ARCOLA, OHIO—The sweet, intoxicating aroma of fuel exhaust has bewitched residents of Arcola, Ohio for years. This winter, those residents will pay homage to the source of that scent when the town hosts its ﬁrst Municipal Bus Pageant.
Scheduled to take place in mid-February, the Bus Pageant promises to be spectacular.
Arcola mayor Alfred Krauss said in a nationally televised news address. “Connoisseurs of city bus travel know that the Arcola Mass Transit system boasts the loveliest bus ﬂeet, and also lays claim to the least bus-related deaths and mental-illness-related mucous slippage.
The opening ceremony, to be held at the Municipal Garages, will feature a solemn “blessing of the buses” by Bishop Richard Freehley. Noted area lounge singer Wayne Suavee will debut a new composition written especially for the day, entitled “Drive On To Romance.”
A promedade following the ceremony will feature every Arcola bus in a continuous convoy through the city’s industrial district. Scheduled to appear as the pageant’s head judge is Dean Frinisd, the guy who sits in front of the bus and talks to himself. When asked for commentary on the pageant, Frinisd said “Bitch! You bitch! Lie to me, will you? You bitch!”
Bus Operations Chief and Pageant organizer Warren Ludlow said. “He’s been a loyal passenger for over two decades and has helped push the Arcola bus system into the ’90s. To christen the lead bus in the promenade, Frinisd will defecate in his trousers, scoop out a handful of his feces and use it to spell the word bitch on the side of the bus.
The Bus Pageant ceremony will take place in the parking lot of event co-sponsor Benderman’s Slaughterhouse. There, the panel of nine judges will be given the difﬁcult task of choosing “Arcola’s Liveliest Bus.” The winning vehicle will get a soapy water scrubdown and a coupon good for a discounted oil change at any Sir Waxer outlet.
Competition will be held in four major categories. In the Talent Competition, busses will be judged for “most skillful right turn.” In the Chassis Competition, busses will parade before judges without their exterior frames, revealing the alluring inner-workings of their recoiling parts and motors. In the essay category, drivers will be asked this year’s special theme question: “How will you make the world a better place for our children through bussing.” And the Evening Gown Competition, busses will be elegantly draped with an attractive, rust-resistant tarp.
Other features of the judging include Best Vandalism and Best Viscous Floor Covering.
After the pageant, a number of city bus stops will host a series of bus-related events. At the stop at Fourth and Main, a contest will be held to see who will stand around and wait the longest. Last year’s winner, May Rundel, waited for 73 hours before collapsing of exposure and dehydration.
The stop under the Tartan Avenue viaduct will house a “Virtual Bussing” display, which will utilize interactive computerized video to simulate actual bus routes. “The program will allow people to experience a detailed facsimile of a bus ride, complete with images of Pete’s Guns, Buzz’s Liquor, the Tool Museum, and other Arcola landmarks.” Ludlow said. “Of course, it will never beat the real thing.”
In the end, the Municipal Bus Pageant will be not about the attractiveness of a single bus, but a celebration of all things mass transit. “The people love Arcola Municipal Bus, and Arcola Municipal Bus loves the people,” Ludlow said. “Who among us hasn’t been lulled to sleep by the steady rocking of our buses as they plow their furrow across the dark night? Who can forget their childhood excitement when they yanked the bell-pull for the ﬁrst time? Or the mustachioed smile of the kindly driver, and the perky sound of his paper punch perforating a transfer? The Bus Pageant will bring these simple joys to everyone.”
Ludlow went on to stress that smoking, eating, drinking, and the playing of loud music would not be allowed at any time during the celebration.