The hybrobus stopped right beside the river checkpoint, like Rauden said it will. The driver wore a mask.
They generally check your Pass real good when you go out of state, but this guy didn’t even look—just took my bus coupon and off we go. I guess whatever bad thing someone from where I’m from could have, they already got it in New Jersey. I recognized the smell. Hygiene spray and smoke. It even stinks inside the bus. Outside, the regular stuff—barricades, caution tape. I think I saw some person look out a window at us, but that’s it. No one is on the street. Me, the driver, a couple passengers all the way in back, it’s like we are the only ones even alive out here. At least I’m out of Queens.
Man! I am glad to be out of Queens.
We pass a bunch of houses burnt right to the ground. We got that in Queens too.
I am glad to be on a trip. I never even been to this side of the river. I been to Pennsylvania. Once. Well, I think I been in Connecticut. But the van they took me in did not have windows. Pennsylvania was in a Dome. I did not see a single Dome here. Maybe they keep them in some other part of New Jersey. Here is just burnt houses and smoke. Then the smoke is gone. The houses are just empty. Then no houses. It is just a road, in Jersey, or I don’t know where. The road is in good shape. Snow is melting, and everything is wet.
From The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell, Two Dollar Radio, twodollarradio.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.