I always told him no one would ride in a black bus. Wouldn’t listen. Threw away his money to redo the fleet. Told him the bus came off like a hearse or some prison transport. Julius blamed the sun. Said he’d tinted the windows amber because people wanted to sleep between transfer points, cities where the railroad line dropped people off and where he picked them up. Places that were off the beaten track, someone running away from a deadbeat husband or on the way to rehab. None of that changed how the bus almost looked like a shiny beetle without wings. It was a free service. Julius was being paid by the county. Making peanuts. He kept telling me COB. I thought he had a disease, but he said, no, you idiot. It’s the cost of doing business. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’m telling you the truth, I said, but he never listened, not until some guy bought a fleet of school buses from Green Valley District. The guy painted them bright orange and started to compete with my brother. That’s when Julius got another idea. He was going to design T-shirts so they looked like sweat was dripping beneath the armpits. I told him that was the stupidest idea I’d ever heard of. He said, no, you’ll see. People don’t want to work hard; they only want it to look like they do. Long story short. Julius sold the buses and made a fortune. Everyone thought the shirts were funny. The money lasted for a while. I always told him I had his back.
Lenore Weiss is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University, where she is also a teaching assistant of flash fiction. Winner of the Clark-Gross Award and the Robert Browning Dramatic Monologue Contest, her poetry has been published in many journals, including The Woven Tale Press, The Midwood Press, Maple Leaf Review, Kindred, San Francisco Peace and Hope, Cactus Heart, Ghost Town, Poetica, Carbon Culture Review, Blink-Ink, Portland Review, The Mas Tequila Review, Digital Americana, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Nimrod International Journal, Copper Nickel, CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, and Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal. Her books include Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island (West End Press, 2012), Two Places (Kelsay Books, 2014) and The Golem (Hadassa Word Press, 2017). Her blog resides at http://www.lenoreweiss.com.