Megabus Mayhem by Ross C.

Wal-Mart parking lot

            Don’t get off the bus in New York, I remembered my dad telling me as I sat next to my best friend Luke as the Megabus sped away from the Walmart bus stop in State College, PA. I had no idea what I was going to do. Should I go up to the bus driver? Maybe I should just go back to sleep and then I’ll just deal with the situation when I wake up. I had some money, but I was not sure if it would be enough to get through a night in the Big Apple. As I was having my mini panic attack inside, Luke was panicking too and yelled, “Just freaking do something!” as he pushed me out into the bus aisle. Immediately I got up and started to make my way toward the front of the bus.

It was a few days before Halloween Weekend 2012 and I was going to visit my brother at Penn State for the first time to see the Penn State-Ohio State football game as well as enjoy all that PSU had to offer. I asked my brother if I could bring a friend; more specifically, Luke because he was my best friend and we were both considering Penn State as a future school for next year. My brother said sure and Luke and I decided we were going to go up Saturday morning and come home Sunday afternoon. We got our Megabus tickets on Thursday for 8:00 am Saturday, and my mom was going to drive both of us to the Megabus stop in the morning. The bus goes from Pittsburgh to New York and passes through the Penn State area, then loops around and passes back through Sunday afternoon.

It was Friday night and I was packing at home when both of my parents gave me the “Be Careful” talk. My mom starts off the conversation by saying, “Now Ross, we know you don’t want to hear this, but just be careful when you are up there. Your brother can be a real idiot and I would not put it past him if he just left you and Luke to fend for yourselves in State College because he couldn’t remember what stop to pick you guys up from, or what time to get up and get you guys”. I replied, “Okay mom, I’ll be careful,” when really I thought, Seriously?! I’m almost eighteen I would think I could handle myself by this point. My dad then chimes in: “Now I know you don’t have hardly any common sense and when you and Luke are together I try not to even think about what you fools are doing, but can you please promise me that whatever you do, do not end up in New York”. This time I actually said, “C’mon dad, you are talking to a kid who has like a 3.8 GPA, I think I can accomplish the task of getting off at the right bus stop”. “I’m just telling you” he responded. I was actually stunned that my parents thought that I was incapable of completing daily tasks. It turns out that they would be right about what they thought, but that’s beside the point. I finished packing and I went to bed eager to get up in the morning and head to Penn State.

At about 7:30 am, my mom and I picked up Luke and we were then dropped off at the bus stop about ten minutes before the bus arrived. I had with me my backpack which had a couple school books in it for the illusion to my mother that I was going to do homework, my phone charger, a change of clothes, and a shave kit. Luke had his backpack with similar items in it, and he also brought a sleeping bag because he did not know where he would be sleeping at my brother’s apartment. He had to put that in the cargo hold of the bus before we got on because it was too big to bring with him to his seat. My mom waved goodbye to both of us and yelled before we got on the bus, “Have fun! But be Safe!” We both laughed and yelled back, “Okay!” and we were on our way to The Pennsylvania State University all on our own. As soon as the bus ride got underway, we did what any sensible teenager would do that early in the morning: we slept. We basically slept the whole way until we arrived at the Walmart that is in State College. We got off and Pete, our African-American bus driver who I could tell was not particularly happy with his life choices that led him to be a Megabus driver, told us we were going to take a fifteen minute break, but he did not specifically say that this was the stop for Penn State. We left our stuff on the bus, got off, and stood around until Pete was ready for everyone to get back on. We got back on the bus and sat down. Now we knew we were close to where we had to be because it was 11:00 am and we knew it took about three hours one-way, but we did not think that a Walmart was the bus stop for State College. We thought we would be dropped off right in the middle of campus. The bus started up again and off we went again. About ten or fifteen minutes later, Pete gets on the loudspeaker. He says, “Alright everyone, next stop New York!” At that same moment, Luke and I look at each other and have the same expression: “Oh Shit”. I could not help but think about what my dad said the night before, “Do not get off the bus in New York”.

When Luke pushed me into the aisle, I had to make my way down from the upper portion of the bus to the lower front of the bus where Pete was. I think that he was a little bit surprised that someone had gone up to the front to say something to him because that was obviously not the norm. Stumbling over my words I managed to say, “Uh yeah, we need to get off the bus”.  He just looked at me and said, “Well if you have anything in the cargo hold, I can’t get it for you”. Without even thinking I shouted, “Okay that’s fine!” I motioned for Luke to come up to the front of the bus and Pete let us off about a mile and a half away from the Walmart stop. When Pete let us off, everyone on the bus was just laughing hysterically at our expense so that was nice. I called my brother to tell him what happened and of course, I woke him up so he could not have even picked us up because he was not even there. He laughed about the situation, and told me he would be there in a few minutes. While Luke and I were walking back to the Walmart, Luke said, “Hey wait, I forgot my sleeping bag!” I answered, “Yeah, um the bus driver said that he could not get anything from the cargo hold so it’s basically gone”. “That was my favorite sleeping bag, dude,” he said. I said that I would buy him another if he cared so much for it, which I could not believe. We made it back to the bus stop, where my brother greeted us with laughter, but we made it to State College. I really wished I had known that the bus stop was actually at a Walmart rather than right in front of Old Main like I had imagined.

We chilled at my brother’s apartment for a short time after which we went to the football game. It was my first Penn State football game, and it was awesome. PSU ended up losing, but it was still sweet. Then we chilled at the apartment and got the “real” tour of Penn State from my brother and his roommate. My brother also had his buddies from high school up for the weekend, so it was an all-star lineup of about eight people in a 350 square foot apartment. To sum up the Saturday after the bus ride, I couldn’t really say because I do not remember much past 8:00 pm.

Then came Sunday morning. I somehow managed to get up at 10:00 am because the bus was scheduled to arrive to pick us up at 11:15 am. We had to get on a bus in State College that would take us over to the Walmart where the Megabus was. Even with the grogginess, we were actually good on time on getting to the bus stop, but naturally, the bus did not show up until 11. I’m thinking to myself on the bus ride over to Walmart, It would only make this trip perfect if we had to sprint to the stop just to get on the bus. And my second thought was, “Please do not let it be Pete driving”. Well, we got off the stop and across the parking lot sits the bus with Pete just closing the doors getting ready to go. Luke and I leapt off the first bus into an all-out sprint to catch Pete and the Megabus. I heard over my shoulder from my brother, “See ya!” but we kept running. We flagged down the bus and got on with Pete chuckling a little to himself. Yeah, it’s real freakin’ funny buddy, I thought as we climbed onto the bus. Again, Luke and I both slept the whole way on the bus ride back to Pittsburgh. This time though, we actually recognized the bus stop in Pittsburgh and we able to get off at the appropriate time. My mom picked us back up and she asked how the weekend was and I just said to wait until I get at least three more hours of sleep. Later, I told her and my dad the whole debacle, and of course they laughed and gloated about how they were right. I could not say anything because they were right; I am not as smart as I thought I was. Luke and I almost managed to go to New York City. Unreal. I do not have the slightest idea about what we would have done if we ended up in New York. I wish I had actually listened to my parents about how to be careful and conscientious of my surroundings rather than waiting until the bus is already moving to New York before I ask to get off.

 

Karma Kids (by Brendan)

It was a beautiful Saturday night in State College. The Penn State students crowd the downtown streets looking to unwind from a stressful week of classes and the air is filled with the sweet smell of greasy, artery clogging food. You would think that I would find myself enjoying this perfect night like so many others. However, you can find me in an Are U Hungry bathroom stuffing a bottle of Smirnoff strawberry vodka into the trashcan trying to dispose of the evidence of a night that never happened, as my friend Sean is trembling and dry heaving over the toilet. The look of distress is pouring over our faces. And the question racing through our minds is, what did we just drink?

skull

            Shirt, check, pants, check, deodorant, double check. I’m all ready to go out to a flip cup tournament being held at an off campus house. I show up to the house with my two friends Ryan and Sean. We all head down to the crowded basement where the festivities are being held. I see a row of tables with a trophy and bracket set up in the corner. I’m feeling confident in my abilities and self given title, “One Flip Fitz.” However, to my surprise I was eliminated first round because my partner couldn’t grasp the baffling concept of when to take your turn. Nevertheless, I decided to drink away the pain of defeat and cheer on my friends. As time went by they where eventually eliminated and the tournament turned into a regular party. Our friend Ryan made friends quickly with his girl partner and left very abruptly leaving me and Sean to fend without him.

As the party went on the keg ran out of beer and Sean and I became very saddened because we didn’t want the night to end. Instead of giving up and leaving we decided to go on an adventure for more alcohol. We were like two fat kids at an all you can eat buffet, we needed more. We went to the kitchen and found some beer in the fridge. That seemed to satisfy us for only a little while. We then went downstairs to the dance floor and it was like a spotlight had shown in the corner of the room. My eyes glazed over at the sight of a shelf complete with full bottles of alcohol. I nudged Sean and he said, “I’m way ahead of you.” At this moment we weren’t thinking of what was right we were only thinking about enjoying this night. We danced our way over to the corner and Sean was my cover. I made sure no one was looking as I reached behind me and grabbed the first bottle I could and slid it down the back of my pants. The only problem now was the bulge coming out from my back making me look like the frat version of Quasimodo. So Sean got up behind me as we slowly walked for the door. Seeing Sean riding my ass prompted the girls at the door to ask if everything was alright, to which Sean responded, “he’s so drunk.” Then to make it convincing I blurted out, “ow ow, someone’s getting lucky tonight.” We had succeeded in our selfish crime. I transferred the bottle to Sean who put it down the front of his pants pressing against his special area causing him certain discomfort.

Furthermore, we developed a plan to go to Are U Hungry, get some sandwiches and sierra mist, and then mix our drinks in the bathroom. Then we giggled and pranced all the way to the White Loop bus stop. As we rode on the bus I could see Sean was really struggling holding the bottle secure. He kept squirming and cringing in distress. Then unexpectedly we saw Sean’s friend Nicky get on the bus and after we said hello she asked what Sean had under his sweatshirt. With a smiling grin Sean began to tell her of our successful larceny. She immediately asked, “haven’t you ever heard of karma?” She told us that stealing can come back to bite us in the ass but we both shrugged our shoulders and told her she was crazy. However, later we would find out that we would be eating our words or should I say drinking them.

As we arrived at Are U Hungry we were men on a mission. We put our food on the table and went into the bathroom with our drinks. Then we took out the bottle of Smirnoff strawberry vodka, poured it into our cups of sierra mist and sat back down at the table. The vodka was red in color and in our drunken state we thought it was a type of limited edition strawberry vodka. As we ate we realized the drinks tasted pretty diluted, so Sean went back into the bathroom to add more. Not even 10 seconds had passed till I heard Sean yell from the bathroom, “Fitz, get in here!” I turned to look at his face and it was as if he had just shit his pants. I walked into the bathroom and Sean points to the bottle and says, “What is this?” I look inside and what I saw made my jaw hit the floor. There was a cylindrical pink stained cotton based item floating inside, which seemed to be making the liquid red in color. Thoughts just began racing in my head. I thought what vile disgusting woman would ever even think of doing something so heinous. I grabbed the bottle from Sean and began yelling, “No! No! This is not happening.” I stuffed the bottle in the trash and told Sean we will never speak of this again. Cue Sean’s dry heaving and me washing my mouth out in the sink. We left there in anguish and disgust and with a dirty little secret. For the next two weeks thoughts of AIDS flourished in our heads, mostly as a joke but still uncertainty remained. Sean researched that symptoms were headaches and fatigue. This worried us because that whole week I felt excessively tired and Sean had constant headaches. However, we knew there was no chance in hell of that occurring. It wasn’t until much later that we realized what we stole was highlighter water. In which you take the stick inside a highlighter pen, submerge it in water, and turn on a black light behind it. This will make the water glow.

Moreover, just because we walked away unscathed didn’t mean we walked away from this with nothing. We knew Nicky was right from the start and we should have listened to her warning. I now believe in a thing called karma and that every action has consequences associated some good and some bad. Furthermore, I now have a greater understanding on how stealing can come back to haunt you in the end. There is nothing right about taking what others have worked hard for to satisfy your own selfish gain. Every action has a reaction so we have to use good judgment to determine if something is truly just. In other words, we have to be ready for the consequences of all our decisions. I think Sean and I are pretty certain that we’re retired from the burglar game. In addition, I believe were both more perceptive to anything foreign or unfamiliar to us.