seemed to involve a lot of body language, including hitting and kicking the back of my seat as well as making wild gestures that reached all the way up into my row, such as stretching forward to rest a bare foot on the empty seat next to me.
As the other passengers boarded for this 3.30 am bus, the following exchange took place behind me:
squeak, squeal, shriek, “Party PARTY!”
crunch crunch crunch CRACKLE
single laugh, long giggle
rapid series of muttered words too slurred to be recognizable
1 minute silence
SHRIEK giggle giggle laugh
“Party, party, paaaar-TY!”
giggle CRACKLE CRUNCH laugh giggle
They carried on in this fashion as the bus pulled out of the station. I hoped they would quiet down and go to sleep, but they did not. Several minutes later, as the bus stopped at a red light, I stood up, scanned the seats with blurry eyes, located an empty row, and pushed my way forward. I collapsed into my new, unassigned seat, and immediately fell asleep, interrupted only occasionally by especially loud squeals from the back row.