No Charity for the Fareless

The street lights are a neon leer off Phil’s dark-rimmed glasses. Clutching at his dingy pea coat, he sways against the bus shelter in the breeze. The rain shellacs thin gray hair to his head. As the bus swishes through the urban runnels, he suppresses a shudder. Pulling up to the curb, the doors hiss open. A cloud of liquor precedes him up the steps.

“I need to get to the CVS on 18th, but I only got a buck. Can you spot me?”

When his breath collides with the driver’s prematurely-aged face, she scowls through a shift-full of irritation, recalling the myriad of assholes, perverts and drunks who harangue her all day long.

“Dollar fifty to ride,” she snarls, snapping the doors shut as he steps down.

Wobbling back to the bus stop, Phil grasps his prescription in a gnarled hand.

“Now how am I gonna get my Paxil?”


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