James swung himself down next to a wispy-haired old man and closed his eyes. He would have preferred to sit alone, but this was the last free seat on the bus.
“Good evening young man,” the old man said.
James pretended not to notice.
“Allow me to introduce myself: I am Mr Stanthorpe, inventor of the world’s only high-speed newspaper perforator.”
James looked up and nodded at the old man.
“James,” he said.
James was about to close his eyes again when Mr Stanthorpe picked up a newspaper and began waving it in the air.
“My invention allows its user to remove the main fold of any newspaper,” said Mr Stanthorpe. “Individual pages are far easier to manage, don’t you agree?”
“Hmmm,” James replied.
“Thanks to my invention, people can read their newspaper on the bus without disturbing the person next to them,” said Mr Stanthorpe.
“I read the newspaper on the Internet,” replied James sardonically.
“Oh,” said Mr Stanthorpe.
Right at that moment there was a tremendous bang. A truck had smashed into the back of the bus. The passengers were thrown forward but luckily no one was badly hurt.
The bus began to fill with smoke. The driver tried to open the buses doors, but it was no use, nothing was working.
People began to panic.
“We’re trapped!” someone screamed.
Mr Stanthorpe reached into his bag and pulled out a black box that looked like an overgrown hole-punch. He pulled the base off the box and held it up to the window.
“Cover your eyes,” he warned James.
James heard the window smash and felt a rush of cool air.
“How did you do that?” he asked Mr Stanthorpe as they climbed out the window.
“I used my high-speed newspaper perforator,” said Mr Stanthorpe proudly. “It also breaks glass.”
The bus crash was headline news the following day. James decided to buy the morning paper as a memento.
“Would you like me to perforate the fold for you, sir?” the vendor offered.
“Yes thanks,” said James.