Trimet's #9 bus made its last stop before leaving downtown. Three passengers stepped on board. They flashed their fares and seated themselves without event. The bus accelerated and began maneuvering through the hairpin twists and turns where SW Sheridan merges with SW Arthur before the Ross Island Bridge.
Suddenly the driver slammed on the brakes. Everyone was thrown into whatever was in front of them. We were at a dead stop, blocking traffic. The driver got up from her seat and approached the last passenger to board the bus
"You are sitting in human feces!" the driver screamed. Her face was an ugly, threatening scowl. "You are contaminated with human feces!"
The passenger stared back at her dumbly, as if she were speaking Latin. The entire bus shared his expression of confusion and disbelief. Each of us became intensely interested voyeurs.
"That seat has feces on it--human feces!"
We could hear, from the back of the bus, each and every syllable with absolute clarity. She wanted to make sure everyone heard her rant. She had our rapt attention. The man's confusion had given way to fear. The Trimet driver seemed to feed off this. She knelt down far enough so that her face was directly in front of his, as if she were addressing a child.
"Why would you sit in human feces?" The passenger still wouldn't respond. "Why? Why?"
The other passengers mumbled amongst themselves. Nobody knew about the fecal matter. We all began checking, nervously, in our own ways. I gave the air a sniff but noticed nothing remarkable aside from the typical stink of public transportation: humans packed together in forced intimacy, each with varying levels of hygiene. But no shit.
"It's disgusting. Why are you still sitting there? Now you're covered in feces. It's all over you! Human feces!"
The driver continued to berate the man in the handicapped seat. Her voice became increasingly shrill. The passenger got up and moved to the middle of the bus. The driver, unbelievably, followed him to his new seat.
She stood beside him and pointed with her index finger while scanning the rest of the bus, attempting to make eye contact with each of us individually while stating her case.
"I want everyone to know that this man is covered in human feces! Do you understand?"
No one replied. No one dared.
"Do not sit next to this man," she commanded.
"Then why did you let him sit there?" someone finally shouted. "Why isn't there a sign? Why is the bus running?"
The driver spun around to confront the man. "I told him not to sit there," she spat. "He wanted to sit in the feces."
My girlfriend and I decided to bail rather than ride in a bus piloted by an angry woman with a fetish for human feces and humiliation. We abandoned our seats and tried to slink out the back door. But she caught us.
"Where are you going? This isn't my fault. I told everyone not to sit there! It was his choice to sit in human feces and it is not my fault! Where are you going? You cannot get off the bus here!"
"Look lady," I finally spoke up, "I just don't feel comfortable riding on a bus that is contaminated with human feces, especially not with you driving it."
"I am just doing my job. It's not my fault. You cannot get off the bus here. It is unsafe."
We exited the bus. But so did the driver, leaving it parked haphazardly in the middle of both lanes. She ran at us, screaming, and I became concerned enough to stand between her and my girlfriend, who was yelling right back at her.
"You can't make us ride on your bus," I pointed out calmly. "So we're leaving. Get back on your bus!"
"There's human feces on that seat! I am doing my job. I'm doing what I am supposed to do! You can't get off the bus here because it's not safe."
"Well we took a chance and it feels safe so far," I replied. "We'll catch the next bus, thank you."
The driver stomped up the steps and took her seat behind the wheel. The doors shut and the bus lurched off, careening toward the bridge. I wondered which was really full of shit: the bus, or its driver?
Sketchy Justin is a Portland writer and close friend of Portland Erotisphere. He can be contacted at