“Watch your step, sir.”
“I’ll watch my fucking step, you fucking prick!”
“Doors are closing.”
“Yeah, fuck you.”
Some dirty old vagrant drunk, still muttering as he shuffled to the back of the bus. You don’t let a guy like that get to you. Ain’t worth it. You choose your battles.
King. Richmond. Queen.
“Yo, man! How much is it?”
“Three seventy-five cash fare.”
“Yo, man, TTC must be raking it in large! What the fuck is that, bro?”
“That’s the cash fare. Buy tokens and it’s only two seventy-five.”
“Yo, bro, then sell me a fuckin’ token, yo!”
“Tokens are only sold at the station, sir. If you’re paying cash it’s three seventy-five.”
“What!? That’s wack! What the fuck is the difference, yo? You gonna let me on for two seventy-five or what, bro?”
I wanted the drunk guy back instead of this shit. I closed the door, continued driving and said nothing. If he dropped two seventy-five in the machine I’d drop the matter. What I couldn’t do was bring myself to say “Two seventy-five is fine, sir.” He was still standing there.
“Yo, bro! I only got a toonie. I’m paying a FUCKING toonie!”
He slammed the coin in the machine. He’d had enough of our little conversation. That was me ten minutes ago. He waited for a reaction. I said nothing.
Shuter. Dundas. Gould.
“Thank you very much, sir. You are a very patient man. I hope you have a great evening. Or morning, I guess. Good night.”
“Good night, ma’am.”
Nice of her.
Gerrard. Carlton. Alexander.
“Reggie, baby! Long time! You’re not over at Starbucks anymore!? Driving a bus now!?”
“Hey! Nice to see you. How you been? No I left there almost two years ago.”
“I thought you were over at another location! Well good to see you, Reggie!”
“Good to see you, too.”
I didn’t call him by name and I hoped he didn’t notice. It was hard to keep track of all the customers’ names. Easier to remember their character. He was the tall skinny old guy with the Bluetooth and the hours on Plenty of Fish. Right there in the middle of a crowded Starbucks, on a dating site when he could have said hello to the people around him. Anyway that’s how it goes these days.
“Hi, do you go as far as Finch station?”
Well here was a piece of ass. An open three quarter length tweed jacket over some sexy skirt and shirt combination and stockings that reached just over the knee. Fucking hell. Thick ass lips and strong, high cheek bones. The kind that past-due ugly old ladies with too much money try to achieve with their frightening and not nearly successful plastic surgeries. This girl was a child. A sexy beautiful lady child. Looked about twenty-three, if I had to say. So it was all real. Her beauty, I mean. I couldn’t pretend not to notice.
“Last stop is Steeles, miss.”
A villainous smile and she dropped her token in the machine and sat up front in one of those seats you are expected to vacate should an elderly or handicapped person get on. She sat there for me. To tempt me. I caved. I looked over at her. Yeah, she saw me. Fuck. She smiled at me in the rearview mirror. Well fuck! I hoped no old or disabled people would be getting on.
She got right onto her cell phone. That’s how it goes these days. I didn’t mind. Let me look at those damned knee-high stockings for a bit without her catching me. She tucked her phone in the pocket of her tweed jacket. Her eyes slowly closed, her head fell to the side, her mouth began to hang open a bit. That damn well killed me. Those huge, luscious lips on that sweet, wet, open mouth. She was asleep.
Gloucester. Charles. Bloor. Church. Aylmer. Crescent.
Stupid, obnoxious drunk kids by the boatload. The blathering, the high-pitched shouting, the self-importance. God bless the Blue Line.
Rowanwood. Shaftesbury. Woodlawn.