Friday night was particularly cold.
As I offloaded with a young fella who had a ride waiting for him and made my way across to the bus stop on the far side of the street I looked for skulkers. It was cold there would be primates seeking cover under the normally empty shelters. The African lady was under the shelter with a good sized Dindu bull, not quite a silverback, but not a fresh buck either.
I decided not to go to the shelter, but lean between the brick wall and my T-cane, 20 feet off.
The bull yelled at me, "Yo, you wanna buy a bus pass, sir?"
I nodded, "No," as I headed for my niche.
The bull repeated, "Two dollars for a bus pass?"
I silently declined again.
He then saw me place $1.75 in my hand, now knew that I did not have a bus ticket.
He then yelped, "One dollar for a bus pass, sir. You'll save seventy-five cents."
I silently declined again, unwilling to get hand-to-hand with an unknown quantity for three coins.
Knowing that I was spending extra not to have to deal with him, the buck spat, "Raciss muvafucka, jus' keep you old hatin' ass out in da cold—freeze in dis bitch!"
The old African woman, knowing that I prefer solitude over kindness, grinned harshly at this stung brute's anger.
A younger fellow walked to the bus stop on their side, a fresh Dindu buck and said, "It colda den a muva up in dis bitch!"
They haggled over the bus ticket to know avail. The man wanted to redeem his day pass for two dollars, enough to get a mini at the Pakistani liquor store.
The great cold has made this a tiny hub of unlucky humanity, handling nearly half its former patrons seeking a bus transfer. It's not 15, but more than one lonely soul. The thugs don't come out in such cold, so the non-violent among us feel at low risk at this normally high risk location.
A thick, athletic bull with backpack walks up from the dollar store, having walked out Old Eastern Avenue. He complains loudly, "That goddamned Forty didn't come en the Twenty-four dropped my ass three mile short a this bitch! No brutha, I gotta bus pass. Had to get the hell out the hood. Dey killed some people in a house on my block. The woman was so messed up they couldn't tell what race she was. I think it were a white girl. Dem thug-niggas down dere be serious as shit—a brutha got ta get clear a dat shit."
The #4 bus turned off of Old Eastern and broke with the hiss of air brakes and we lined up behind the lady as the unsuccessful bus pass vendor skulked off shaking his head, the world having successfully and prejudicially conspired against him once again—even threw a white devil in the mix to boot!