Becker dragged himself off the floor of the bus and collapsed in an empty seat.
“Nice move, dipshit.” The kid with the three spikes sneered. Becker squinted in the stark lighting. It was the kid he’d chased onto the bus. He glumly surveyed the sea of red, white, and blue coiffures.
“What’s with the hair?” Becker moaned, motioning to the others. “It’s all . . .”
“Red, white, and blue?” the kid offered.
Becker nodded, trying not to stare at the infected perforation in the kid’s upper lip.
“Judas Taboo,” the kid said matter‑of‑factly.
Becker looked bewildered.
The punk spit in the aisle, obviously disgusted with Becker’s ignorance. “Judas Taboo? Greatest punk since Sid Vicious? Blew his head off here a year ago today. It’s his anniversary.”
Becker nodded vaguely, obviously missing the connection.
“Taboo did his hair this way the day he signed off.” The kid spit again. “Every fan worth his weight in piss has got red, white, and blue hair today.”
For a long moment, Becker said nothing. Slowly, as if he had been shot with a tranquilizer, he turned and faced front. Becker surveyed the group on the bus. Every last one was a punk. Most were staring at him.
Every fan has red, white, and blue hair today.
Becker reached up and pulled the driver‑alert cord on the wall. It was time to get off. He pulled again. Nothing happened. He pulled a third time, more frantically. Nothing.
“They disconnect 'em on bus 27.” The kid spat again. “So we don’t fuck with 'em.”
Becker turned. “You mean, I can’t get off?”
The kid laughed. “Not till the end of the line.”
Five minutes later, the bus was barreling along an unlit Spanish country road. Becker turned to the kid behind him. “Is this thing ever going to stop?”
The kid nodded. “Few more miles.”
“Where are we going?”
He broke into a sudden wide grin. “You mean you don’t know?”
The kid started laughing hysterically. “Oh, shit. You’re gonna love it.”