(A tale from romance author Alexis Alvarez)

Everything you expect with a cross-country bus ride and more! A story of rebellion, chaos and a bit of illegal smoking… Keep reading for a sneak peek inside the real-life adventures of romance author Alexis Alvarez.


“My worst idea ever was to take the Greyhound bus from Florida back to Arizona because I was afraid to fly.  The people you’ll meet on the bus, going across the country like that, are the most varied, colorful, insane, sad people you can find.  That trip reminded me that I live in a beautiful bubble; a thin, prim sparkling orb.  You have to be careful to remember that the walls are thin and can snap at any second, and that the world around you is vicious, wild, vital, dangerous, and necessary.”

Here’s one of the people I met…

The Electric Slide:

Ray was a trucker. He had been in Miami doing something, maybe visiting kids that were now in the custody of wife number two or three, maybe working.   He was going to Cali to get a trucking job that a friend of a friend has promised to him. He hoped it would still be there, he said.  He was in his 50’s at least and weathered, but something in his demeanor sparkled, as if he has a tiny bit of Willy Wonka in him.

He and his bus buddies has obtained alcohol and were drinking it on the sly out of blue plastic cups.  The others were being somewhat discreet, but Ray started to show the effects of the booze.  His response was to get loud and bold, giggling to himself like a schoolgirl and singing snatches of songs.  We hadn’t stopped for a cigarette break in hours and he was going crazy with nicotine fits.

“I gotta smoke, I gotta!” he whispered to Cute Guy.  “I’m going to have a quick drag in the john.  No one will know.  I’m dying here!”  He pulled a pack of Marlboro’s from his pocket and began to slap the box against his hand.

“You better not, Ray,” cautioned Cute Guy.  “The Bus Driver got some little sensor in there, man, he knows when you smoke.  He’ll kick you off for sure. Don’t do it, man.”

But Ray was not to be dissuaded.  He giggled and stumbled towards the toilet, and disappeared inside.  Not a minute later, smoke drifted out.  It was really obvious – sensor or no – that someone was smoking on the bus.  Diffusion (a fine scientific law) did its magic, and soon Mr. Bus Driver was smelling it too. Angered, he pulled off abruptly to the side of the road and flicked all of the overhead lights on.  The guys hurriedly lowered their cups and hid them with their hands.

Bus Driver was mad.  “Who the hell is smoking on my bus?” he bawled, striding back to the passengers.  “There is no smoking allowed!  If I find the person who was smoking, you will be off this bus.”

Ray sidled out of the john and plopped back into his seat with a puff of fresh smoke.

The bus driver narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Ray.  “Were you smoking?”

“Me?” Ray was all drunken innocence.  “Me?  No shir, I washn’t drinking – ah, smoking, at all. No shir. No smoke.”  He smiled and then belched.

The bus driver glared at Ray.  “Well, I will have no problems calling the police if I have any more problems on this bus. You all got that, right?  I will call the police and they will meet the bus and arrest anyone violating the regulations.  I mean it now. This is the last warning. No smoking, no drinking.”

He strode back to the front, dimmed the lights, and pulled back onto the highway.

After this, everyone was ready to lay low, but Ray was just getting lit up. We thought we could sober him up at the next stop, where there was a dingy diner, but he refused all offers of coffee and kept taking sips from his personal flask of rum. A few minutes later, he began to warble The Electric slide, prompting the bus drive to turn his head and lecture all of us passengers.

“Quiet down,” he ordered with authority.  “Remember what I said.”

Ray giggled again, then stood up in the aisle.  “It’s electric!  Shoo bee doo bee! It’s electric!” he sang, off key, and lurched down the aisle, trying to do the slide.

“Hehehe!  Hehe!  Hehe!” he gasped, slipped, and lost his grip on his cup.  The liquid sloshed onto his hand. In surprise he dropped the cup entirely onto the floor and the smell of rum became  strong as thin dirty rivulets fingered their way down the aisle.

Ray giggled even more furiously at this.  “Hehe! Hehe! Hehe!” he cawed, and started to hiccup.  “It’s electric! Come and do the El-Ec-Tric Side!” he burbled, drawing out the Slide into Sliiiiiiiiiiide.   Again he tried to do the slide, but tripped and fell into a woman.

“You can just stop it,” she shrilled at him.  “I will tell the bus driver right now and get you kicked off, you better believe it. I will! Don’t you doubt me! I will tell the bus driver right now!”

But she didn’t need to.  The bus driver squealed his tires as he crossed two lanes to get to the exit that we were almost passing.  He thundered down the off ramp, drove for a mile or two, and pulled to an angry stop in front of a tiny, desolate Greyhound station that stood alone in miles of field.  It was the smallest station I’d ever seen, with a large patch of loose gravel in front of it.  He flicked on the overhead lights and got up to confront Ray.  Everyone blinked.

“Get your stuff,” ordered the bus driver, jerking a thumb at the overhead bin.  “Is that your pack?”  At Ray’s dumb nod, he grabbed the pack and shoved it hard into Ray’s chest, causing the drunken man to automatically reach and grab it.

“He can’t kick me off for laughing!” Ray said.  “Hehehe!  Shoo bee doo bee! It’s illegal!”  He staggered and tried the slide again.  “I was only laughing! Is that a crime?  It’s electric!”

But the bus driver was adamant.  He marched Ray off the bus and onto the station.  “The next bus will be by at 6:00 am to pick you up,” he told Ray.  “Maybe you can use the time to sober up.”

He got back on the bus and shut the door hard.  The overhead lights went off as we stared at Ray, standing alone on the gravel, looking confused, his pack hanging from his hand.  The sign near the station read “Sweetwater, Texas.”

The last I saw of Ray was his uncertain movements on the gravel, looking after the bus.  It seemed as if he were still trying to do the electric slide.

Check out Alexis’s newest novel:
A Handful of Fire

A Handful of Fire is a full-length stand-alone romance (about 80K words) with an HEA. It’s a contemporary love story with a high heat level and gorgeous, poetic prose.

NOVEL Author Alexis Alvarez A Handful of Fire

Available NOW on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.


Hi! I’m an author, photographer, engineer, wife and mom who loves travel and laughing with family.   I write two kinds of books:  Contemporary romance with heat, and BDSM/kink. All of my books have an HEA and feature strong female heroines who go after what they want in life.

I try to make my books full of poetic prose, and weave in themes of art, music, mythology and philosophy.  Writing is my ultimate joy.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bjS9vm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexisAlvarezAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14127116.Alexis_Alvarez
Website: http://graffitifiction.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexisAlvarezWr

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