Toby swung his sweatpant-clad leg up and into the bus, but only after the driver refused to have the bus kneel for him. As he strode to his seat, he glared at the bus driver and angrily pointed at his knees for effect.
“Do you often refuse to accommodate people with bad knees?”
A calculated lie Toby often told to shame civil servants, waiters and the parents of toddlers who offended him. He made his way to a multi-stained seat in the rear of the bus and threw himself into it. The clap of his back and butt on the seat drew the ire of a few riders but Toby didn’t care. The bus seemed old.
Toby knew that by taking mass transit at 2pm on Tuesday, he'd be surrounded by people who either worked nights or not at all. His current job, dog walker, afforded him a place in society but not of it. In his mind, this almost monastic position made him an arbiter of taste. His proximity to dogs also made him an excellent judge of character.
He scanned the bus and counted 2 shut in’s - probably on a grocery run, a family of confused tourists and 4 hall of fame homeless people.
The tourists were lucky. If they were to visit Chicago 8 weeks from now, it would be Cubs season – a special kind of Hell. The children would leave with either vomit on their shoes or a newly acquired vocabulary of racial slurs and profanities and those were just the T-shirts.
Yes, this bus ride had been worth the 30 minute wait. Sure, the train would’ve had him home sooner, but he would’ve missed out on his little fiefdom of outcasts.
Toby was confident that avoiding conversation wouldn’t be a problem. His thin lips, severe brow and high cheekbones gave him a natural surliness. Even in repose, his roundness seemed rigid and unapproachable. It had served him well in the city. Panhandlers rarely approached him and he was quite sure that had he chosen to go into business, he would’ve done very well at the negotiating table. He just knew it. Alas, he considered money shallow.
Toby was slowly melting into his seat and about to drift into voyeuristic bliss when the bus made an uncharacteristic stop at Wisconsin Ave. The bus had not stopped at Wisconsin Ave on any trip in his recent memory.
“Probably some walker who tried to be a hero but wasn’t up to it. Coward.“
Toby would punish the elliptical machine later for this person’s inconstancy.