After leaving the terminal I realized one very important fact. As a detective I stunk on ice. I'd never thought to even ask where in this city Unexplained Mysteries might be located..
No big deal though, any cabby could probably tell me.
Or would be able to, if any were around...Must've been a soccer riot or a half price sale on haggis today. Whatever the reason, the streets around me seemed completely empty of public transportation of any kind..
When you're lost any direction is the right one, I guess; so I set off in what I thought was a westerly course, not that it mattered..
I hadn't gone even a quarter mile when the sound of a large engine motoring down and the squeal and hiss of air brakes right beside me made me jump a mile and turn around..
I don't know how I missed it's approach; but right next to me was a huge, red, double-decker bus with "Moe Train Bus Lines" painted on the side. A cartoon character of an slyly smiling Ocelot was painted below bright yellow lettering..
"You look as if you could use a ride stranger." Said what must of been the worlds' oddest bus-driver..And if you know bus drivers; that's saying something..
He had great tufts of spiky black hair sticking up everywhere rather like a hedgehog, a curiously round nose and a chin that really wasn't worth mentioning, since there wasn't one..
The strangest part of him though, were his eyes. One pointed off in one direction, while the other stared off the opposite way. That would have been bad enough; but they didn't stay that way..They were continually rolling back and forth before settling again in thier reverse cross-eyed place..
"Don't stand there looking like a fish waiting for a hook" he said "Moe is a busy man..Now all aboard the Moe Train!"
It took me a full second to stop watching those eyes long enough to realize that he had spoken again..Well, if I wasn't going anywhere I might as well ride instead of walk. Uncertainly I climbed up the steps and took a seat behind the driver..
"I'm looking for the UM Forum" I told him.."You know how to get there?"
"Ahh..UM. You'll be wanting SaRuMaN, then." Replied Moe..
"Yes, take me to SaRuMaN then, driver."
"Oh, Moe can't do that. Moe doesn't know where he is..The White Wizard is cunning they say; and walks all across Scotland in disguise."
Well, this is fun, I thought to myself. Trapped in a bus with a possible lunatic in a strange country with a destination that might not exist..
Rather than set the eye-roller off into an attack of mental health I decided to humor him..
"How about this then" I ventured "You keep driving and when I see something that looks like a lead to me, you can let me off.."
The seats were comfortable and the bus was warm as we took our little tour of the city. The only drawback being that I had to listen to the driver philosophize the entire way..
"Moe was once like you, you know. Always looking for a destination but never knowing where and never being happy when he found it..Now we have mellowed. We are a kung-fu chicken. We rotate also..Now we drive the bus and take others to where they don't really want to go."
It went on like this for a short eternity...
I noticed the buildings were getting dingier and the side streets were turning into alleys as we went..Bleak...
I was staring out the window tuning out ramblings when I saw it..
From an alley ahead came a small glimmer of light. Maybe nothing..
There it was again! just as we passed the alley. I could make a vague shape behind it out, before the brief light ceased.I don't know why; but it pulled at me..
"Stop here, Driver!" I said. Standing up so suddenly it shocked him into silence..
The bus ground to a halt and Moe opened the door..
"So, what do I owe you for the trip?" I asked..
"Oh the journey is free, my friend" Said Moe "the destination is where you'll surely do all the paying." He then closed his doors and slowly cruised away..
I headed to the mouth of the alley where the light had caught my eye. It didn't come again..
Tentatively, I took a step into the darkness..
"Hold it right there" Came a voice "I've got you covered."
Then came the all to familiar sound of pistol being racked..
End of part 2