Chase that bus


A FEW years back, I introduced my readers to Nigel – a malevolent invisible being from the planet May-Hem in the faraway galaxy of Pandemonium – after items started to disappear in my apartment. They would later turn up in the most unlikely places.

A screwdriver vanished from my toolbox, and was found days later in the fridge. A TV remote control turned up at the bottom of a laundry basket. A missing 50 Euro note was recovered from the dishwasher. And so on until I thought I’d be hauled off in a straitjacket.

I called this dastardly alien Nigel because I once knew someone by that name who had a totally twisted sense of humour, and was always playing malicious pranks on people.

Well, after exposing Nigel, life returned to normality … until a fortnight ago. Nigel had simply been laying low, waiting for an opportunity to exact vengeance on me for revealing his secret existence. He did so by giving me several heart-stopping moments, the worst being the one when I discovered that I had left a bag on a Benidorm bus containing important legal papers and two passports. One was mine, the other belonged to my spouse-to-be, Marcus.

I was on my way to the Town Hall to renew our padrónes when I realised I’d left the bus without the bag. I turned around and sprinted along Mediterraneo Avenue in the hope of catching up with the No 3 bus. Sure, Superman could have done it in the blink on an eye but I quickly realised that I no longer possessed the youth nor the stamina for this kind of caper.

So, sweating, out of breath and in a blind panic, I leapt into a cab and screamed three words I never imagined would ever pass my lips: “persigue ese autobus!” (Chase that bus!). The cabbie gave me a funny look, and would not move until I’d explained my predicament. And when he finally did get the message, he took off like a missile.

When we eventually drew up alongside the bus, I realised it wasn’t the right one. The driver and the cabbie spoke to each other, and we were told that the No 3 I wanted was way up ahead, travelling toward the distant bus station.

So, again at breakneck speed, we tore along Av. de Europa, heading for the station. Then, near the top of the dual carriageway I spotted my bus. It was heading back in the opposite direction into the city centre. Burning rubber again, the cabbie, now thoroughly enjoying the chase while I was quivering with terror, resumed the pursuit.

When we finally caught up with the bus, much to my relief I saw my bag still lying on the seat on which I had left it. I snatched it and returned to the cab.

But Nigel wasn’t through with me yet. Not by a long chalk. After the taxi dropped me at the Town Hall, I ran to the padrón counter, only to be told that it had been relocated to another part of the building. It took me ten minutes to find it, and when I got there it had just closed for the day.

A message to Nigel: if you’re reading this, please accept my apologies for exposing you. Now will you please move on and play havoc with someone else’s life.

By Barry Duke

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