Billy was not as old as he looked. Torn down as he was by hard and foolish living, Billy was young in his mind, enough so anyway to suck in the gut and flirt with girls too pretty and far to put together for an sad old clown like Billy.
Ah. Poor old Bill gave the girls the creeps, with his broad hints and never ending attempts at illicit romance. That large and sloshy gut, the rotten teeth, that thin and greasy hair, the smile that made little girls hide behind their Daddies. Divorced. Lonely. Hanging onto a job where no one really liked him, but no one really minded, either. An inconsequential speck, nothing to nobody except for the guy sitting next to him at Hooters on $1 Buffalo Wings night.
Billy is all about going through the motions, shadow-boxing his life along and hoping to land a blow. So it’s a curious thing, then, that someone as stilty and repressed as he could have such a moment of clarity, of clear thinking, of lonely logical and brutal honesty. We all get lucky, we all get that tap on the shoulder and the whispered words in the ear. And so — there he was, minding his business on the train platform, watching for the bright white light to bounce off the waves of heat dancing down the line.
Thank God, thought Billy. There it is. Only three minutes to wait. This train business is more stressful than driving! He looked around, saw a blond waiting at the edge of the track, and sidled up.
“Are you waiting for the 416, too?”
You bet, sweet cheeks. Billy got the message, and the conversation died like a whale in a bathtub. He inched away, away of the chill, not wanting to get cold. Brrrrr, he said. I will need to make a mental note of her face.
Damn. Why does it take so fucking long for the train to get here? He checked the schedule, making sure the time printed was 4:16 and not, 5:10 or something – which would have made him really happy. What made it worse was that it was really damn hot and bright on this platform. Made of white concrete and brushed aluminum, the platform shone like a brilliant concentration camp, and, unless you had dark sunglasses, it seared into your corneas and made you never, ever want to come back. Billy could feel a bead of sweat working its way down his back, dancing around moles and powering through hairs. God, how he wished he was home, to his dog, or back at work, or, better yet, at the bar. Stand here on the train platform or go to a bar and get drunk.
He turned his iPod up a little more.
Shit. He could barely afford the train fare. Since his car got impounded, his life had been shit, His girlfriend left, the boss was giving him hell, hassling him about the job he was doing, the Ex wanted her freaking child support, on and on and on it went until he just felt like he was gonna blow. That’s when he took the crowbar to the Ex’s Lexus – freaking whore, married with another kid on the way, it’s only been two years. Shit. She didn’t have to go and call the cops, either, she knew I was good for it. Fuck her, Billy thought. She knew better than to mess with the bull. And now she gets the horns – no child support for that bitch.
Oh fuck me!! Where is that flipping train! The light is still there! Arghhhh! Billy was ready to blow. Where the hell is it? Where is it? Billy was pacing inside his brain, and it was urging his feet to go along. Nah, I can’t. I have to look cool. Those dudes who pace, they end up jumping off the platform and screwing everyone. I can’t do that, besides, I have too much to live for.
Billy smiled at that thought.