'That'll do.' the driver said, 'You can take a seat anywhere except the one with the newspaper on it.'
David nodded, rubbed his eyes and went to sit at the back of the bus.
Mona climbed aboard at 11:58. She had the change ready in her hand. She laid each coin down on the countertop individually.
'Ta.' the driver said, 'Any seat except the one with the paper on it.'
'Right you are, love.' Mona replied. She shuffled over to the reserved seats for the elderly and took a sausage roll out of her handbag.
Jeremiah climbed aboard at 12pm. He pulled off his glasses and pressed his pass against the screen.
'Don't sit on the seat with the paper on it, mate.' the driver said, 'Anywhere else is fine.'
Jeremiah blinked and pushed the glasses up the bridge of his nose again. He looked at the driver closely for a few seconds then moved on. He sat down beside Mona. They smiled at each other and started chatting.
Rosie climbed aboard at 12:02. She handed the driver a ten pound note and waited while he counted up the change and handed it to her. She moved towards the chair with a newspaper on it.
'No!' everybody shouted.
She looked up at them blankly.
'Seat's out of bounds.' David spoke up.
Rosie laughed. 'What am I like? Being taken care of wherever I go today.'
Everybody laughed except for David. Rosie sat down on a side seat instead.
David stared at the newspaper. It was a cheap tabloid from three days ago, he recognised the picture on the front page. It's edges were damp and curling. Whatever was underneath smelt fusty.
The bus grumbled uphill towards Paterhurst. David stood up even though the bus was still in motion. As it approached the stop he brushed past the seat, knocking the newspaper off it.
'Oops?' he said. He read it off the seat. Tiny black blobs had somehow been formed into the word OOPS. He looked closer; the blobs were thousands of dead ants. They weren't all completely crushed.
The driver turned around. Mona and Jeremiah were now standing. Isabella was still sitting. They all stared at the driver.
'Oops.' he said.