Let us pause for a moment in praise of the person who shot this 10-second clip of a runaway New York City bus flying in reverse down a darkened Brooklyn street last night. It is a masterfully (albeit serendipitously) shot short film.
According to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the incident occurred at approximately 12:45AM on Wednesday in Brooklyn. The driver of the Q58 bus parked on Myrtle Street, but apparently failed to secure the parking brake. Suddenly free to live its best life, the bus rolled in reverse for several blocks down Palmetto Street, damaging several cars along the way before smashing into a church. One man was injured trying to leap out of the bus’s path, according to NBC.
“The incident and circumstances are currently under investigation,” the MTA said.
But who needs additional details when the above clip offers 10 perfect seconds of pure story? There’s no needless preamble: the action starts in medias res. A bus is careening down the street. It is night.
Twist: It is traveling in reverse.
Twist: The bus is empty.
Twist: There is no driver.
As it barely avoids car after car, the stakes are instantly clear. Suddenly, an exuberant voice cuts through the night.
“Yo! The bus is reversing!”
As far as good dialogue goes, this is a bit heavy on the exposition. Most critics would say “show, don’t tell,” but the line rings true to me. Yes, the bus is reversing. She is absolutely right. I doubt even our most celebrated poets could have captured the scene with more eloquence or brevity.
But whip-smart dialogue needs a mood-setting soundtrack, and that’s where our man Drake comes in. As the bus careens down the street, “Energy” can be heard booming from some unseen diegetic source. And suddenly the bus becomes an embodiment of Drizzy’s lament: “Got a lot of people tryna drain me of my energy.” The bus is lashing out at an unfair world. It has politicians trying to drain it of its funding and startups trying to drain it of its relevance. It has no mouth, but it wants to speak. And so it screams with action.
But the bus is constrained by its own limitations. It may be driverless, but it is certainly not self-driving. That fact becomes clear at the clip’s conclusion. As the bus fades into the gloom, a metallic crunch is heard, followed by a chorus of voices all exclaiming the same thing: “Oh shit!” The hero’s journey is at an end.