Posted on December 20, 2012 - by MG
Since 3pm today on The Joshua Files facebook page (see results) and via the MG Harris mailing list (see results), readers have been voting for which deleted scene from The Joshua Files they’d like to see on the blog as part of the Five To Doomsday blog post series.
I can now announce that this winner (mainly via votes from the mailing list) is:
Deleted scene from Invisible City in which Josh meets and makes out with a Bus Stop Girl on the cross-country bus in Mexico.
I’m just in time to see the cross-state bus leaving – early. I could erupt with curses, for the anger I feel, but there’s a very pretty Mexican girl in front of me who does it so much more effectively, in Spanish too, that I simply watch her explosion.
When she’s through, I say in Spanish, “Hey, couldn’t have expressed it better myself.”
“I catch that bus every week,” she complains, “And it’s always late. Every time, for two months. What’s so special about today that he has to go early?”
“Maybe his wife promised him something special if he finished early?” I suggest.
“What, a loser like him with a wife?” she laughs. “A girlfriend maybe, but a wife?”
“So when’s the next Campeche bus?”
Not for two hours, she tells me. And even then it’s the Veracruz bus. Fewer stops and more expensive. She’s headed for a hacienda hotel on the outskirts of Campeche City. “A vacation?” I ask innocently, to which she replies with scorn, “You don’t look much like a strawberry but I guess you are one after all,” “Strawberry?” I ask. “Si, fresa,” she replies. “One of those stuck-up preppy types.” I close up my mouth with a simple “Oh.”
She walks off in something of a huff, disappearing into an ice-cream parlour. After a second’s hesitation, I follow her. “Did I say something wrong?”
“Are you thick or something?” she says. “Do I look like a tourist? What do you think a girl like me will be doing in a place like Hacienda Los Reyes?”
The girl, who looks to be around my age, is dressed in a sleeveless white cotton dress with just a thin pink shawl. She’s slim but sturdy-looking, with toned arms and shoulders. Her clothes and shoes look very simple now that I look more closely, the kind of thing you find in any supermarket. She wears them so stylishly, with such a coquettish air that I’d taken her for a something other than what she evidently is: a hotel chambermaid.
“Okay, so I made a mistake,” I say. “So what? It’s not the end of the world is it?”
“Oh, what do people like you know about the end of the world? I bet you’ve never worked a day in your life.”
“More’s the pity,” I say, smiling. “Think people like me enjoy having to study Latin and maths? I’d rather be cleaning house with a girl like you.”
“Don’t go trying to seduce me with your preppy charms,” she says. “Just shut up and buy me an ice-lolly. Then maybe I’ll forgive you.”
Her tone may be cross but by now she’s grinning, showing perfectly even, white teeth. I open the door of the shop’s chest freezer, brush aside the clouds of icy mist above the stacked slabs of frozen juice and ice-cream. They’re arranged by colour, starting from the milky whites of coconut cream, rice milk, lemonade, through the entire rainbow ending with the red spectrum: strawberry in both water-ice and milk, and the geranium red of redcurrant. I buy us each a stick of frozen redcurrant juice (her choice) and we return to watch the buses. The flavour is unexpectedly strong; sharp, tart, sweet and quite unusual.
“Mmm,” I say, doing a Homer Simpson impression. “Curranty…”
She replies with a laugh that actually makes my stomach do a little flip.
To read the rest, download the entire deleted Bus-Stop Girl section
- Ollie was originally named Vanessa
- In the original draft, Josh was 15 years old at the start of his adventures.