Afternoon was Mrs. Conroy's favorite time of day. After a hard day at work, her eyes were tired and her feet hurt. She enjoyed the nice long nap she took on the bus. Mrs. Conroy had made friends with the bus driver, Mr. Angstrom. He always woke her up before her stop. She usually felt fresh as a daisy when she got off the bus.
But today was different. Mr. Angstrom wasn't driving. A small man in a wrinkled uniform sat in the driver's seat.
"Where's Mr. Angstrom?" asked Mrs. Conroy, dropping her money into the box.
"I don't know. Sick, I guess. I just work here, lady. Step to the rear."
Mrs. Conroy hoped that Mr. Angstrom was all right. She didn't like this new driver. She decided not to sleep on the way home today. She didn't want to ask this driver to wake her. He didn't look like the type who'd want to do anyone a favor.
Mrs. Conroy looked out the window. It was a warm afternoon. Though she tried to keep her eyes open, the gentle rocking of the bus had a lulling effect. Within a few minutes her eyes closed. Her head dropped to her shoulders. In spite of herself, Mrs. Conroy fell fast asleep.
The next thing Mrs. Conroy knew, a hand was on her shoulder. Someone was shaking her awake.
"Wake up, lady. We've come to the end of the line. Wake up."
Mrs. Conroy blinked and opened her eyes. The bus driver looked down at her. "I said, this is the end of the line, lady. Time to get off the bus."
Mrs. Conroy peered out the window. "Where am I?" she asked. "I was supposed to get off at Essex Avenue."
"You're at the last stop, lady. Come on, get off the bus. I have a schedule to keep to."
Mrs. Conroy was having trouble waking up. She staggered to her feet. The bus driver took her arm and helped her down the aisle. As she stepped off the bus, she felt a sense of panic. "Wait a minute," she said in a shrill voice. "This isn't Essex Avenue. Where am I? How can I get home?"
"Cool off, lady. I told you, you're at the end of the line. We all make it here sooner or later."