Maggie walked towards Egret. It was afternoon, and it was getting a little hot to walk. She let her mind focus on her goal of saving Flyer #173. She had promised him that she would find a way to keep the government from retiring him. He wasn’t ready to go to the bus garage and rust away. Besides, he wasn’t the only bus that was going to be put into the garage. There were plenty of them
Maggie was walking when she noticed that there was a newspaper stand on the corner of Egret and Falcon.
“City Investing in Electric Trains,” read the headline on the front page of the newspaper. Maggie read a little of the story and saw that it was about the city’s effort to cut down on emissions. She remembered from her Science class that emissions were invisible chemicals that came out of cars, buses and trains. They were harmful for the environment. Electric trains were supposed to help. She had an idea.
She walked down Egret towards the city school bus garage. There was Flyer #173 and a host of his friends. She heard them talking.
“I am not ready to go either,” said Flyer #290 in her high-pitched voice. “They think that just because we are a certain age that we are ready for the heap.”
“Yeah, it’s not fair. I wonder what it’s going to be like for those big cats on the school board when someone comes around and tells them to head for the door because they were just too old,” said Flyer #340. He was a smaller, squat bus and had a gruff voice.
“My friend Maggie is going to stop them. You’ll see,” said Flyer #173. He was very hopeful. Maggie walked over to them and patted Flyer #173 on the fender.
“Hi #173, I came to see your mechanic,” she said.
“Of course. He is over there. His name is Harry,” said Flyer #173.
“Make sure that you offer him a sandwich. It always helps the people who come to see him,” said Flyer #340 with a grunt.
Maggie walked over to Harry who was in the shop repairing a carburetor. His hands were clean, but he had a dirty and greasy rag in his back pocket. His uniform was grey and clean. “Hello, are you Harry?” asked Maggie.
“Yes, kid. The one and only. What can I do you for?” he asked without pausing from his work.
“What would it take to make those Flyers into electric buses?” she asked.
“Actually, it would be a piece of cake, kid. All you need to do is swap out the diesel for an electric engine. There’s plenty of room under there for the batteries. Plus, you can get those cheap from Tesla because people turn their old batteries in for new ones while the old ones can still hold a charge because of the warranty. The whole thing would run about ten thousand or so,” he said while still turning his screwdriver on the side of the carburetor.
“How much would it cost to get new buses?” asked Maggie.
“Man! That’s the crazy thing. They’re planning to do just that and it’s like $100,000 per bus. You know, like ten times as much. I know that they want to help the environment, but can’t we do it the smart way?” he said. “How are we helping the environment by scrapping all these buses?”
“Where is the school board meeting?” asked Maggie. She was going to save Flyer #173 and his friends.
“That will cost you,” he said, putting down his tool and smiling at her.
“I have a roast beef sandwich in my bag,” she said. He grinned.