(If you're new to my roman á cleft palateGirl On A Bus please read Parts 1 and 2 first.)
Life is full of disappointments, and our meeting for yet another mikrolet journey was certainly one of those. There were to be no fond longings, let alone long fondlings. And it wasn't me who was upset at this turn of events, even though we did speak..
Just as on our second encounter, she sat down opposite me and continued chatting with her colleague. She was carrying a bag made out of cloth, a tapestry or curtain material, with a zip along the top.
This time I was squashed against a fat ibu, all dolled up in her going out clobber. She'd made a fuss manoeuvring her podgy thighs and buttocks aside so I could squeeze in next to her. I didn't really want to, but on the other side of the two lasses was a very noticeable young, well perhaps aged 30, man. It was difficult not to be aware of him because not only was he wearing a light puce-green light jacket, but he was also smoking one of those thin all-white cigarettes which I misogynously call ladies' fags.
I telepathed that it's illegal to smoke in public in Jakarta, but, to the matron's frown, I'd already opened the side window behind me so that the fug would have blown away anyway. Unfortunately the window behind the object of my day-dreaming desire was shut.
A stocky working type guy had crushed in to my left so I was all set for a ride of stoic solitude. Then it all went horribly wrong and became one of those events which she'll never forget, the ibu will continue to prattle on about and you're now reading about.
The young fag smoker leaned behind the acquaintance of yore and made to open the window, a matter of sliding it towards him, as if to chuck his tub into the street. This resulted in all of us having to squeeze together even more and it suddenly became a matter of consternation as he appeared to drop his cigarette on the bench seat behind her back. After the general alarm he got out the vehicle. He passed his Rp.2,000 through the kerbside window and strolled back down the one way street. A few seconds later, the guy beside me, whose face I hadn't seen, also descended and also went back down the road and we drove off.
And then came the "what the eff?" moment. He's taken my phone, she cried.
It was several seconds before the driver pulled over to see what was going on behind him. By this time it was impossible to catch the guy (or was it guys?) as there was no way to catch them on foot and no way for us to turn round and drive the wrong way back up the street.
I spotted the unfinished cigarette on the floor beneath her feet where he had presumably put it before launching into his kerfuffle.
Given his somewhat delayed exit, yet seemingly connected even though neither of the guys had appeared to know each other, I figured that the stocky fellow beside me had been involved. He may have even been the thief, taking good or, I suppose, bad advantage of the situation. After all, no-one was looking at him. She sat there stunned and the matron beside began clucking loudly about how terrible things are now with street crime and isn't it a disgrace and such people should be hung, drawn and quartered and oh, dear, I'm all a-fluster.
I very politely told her to shut the ell up as she was only making things worse for the by now stunned and confused lass.
And I then, at long last, spoke my first words to her.
Was anything else taken?
No, she said, softly, my cards are still here.
What about the information, addresses and such like stored on the phone?
It's an office phone, she said, thus diminishing the importance of the loss.
The two lasses didn't get out at our usual dropping off point, so I gave a sympathetic half-smile and wended my way home.
I hope she feels better, a bit chattier, the next time we meet, and I hope ibu doesn't get on the mikrolet or our nerves ever again.